Archive for the ‘Beijing Travel’ Category

How to visit Beihai Park Beijing

Friday, November 27th, 2020
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Plan your Beijing tour? Overshadowed by its neighbour – Forbidden City ( Palace Museum ), Beihai Park is very often neglected by many visitors. Often dubbed as Winter Palace by westerners, Beihai Park  is the oldest imperial garden in the world as well as one of the largest in China.

“Beihai” literally means “north sea”. In the past, the royal families pompously called all the lakes “sea” in connection with the imperial court.

Beihai Park used to be part of the imperial garden called “Xiyuan” in Qing Dynasty meaning “West Garden” due to its location just outside Forbidden City on its west.

Originally built in 1166 in the sixth year of the Reign of Jin Dading during Jin Dynasty (1115–1234 ) , the huge park was repaired and rebuilt in the successive dynasties including Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties (1125 – 1644). It was first opened to the public in 1925.

Nine-Dragon Screen in Beihai Park

The building of Beihai Park was the result of many emperors’dream of finding a secret potion that was the elixir of life by resembling the three magic mountains called Penglai, Yingzhou and Fangzhang on the sea where the gods who lived there were believed to have a secret potion for immortal life. So Beihai Park was laid out in the form of one pool and three “mountains”.

The White Dagoba on Qionghua Islebecomes an important landmark of the city.

It was said that Cixi Dowager often stayed in a palace between Nanhai and Zhonghai, and had meals or entertained foreign friends or her favorite officials in Jingxin House on the north shore of Beihai Park.

Now Beihai Park is open to the public. But Zhonghai and Nanhai combined called “Zhonghanhai”, is where the top Chinese officials work and live.

Beihai Park is well known for its beautiful gardens, the maze in the stone cave, temples and pavilions. Atop the Jade Island in Beihai Park, the White Dagoba becomes an important landmark of the city. Beihai Park is worth being listed on your first time trip to Beijing if time permits. Then how to visit it?

Tip # 01: Have a basic knowledge of its layout

Beihai Park Map from www.maps-of-china


Beihai Park is located just 10 minutes’ walk to the northeast of Forbidden City in the center of Beijing. Half of the park is taken up by water.

It adjoins Zhongnanhai (Zhonghai and Nanhai) on the south, Shichahai area on the north and the Jingshan (Coal Hill) on the east. The major attractions in the former imperial park mainly fall on five parts – Qiongdao ( Jade Isle ), East Shore and North Shore, Circular City and Arboretum. It has 4 main gates – the south gate, west gate, east gate and north gate  ( also known as back gate).

Main Attractions in the park:

1)Circular City
2)Haopujian Garden
3)Qionghua Isle (Jade Island)
4)Quiet Heart (Jingxin) Studio
5)Nine Dragon Screen
6)Five Dragon Pavilions

Tip # 02: Enter the Park though the right gate

So there are mainly 4 entrance gates, which one you should use? This all depends on your Travel Schedule. Its North Gate is also known as Back Gate. Below is my suggested travel plan including Beihai Park:

1) Tiananmen Square – Forbidden City – (South Main Gate) Beihai Park – Beihai Park (Exit from North Gate) – Houhai (Shichahai) – Drum Tower   Lama Temple

2) Tiananmen Square – Forbidden City – Jingshan Park – (East Gate) Beihai Park – Beihai Park (Exit from North Gate) – Houhai (Shichahai)

3) Lama Temple – Shichahai – Beihai Park (north gate) – Qiongdao – Circular City – (Exit South Main Gate) Beihai Park

4) (South Main gate) Beihai Park – Qiongdao – (Exit from north gate) Beihai Park – Houhai ( Shichahai )

Tip # 03: Best time to go in a day

In a day, morning is the best time to visit Beihai Park. As you know, Beijing is at its best in the mornings. There is a relaxing feel around the place.You will see many people doing morning exercises, singing, dancing. Some old men practice with their swords; others write on the ground with big brushes!

Doing Tai Chi in Beihai Park in the early morning, Beijing

Stroll around Beihai Park in the morning and get an immersive look into the lives of ordinary People in Beijing. You are also welcome to join them singing, dancing and exercising , as local Beijing people.

Tip # 04: Best Time to go in a year

People like the park all year round. In winter, it becomes one of the biggest skating rinks in the Beijing. In summer, the park is a popular retreat and a getaway away from heat in summer.

In spring, Beihai Park is immersed in the sea of flowers. In autumn, enjoy the beautiful scenery of Beihai Lake and Qionghua Island with blue sky.

Tip # 05: Have a bite at Beihai Fangshan Restaurant

The famous Beijing Fangshan Restaurant is located on Qingdao Isle in the park. Entering the East Gate and step on the Qingdao Isle and turn right along the corridor, you will find the world famous restautant offeing court food.

