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Songya Lake, Changsha, Hunan

Written by Daniel Otero

Songya Lake holds more for the explorer to see…

By: Daniel Otero

With the air crisp and beautiful, I looked at the figure of my wife.  In her gorgeous-flowery dress, already four-months pregnant with Mia.  Xiao qin told me to follow her onto the boardwalk and into a delightful sunset.  It was a scene to behold!  The wind was sweet and fresh, simply a glorious moment.  This magical place we had just moved into is a neighbourhood located in the Xingsha District of Changsha.  These awesome whereabouts are along the Songya Lake.

Songya is one of the biggest lakes in Changsha.  Holding to a circumference of 10 kilometres or for us poor British and Americans that are still holding on stubbornly (ha, ha) to the old English-system, 6.2 miles.  Some runners can run around the Lake in about an hour.  To walk around the Lake, takes about 90 minutes to two hours.  Therefore, give yourself enough time to enjoy every moment of this experience.

But a little word, if you are worried-distressed about the distance…  The Lake isn’t only for runners, bikers or sports’ enthusiast for that matter. Songya Lake holds for all who just want to sit and relax.  A great place for children, from flying kites to pitching tents in the Spring.   The place during the year holds its mini-marathons and many come to share with picnics throughout the seasons.  The walks are easy and brisk along the boardwalks to admire the fish; further, to watch the elephant-grass swing and serenade itself to the motion of the waters.  Easily, Songya becomes nature oriented.  Because people come in to also walk their dogs and others, believe it or not, come to watch the birds (the birdwatchers); since the Lake is a bird sanctuary.

This is not only a Lake, but for those like my wife–who enjoy a kind ‘beach’ or what she calls a beach.  It is more of a shoreline which hugs beautifully the Lake.  For Changsha’s hottest month, which is August, it is great to not only wet your feet; but enjoy getting wet–just to cool down.  Nearby, there is a lovely pagoda or temple like structure that is near completion.  The area holds to two car-parks, but the suggested thing to is walk from the main entrance, since it can get too crowded in the evenings.  There are portions and nature trails to the right which will quickly lead you into the boardwalks and take a camera or phone for your picture taking.  To the right will also lead the walker on a long-winded trail.  To the left side from the entrance, there is an observation deck for those who like to watch, admire and take images to remember.  Furthermore, there is a place to rent or get one of the tricycles or ‘mo-bikes’ if the visitor wants to do another form of exercise which isn’t necessarily walking.

Best time to visit, it is my opinion that evenings are always better.  For one thing, you can get gorgeous sunsets and nature is at its finest to bask in. However, the mornings are equally good–according to what I experienced. Now, if you are a ‘daredevil’, midday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. it is just too insanely hot during the months of July and August.  But if you decide to go for it, carry two bottles of water to maintain yourself hydrated at all times and sunscreen.  If you forget your water, there are machine dispensers with plenty of drinks and H2O.

With this in mind, I hope you can enjoy the beauty of the nature-oriented Park/Lake.

My only criticism would be and this is for all, is to pick-up after yourselves. Rubbish in the bins, please!  Therefore, maintain this Park-Lake beautiful and clean.

Enjoy the experience, it is well worth it!

How to get to Songya Lake?

Songya Lake is located in Binhu Road, Xingsha District.  The best way to get there is taking bus number 701 to Dongsan Road.  Once at the bus stop, it’s about a five-minute walk to the Lake.

About the author

Daniel Otero

A New Yorker who has been living in China for the past 10 years. He's a freelance writer/journalist and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.

A former member of the military with extensive travel to 50 countries and has lived in six.

Lover of life, good food, travel, writing and dealing with social issues.