Thes Best Place to View Peony in Beijing

April 24th, 2017
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In the traditional floral symbol of China, peonies are known as the flower of riches and honor. Peony is often considered China’s national flower ( though not officially declared ).  Peonies in the city of Luoyang are of-lauded as the most beautiful in China and the peony festival in Luoyang is held annually between April and May.

If you don’t have enough time to go to Luoyang to see peonies during Luyang Peony Festival while traveling in Beijing, you will have a good alternative – Jingshan Peony Festival, the local peony festival in Beijing with its venue in Jingshan Park, just north of the northern exit to Forbidden City. Jingshan Peony Festival lasts from Mid-April to the end of May each year.

Jingshan just sits across the north exit gate to Forbidden City. After finishing your visit to Forbidden City from south to north, you exit from Forbidden City’s north gate. Exiting from the northern gate, raising your head, you will see a pavilion with three-layered eaves perched on a hill. The hill is called Jingshan Hill ( Coal Hill or prospect Hill) and the Jingshan Hill with its surrounding area is officially known as Jingshan Park.

There are three gates to Jingshan Park – the Southern Gate ( across Forbidden City ); East Gate and West Gate.  Entry ticket: RMB 2 per person; RMB10 per person during Peony Festival April and May. Opening hours: 6am – 9pm all year round.

The venue for Jingshan Peony Festival is located in the north of Jingshan Park, just north of Jingshan Hill, the largest peony garden in Beijing.

The official statics show that there are over twenty thousand peonies with 559 types in the garden.  Some of the peonies have long been kept as precious royal types and some of them are from Luoyang and Heze which are nationally famous for their brilliant peonies.

Planing your Beijing tour between Mid-April and May? Don’t miss a short side trip to Jingshan Peony Festival if you are a flower enthusiast.

The Peony Garden is behind Jingshan Hill with a pavilion with three-layered eaves on the top


The Largest Peony Garden in Beijing


Each Year the Peony Festival attracts a great number of visitors


Peonies are big and fragrant


Peonies are in full blossom


Purple-colored Peonies


Facing the sunshine


White, pink and red peonies


Beautiful Peony


Peonies in the sunset glow

Add On:
Jingshan Park is not to be missed
See the sunrise from the hilltop of Jingshan Park
See the sunset from the hilltop of Jingshan Park

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p
Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.


West Lake Sunrise and Sunset

April 22nd, 2017
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Lakes with the same name of “West Lake” are legion. But of all the “West Lakes”, West Lake in Hangzhou is oft-lauded as the most beautiful one, particularly  in the Chinese circle around the world. This World Cultural Heritage crowned lake is well known for its charm of traditional Chinese landscape and cultural legacy behind it.

As a drifter originally from Hangzhou, each time I return to my intoxicating hometown, the first thing to do is stroll along the lakeshore of West Lake for a long-wanted feel and touch of the lake which dominates the psyche of Hangzhou locals.

Early morning wander or later afternoon stroll along the lake is exhilarating, stretching your bodies and extending your minds. If you are enthusiastic photographers, you won’t miss the golden time both around sunrise and sunset to snap some brilliant shots of the lake against its three-sided mountains and fiery sunglow.

Plan your Hangzhou tour for viewing the local sunrise and sunset? My favorite place for seeing sunrise over West Lake and the city itself, is the hill on the north edge of West Lake  – Baoshishan ( Precious Stone Hill ).

Baoshi Shan is teemed with unique caves, weird stones and rocks. There are some Buddhist and Taoist shrines nestled here on the green hill. A slender pagoda known as Baoshu Pagoda is atop the hill, facing the chubby Leifeng Pagoda across the lake in the south.

Check out the time for sunrise the night before and get up early to catch the sunrise.  Basically it takeas about 15 minutes to clamber up to the high rocks west of Baoshu Pagoda. These rugged high rocks are perfect spots to have a panoramic view of the lake and the downtown Hangzhou on the east lakeshore of West Lake.

The slim Baoshu Pagoda is a road sign, following which you guide your hill hike for shooting sunrise over West Lake.

The Sunrise radiates over the city, the pagoda and the lake


Sunsrise glow over the downtown Hangzhou and Baoshishan


The surface of West Lake is covered by reflective pink and reddish colors

There are two places to view the sunsets over West Lake – The Lakeside Park and Longqiao Park.  On the east shore of the lake, the Lakeside Park is actually composed of 6 sub-parks, namely from Lakeside Park One to Park Six. You can easily walk along the shore with the six lakeside parks.

Sunset viewed from Lakeside Park


The setting sun is hanging over the west hills

Another place for seeing the sunset over West Lake is Changqiao Park, on the southeast corner of the West Lake. In the park, there is a pavilion known as “Xizhao Pavilion”, literally means “Sunset Glow” in Chinese. It is one of  the best spots to take pictures of the sunset over Leifeng Pagoda, and the lake, hence the classical scene “Sunset over Leifeng Pagoda”.

Sunset over Leifeng Pagoda and Xihao Pavilion


Sunset viewed from Changqiao Park

Tip:  Hassle-free Hangzhou Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted Hangzhou tours,  here are some options for Hangzhou Guided Tours:

Hangzhou Classic Day Tour  from US$ 70 p/p
Hangzhou 3 day Tour Package  from US$ 365 p/p
Hangzhou – Wuzhen Water Town – Hangzhou Day Tour   from US$70 p/p
Hangzhou – Suzhou – Hangzhou Day Tour  from US$80 p/p
Hangzhou Huangshan Hongcun 3 Day by Car  from US$410 p/p
Hangzhou Car Rental

Further Readings

Any questions, just drop a line

The Neon-Colored Nanjing Road

April 19th, 2017
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Not  paled by the bright neon lighting displays in Times Square in New York, or Piccadilly Circus in London,  the neon signs of Nanjing Road in Shanghai are flashing out the economic and even political messages apart from all kinds of goods and foods that are advertised.

Walking along the pedestrian-free commercial street – Nanjing Road, you will be blinded by the flashing and bright neon sights, creating an amazing streetscape in Shanghai.

Planning your Shanghai tour? You are highly recommended to make a short stroll along the world-famous traffic-free Nanjing Road and the best neon lights are in the east section of Nanjing Road, officially known East Nanjing Road.

The night view of Nanjing Road is very photogenic,  an attractive shooting place to amateur or professional photographers.

Nanjing Road


Nanjing Road


Nanjing Road


Nanjing Road


Nanjing Road


Nanjing Road


Nanjing Road


Nanjing Road

Tip:  Hassle-free Shanghai Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself bus route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Shanghai:

Shanghai Highlight Day Tour from US$ 65
Afternoon Ambling & Evening Brilliant Cruise Day Tour from US$ 55
Historic Shanghai and Ancient Water Town Day Tour from US$ 59
Shanghai 2 Day Tour Package from US$ 145
Shanghai 3 Day Tour Pacakge from US$ 199

Further Readings

Top 10 Attraction in Shanghai
Top 10 Markets in Shanghai
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do at night in Shanghai
Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai
Top 10 Souvenirs in Shanghai

Any questions, just drop a line.