Beijing Fangshan Restaurant

“Fang” means imitation, “Shan” means “meals for the Emperor”.
Sales Dept.:(010)64011879 64011889 64042573 Office: (010)64043481|
Fax: (010)64041184

Tip # 06: How to get there

North Gate (Back Gate: take Subway Line 6 ; Take bus No.13, 42, 107, 111, 118, 612, 701 ;

East Gate: take No.5 and get off at West Banqiao station

South Gate and West Gate: take 5, 101, 103, 109, 124, 128, Zhuan 1, Zhuan 2 and get off at Beihai Station

Blend your visit to Forbidden City or Jinshan Park with the tour of Beihai park: Enter at the south entrance of the Forbidden City and then exit at the north gate. Turn left and head towards Beihai park in about 10 minutes.

Tip # 07: Entrance fees and opening time

Opening Time
6:30 am to 8:30 pm: April, May, September, and Octorber
6:30 am to 10:00 pm: June, July, and August
6:30 am to 8:00 pm: January, February, March, November and December

Entrance Ticket
(General Entry for the Park)
RMB 5 (Jan, Feb, Mar, Nov and Dec )
RMB 10 (April – October)

Beihai Park Through Ticket
( including inside pay sights: Qionghua Islet and Circular City) :
RMB 20 ( April – October ); RMB 15 ( Jan, Feb, Mar, Nov and Dec );

Boating Service

The Taiye Pool in Beihai Park, whose water comes from Yuquan Mountain, is clean and suitable for boating and enjoying the cool air. It is a rare natural water body for boating in Beijing city.

Cartoon battery boat: RMB 160 / hour (Deposit: RMB 500)

Rowing boat: RMB 40 / person for half an hour; 60 yuan per person per hour

Big gaily decorated Boat: One-way Ferry RMB 20 /person

Ferry Boat: 10 yuan/person; 15 yuan/round trip

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

Wacth the Sunset in Beihai Park
Night View of Beihai Park

Any questions, just  drop a line.

How to Visit Nanluoguxiang Hutong in Beijing

Saturday, November 21st, 2020
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Turning over the thick cover of Beijing’s modernity, you will see the old and authentic Beijing with a rich cultural and historical history.

A trip to Nanluogixiang Hutong(南锣鼓巷)  brings you back to the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368)  when the earliest hutongs and courtyard houses along Nanluoguxiang started to be built.

Now almost every Beijing first-time visitor wants to be lost in the maze of Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷)hutong teemed with side lanes.  People want to be lost in the past, in the tradition, in the passing  passengers, in a fad and in the future. Time is flying here and getting older.

Plan your Beijing tour? A walking tour of Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷)is definitely recommended.  Nanluoguxiang Hutong looks quiet and peaceful against the buzz of the crowds flocking here every day.

The 786-meter long south-north Nanluoguxiang Hutong (南锣鼓巷) is lined with numerous trendy bars, yummy restaurants,  unique hostels, lively themed stores and itinerant vendors.

There are also 8 hutongs hidden on the east and west sides of the main and wider lane of Nanluoguxiang(南锣鼓巷)  as well as former residences and mansions where loyal families and celeraties who once lived.

If you are interested in Beijing’s traditional architectures, Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷)won’t let you down. Its vernacular courtyard houses, grey-colored, accompanied by old trees, showcase the solid books of Beijing’s traditional architecture.

Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷)is easily accessible by Subway Line 6 and get off at the station of Nanluoguxiang. Then enter the south entrance to Nanluoguxiang and exit from its north.

You can also walk further northward from Forbidden City’s northern gate to Nanluoguxiang over half a hour.

You can also walk from Forbidden City’s northern gate to Nnaluoguxiang.

The southern entrance has over dozens of placards to illustrate the past and present of Nanluoguxiang(南锣鼓巷).

One storey grey building and brick paved road

One storey grey building and brick paved road
One storey grey building and brick paved road

Special and yummy restaurants

Special andyummy restaurants
Special and yummy restaurants

Fashionable girls and cool red lanterns

Traditional grey-colored buildings lined along the lane

Traditional grey-colored builings lined along the lane
Traditional grey-colored buildings lined along the lane

Nangu Renjia Snack Restaurant

 Nanluo Renjia Snack

Nanluo Renjia Snack

A fashion store

A fashion store
A fashion store

Say Goodby to Nanluoguxiang

Say goodbye to Nanluoguxiang
Say goodbye to Nanluoguxiang

Peking Downtown backpacker Hostel

Peking Downtown backpcker Hostel
Peking Downtown backpacker Hostel

A back lane

A back lane
A back lane

Carpenter Shop

Carpenter Shop
Carpenter Shop

A rickshaw

A rickshaw
A rickshaw

A happy chat

A happy chat
A happy chat
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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


南锣鼓巷旅游小贴士
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.

