How to visit Beihai Park Beijing

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Beihai Park Map from www.maps-of-china.net

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.

This huge imperial garden has a history of over 1,000 years. Originally built in 938 during Liao Dynasty(916 – 1125). The park was repaired and rebuilt in the successive dynasties including Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties (1125 – 1644). It was first opened to the public 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”.

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?

the White Dagoba becomes an important landmark of the city.

the White Dagoba becomes an important landmark of the city.

Tip # 01: Have a basic knowledge of its layout
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 ( or 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. Below is my suggested travel plan including Beihai Park:

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

2) Lama Temple – Shichahai – Beihai Park (north gate) – Qiongdao – Circular City – (Exit South Main Gate) Beihai Park – (North Gate) Forbidden City – Tiananmen Square

3) (East Gate) Beihai park – ( Exit from South Main Gate) Beihai Park – Forbbiden City – Tiananmen Square

4) (South Main gate) Beihai Park – Qiongdao – (Exit from north gate) Beihai Park – Houhai ( Shichahai ) – Drum Tower – Lama Temple

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!

Be the first people out on the lake in the paddle boat. It will be a great comfort to have the entire great lake to paddle on by yourselves! Peaceful, all done before breakfast!

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

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

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.

“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

South Gate: Bus 101, 103, 109, 812, 814, 846
North Gate: Bus 107、111、118、701、823
East Gate: 5

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 );

Pleasure boats on the lake in Beihai Park, Beijing

Pleasure boats on the lake in Beihai Park, Beijing

Big Dock
Opening hours 9:00 am-17: 00 (early March – November)
Tickets: RMB 5
Small Dock
Opening hours 9:00 am-17: 00 (early March – November)
Battery Boat:
RMB 50 / hour, 200 deposit
Pedal boat:
RMB 30 / hour, 200 deposit
Hand Boat:
RMB 20 / hour, 200 deposit
Family leisure boat:
100 RMB / hour, 300 deposit
Lotus Lantern Boats in Beihai Park, Beijing

Lotus Lantern Boats in Beihai Park, Beijing

“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.

Nine-Dragon Screen in Beihai Park

Nine-Dragon Screen in Beihai Park

 

The former “Xiyuan” was composed of three parts – Beihai ( north sea ), Zhonghai ( middle sea ) and Nanhai ( south sea ).

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.

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
Any questions, just  drop a line.

22 Responses to “How to visit Beihai Park Beijing”

  1. RIMA DHILLON says:

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

  2. Daniel says:

    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. natalia says:

    hi.. where is the skating rinks?

  4. Daniel says:

    Hello Natalia,

    For ice skating rinks, please check the link below:

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/beijing-winter-tour/top-10-ice-skating-rinks-in-beijing/

    For skiing, please check the link below:

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/ski/ski_resorts.php

  5. Nita rosady says:

    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

  6. Daniel says:

    Hello Nita Rosady,

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

  7. José Afonso says:

    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.

  8. Daniel says:

    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!

  9. Mayra says:

    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,
    Mayra

  10. Daniel says:

    Hi Mayra,

    You may check the website below for more information on Tai Chi and more activities.

    http://www.chinaculturecenter.org/

    Have a good time in Beijing!

  11. Mandy Gu says:

    How much is a ticket to Beihai park?

  12. Beijing Tour says:

    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 )

  13. Gillian says:

    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
    Gillian

  14. Daniel says:

    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!

  15. Gillian says:

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

  16. Daniel says:

    Hi Gillian,

    With pleasure! Have a nice time in Beijing!

  17. Valerie says:

    Hello,

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

  18. Daniel says:

    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
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/jingshan-park-not-to-be-missed

    Add On:

    See the sunrise from the hilltop of Jingshan Park
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/the-best-place-to-watch-sunrise-in-beijing

    See the sunset from the hilltop of Jingshan Park
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/sunset-view-at-jingshan-park

  19. Celeste says:

    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!

  20. Daniel says:

    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!

  21. Stella says:

    Hello,

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

    Thanks.

  22. Daniel says:

    Dear Stella,

    Shichahai is a large area north of Beihai Park. So the River Romance Dock in Shichahai is totally different from the dock in Beihai Park.

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/attraction_guide/shichahai.php

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