Qing Xiu Lake is a new addition to Nanning's parks, with a 2.3 km walking track around the lake, surrounded by manicured gardens. When I last visited Nanning in 2010, the lake was an abandoned irrigation storage hidden amongst scrubland.
With the expansion of Nanning's residential area swallowing up the surrounding agricultural land, its conversion to a park created much needed green space right next to one of Nanning's busiest and most densely populated areas.
The name of the lake QingXiuHu (roughly pronounced Qing as in the first syllable of Chinglish, Xiu as in the last syllable of running shoe and Hu as in the question word who) approximately translates as pretty green lake due to the lush greenery of the adjacent QingXiuShan Scenic Area.
The area around the lake edge is now equally green with plantings of shady trees, dwarf palms and a golf course quality mat of grass for an understorey. There is a smooth wide bitumen path that goes all the way around the lake, with smaller anabranch paths leading down to the water's edge to viewing platforms or to other areas of quiet contemplation.
The wide bitumen walking path looking across the dam wall
The park is dotted with several stone patios, some of which are decorated with stone statues of animals, or oversized and irregularly shaped rocks, often with holes in the middle of them. There were plenty of park benches along the way. An army of gardeners weed the paths by hand, inch by inch, to keep everything spotless.
Animal statues at the water's edge of Qing Xiu Lake
Some of the other features around the lake on the southern shore include a series of stone tiled fish ponds filled with multi-coloured carp, and an exercise area with various equipment to swing your arms and legs on. If you look carefully you will also notice some old stone irrigation/drainage channels on the hillside.
The view from the northern shore looking south is dominated by the multi-storey pagoda at the top of the hill, which you can reach by walking up the steps of the slope on the southern shore. The pagoda complex, known as Jinhui Ruyi Fang, includes trinket shops, restaurants and an art gallery. The view from the southern shore looking north is of dozens of new apartment blocks with not an inch of daylight squeezing between them. In front a new office building has a sky bridge that creates a giant square hole in its middle in a bold architectural statement of modern China.
Bold new China along the northern edge of Qing Xiu Lake
To access the park you can take any bus along Zhuxi Dadao (with Zhu roughly pronounced as the first syllable in Jewish, Xi roughly pronounced as the english feminine pronoun She, Da as in the first syllable of darling, and Dao as in the first syllable of Dow-Jones Index). Get off at the Nanning Huan Bao Ju (Huan roughly pronouced as the number One, Bao as in the first syllable of bow down and Ju as in the first syllable of Jewish) which is the Nanning Environmental Protection Bureau.
The lake entrance is accessible from Qinghu Lu (Qing roughly pronounced as the first syllable in Chinglish, hu as in the question word who, and Lu as in the first syllable of Lucy), a smaller street that heads south east of Zhuxi Dadao. Bus numbers that will get you there are 34, 70, 213, 219, 601, 701, 48 & 56. Both streets are labelled in Pinyin and the bus stop is labelled in English, so you should be able to spot them if you can't read Chinese characters.
The following activities are not permitted at the lake, with risk of immediate jail: passive recreation only, no graffiti, no damaging statues, no removal of rubbish bins, don't damage the grass, no spitting, no urinating or defacating in public, no swimming, no laundry washing, no fishing, no climbing trees, no camping, no fires, no fireworks, no fighting, no gambling, no drinking alcohol, no promotion of religion, no selling, no drugs, no weapons, no cars, no advertising.