Jingshan Park not to be missed

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020
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Plan your Beijing tour? A visit to Jingshan Park is not to be missed during your tour in Beijing.

Jingshan Park Location

Jingshan just sits across the north gate to Forbidden City. After finishing your visit to Forbidden City along the south to north official visiting route, you exit from Forbidden City’s north gate.

Exiting from the north gate and raising your head, you will find a pavilion with three-layered eaves perched on a hill. The hill is called Jingshan Hill ( Coal Hill or prospect Hill). The Jingshan Hill and its surrounding complex is known as “Jingshan Park”.

Jingshan Park add: No.44 Jingshanxi Street, Xicheng District, Beijing 北京西城区景山西街44号(故宫后门对面).

Jingshan Hill

The main road between the north gate area of Forbidden City and the south gate of Jingshan Park is fully blocked. To get across to the south gate to Jingshan Park, you just turn left for 20 meters and take the underground pass.

Entrance Fees

Line up for the tickets: RMB 2 per person (RMB10 per person during Peony Festival April and May).

Opening Hours

06:30-21:00; Closing time :20:30 (Monday – Sunday; April 1 – October 31)

06:30-20:00; Closing time :19:30 (Monday – Sunday; November 1 – March 31, Next year )

How to get to Jingshan Park by bus?

Jingshan Park has three gates. Apart from the southern gate just across Forbidden City, there are two more gates – the East Gate and West Gate. From the west gate, you can walk to Beihai Park.

Arriving at the East Gate: take 111, 124, 210 and get off at Jingshan East Gate Station;

Getting to the South Gate: take Bus 101, 103, 109, 124, 202, 211, 609, 619, 685, Zhuan 1, Zhuan 2 and get off at the Forbidden City Station.

Arriving at the west gate: take 5, 609 and get off at West Banqiao station.

Climb up Jingshan Hill after visiting Forbidden City

After exiting from the northern gate to Forbidden City, enter the south gate to Jingahan Park and follow your nose up the top of the hill and get to the pavilion named Wanchun Pavilion perched high on the hill.

It takes you about 5-10 minutes’ walk along a zigzag stone steps up to the summit. Standing on the pavilion, you are able to have a bird’s-eye view of Beijing city at a great distance.   

Have a panoramic view of Forbidden City

Look north to view the Central Axis of Beijing.

Look north to view the Central Axis of Beijing

Looking down east to view Beijing Business Center (CBD)

Looking down east to view Beijing Business Center (CBD)

Where the last Ming Dynasty Emperor Chongzhen hanged himself.

After enjoying the exciting panoramic view, you don’t have to go back the same road. Instead, you follow the throng down eastward to see the place where the last Ming Dynasty Emperor Chongzhen hanged himself.

Since the hanging spot is close to the east gate to Jingshan park, you may exit from the east gate.

The place where Emperor Chongzhen who hanged himself

Wanchun Pavilion at the top of Jingshan Park

The Wanchun Pavilion at the top of Jingshan Mountain is also the best night shot in Beijing. Standing at the top, you can have good shoots of the night views of Beijing from four different directions. Of course, you can also beautiful photos of Beijing sunrises and sunsets.

Forbidden City under sunset glow viewed from Wanchun Pavilion on the hilltop in Jingshan Park

Forbidden City under sunset glow

Beijing business district CBD night view in the east.

Beijing CBD

Night view of the north central axis of Beijing.

Looking at the North of Beijing – Drum Tower and Olympic Park

Looking at the west of Beijing – West Hill, CCTV Tower and White Pagoda.

Looking at the west of Beijing – West Hill, CCTV Tower and White Pagoda

Chinese version of the travel guide:

北京景山公园不容错过

More travel articles about Jingshan Park

Best Spot for Night Photography Beijing
See the sunrise from the hilltop of Jingshan Park
See the sunset from the hilltop of Jingshan Park

Further Readings


Tips for Visiting Tiananmen Square
Tips for visiting Summer Palace
Forbidden City Travel Tips – The Palace Museum Travel Tips

Tips for Visiting the Great Wall of China around Beijing
How to Visit Ming Tombs in Beijing
How to visit Beihai Park Beijing
How to visit Shichahai
How to visit Bird’s Nest and Water Cube
How to visit CCTV Tower in Beijing
How to Visit National Grand Theatre in Beijing
Top 10 Most Romantic Places in Beijing
How to Enjoy Beijing Nightlife
Top 10 Beijing Souvenirs
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing

Any questions, just drop a line.