Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Classical Chinese Garden is a small, but beautiful and authentic garden that is incredibly rich in tradition and history.
Make sure you take the guided tour. Knowing all the intricate details that went behind the building of this garden will make you appreciate it so much more, and makes the admission fee (10$ for adults) worth it.
BUT… Be warned that not all guided tours are created equal. I’ve been to the classical garden twice, and as much as my first experience was fantastic, the following one was utterly atrocious (both times the guide was a volunteer). While my first experience was 90 minutes of sheer fun and interesting facts and stories about the making of the garden, my second time around was nothing but stumbling embarassment (maybe it was her first presentation ever?). So much so, that I convinced my parents — who were visiting me at that time — to bail out and wait for the next one. The following tour was definitely better, but although our guide (a trained staff member this time) was dynamic, it was obvious he kept only to the script and added nothing more to the tour. I was stunned to learn this second time around that the tours are apparently supposed to last 45 minutes only.
I’m not sure if my amazing first guide still volunteers there, but I can tell you I stumbled upon her on a Sunday morning (11AM presentation) last Spring. The guide can definitely make or break ANY attraction…