How to visit Beihai Park Beijing (Tips, Photos & Map)

Plan your Beijing tour? Overshadowed by its neighbour – Forbidden City ( Palace Museum ), Beihai Park is very often neglected by many visitors. Dubbed as Winter Palace by westerners, Beihai Park  is the oldest imperial garden 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.

Tip 1: ABC of Beihai Park

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 as a park in 1925.

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 ( South Sea) and Zhonghai ( Mid-Sea), and had meals or entertained foreign friends or her favourite 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 2: Beihai Park Location and Layout

Beihai Park is located just 10 minutes’ walk to the northeast of Forbidden City in the centre 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.

Beihai Park to the northwest of Forbidden City (Google)

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).

Beihai Park to the west of Jingshan Park ( Google)
Nine-Dragon Screen
Wulongting ( Five Dragon Hall )

Tip 3: 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 4: 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.

Beihai Park turns into a wonderland of lights at night

Check out Night View of Beihai Park for more information.

After dark, Beihai Park turns into a wonderland of lights, it is a nice place to stretch your legs and rekindle a romance with traditional beauty of Chinese landscape illuminated at night.

Tip 5: Best Time to go in a year

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

Beihai Park Ice Rink ( Image Credit: Internet)

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 6: 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 restaurant offering 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 7: 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 8: Entrance fees and opening time

Opening Time
6:30 am to 8:30 pm: April, May, September, and October
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 );

Tip 9: 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

Tip 10: 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 Beijing guided tours:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Beijing Winter Tour
Great Wall Tour
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings

Best Time to Visit Beijing
How to plan a trip to Beijing

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

23 thoughts on “How to visit Beihai Park Beijing (Tips, Photos & Map)

  1. is nov 8th a good time of the year to visit beihei park for birdwatching-especially the lake for water fowl?

  2. Hello RIMA DHILLON,

    November is relatively a good month for birdwatching (water fowl). But we are not sure how many water fowls for this year.

  3. Hai Daniel, I am going to visit Beijing in early November this year. one of itinerary is to visit Beihai park. Can we see red leave here in Beihai Park on early november. We really want to see red leave. there is no Autumn season in my country, in Indonesia. thank you

  4. Hello Nita Rosady,

    Yes, you still can catch the last hues of the late autumn leaves. Hope you have a good time in Beijing!

  5. Good afternoon, someone can tell me the best way to arrive at Beihai Park by subway from West train station, in case I get in from the North Gate and in case I get out to the South Gate and go again to the West train station?
    Many thanks, best regards.

  6. Hello José Afonso,

    First take subway line 9 directly from Beijing West Station to the north direction and get off at the third station of Baishiqiao South Station (石桥南站), then interchange for Subway Line 6 and take the subway line 6 to the east direction and get off at 4th station of Beihai North Station (北海北站), exit from Exit B ( northeast exit), then walk about 310 meters to the North Gate of Beihai Park. After visiting Beihai Park, you have to retrace to the North Gate and take the same subway lines ( 6 + 9 ) back to Beijing West Station.

    Have a good time in Beijing!

  7. Hello,

    I will be in Beijing from nov 14th until dec 02nd.

    I would like to know if you have tai chi classes during these days and if I could have some classes.

    Thank you,

  8. Hi Mandy Gu,

    Beihai Park Entrance Ticket: 10 yuan ( April – October )
    Beihai Park Through Ticket ( including inside pay sights: Qionghua Islet and Circular City) : RMB 20 ( April – October )

  9. Hello
    We shall be staying at the Grand GongDa JianGuo Hotel Beijing
    And wanting to visit Jingshan Park, could you please help us with what subway line we should take to get there.
    Thank you

  10. Hi Gillian,

    1. First take the subway line 14 at the station of 北工大西门站 (West Gate of Beijing University of Technology ), about 470 m from your hotel;

    2. Get off at the third station of Jintai (金台站), interchange for subway line 6 to the north direction;

    3. Get off at the 6th station of North Beihai Park ( 北海北站), exit from Exit B

    4. Walk 620 m to get to the north gate of Beihai Park.

    As for Jingshan Park, you can easily walk through the east gate of Beihai Park to get to Jingshan Park. The two parks are separated by the north-south street known as Jingshan West Street.

    Have a nice time!

  11. Thank you Daniel
    For the directions, we are so looking forward to Beijing and I am sure we will have a nice time

  12. Hello,

    May I know the directions to Beihai Park from the forbidden city and if its within walking distance? Thank you.

  13. Hi Valerie,

    Yes, Beihai Park is within walking distance from the forbidden city. The main gate ( the south gate ) of Beihai Park is just outside the northwest corner of Forbidden City.

    Just opposite to the north gate (the exit ) of Forbidden City is Jingshan Park. You also first visit Jingshan Park, then walk from the its west gate to the east gate of Beihai Park.

    How to Visit Jingshan Park

    Add On:

    See the sunrise from the hilltop of Jingshan Park

    See the sunset from the hilltop of Jingshan Park

  14. We will be visiting Beihai Park on Nov 22nd, will the ferry service near FangShan Restuarant to the northwest 5 dragons pavilion be in operation? If so what are the timings and charges? If no how do we get to the 5 dragons pavilion area and exit using the north gate besides walking? Thanks for your help!

  15. Hi Celeste,

    We are not sure whether the ferry will in operation in late November. Basically it will be closed due to the cold temperature and low tourist season. In this case, walking is the only way to get from FangShan Restuarant to the 5 dragons pavilion area.

    Have a good time in Beijing!

  16. Hello,

    May I ask is the River Romance Dock in Shichahai same as the dock in Beihai Park?


  17. Olá, boa tarde…
    Tenho duas perguntas…

    1- Qual é a distancia para percorrer a cidade circular ?…
    É só a pé ou tem algum meio de transporte ?…

    2- Saindo da Qionghua Island para Five Dragon Pavilion, tem balsa ou barco que leva e trás sem ter que alugar ?…Qual é o valor só de ida e o valor de ida e volta ?…

    Muito obrigado…Abraços…

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