Archive for the ‘Beijing Travel’ Category

Top 8 Things to Do in Beijing in the Winter (Tips, Photos & Map)

Saturday, November 20th, 2021
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Plan your Beijing winter tour? Beijing is an interesting destination for your winter vacation. Winter in Beijing begins with an abundance of festivities during the holiday season: skiing, ice skating, hot spring bathing, hiking the Great Wall of China, etc.

In addition, if you prefer to stay out of the cold, choose from the numerous museums, restaurants, book stores open during the season.

Beijing Winter Tour Map ( Ski, Spa and Great Wall )

We’ve put together a few top things to do in Beijing in the winter,  which allow you to feel the warmer part of the city when it’s getting colder.

Skiing in Beijing

Skiing has become increasingly popular with Chinese. There are over 10 ski resorts around Beijing which are suitable for both beginners and advanced skiers.

For more Beijing skiing information, check out the link: Top 10 Beijing Ski Resorts.

To meet the various needs from customers, most of the Beijing ski resorts offers snow related activities such as stimulative Motorcycle on snow land, snow flying disc, romantic sleigh drawn by dogs or houses, ice garden, and snow garden.

Snow Ski

Visiting a ski resort is a bonus added to make a perfect winter holiday in Beijing. No matter you are a keen skier or non-skier, you can rewind and entertain yourself in a ski resort around Beijing.

So, skiing and participating in snow activities, or just sitting in a cozy snack bar and appreciating the white ski area over a cup of coffee or tea.

Outdoor Ice Rinks

There are a number of open-air ice skating rinks on some lakes in Beijing. Shichahai Lake,  Beihai Park and Kunming Lake in Summer Palace are three of the most important outdoor ice rinks for many local skaters.

Shichahai (Houhai) Ice Rink

For more Beijing Ice Skating information,  check out the link:  Top Beijing Ice Skating Rinks.

There are a few top indoor ice skating Rinks such New World Champion Skating Rink, all Star Ice Rink, New World Champion Skating Rink and more.

Ice Lantern Festival

Each year, starting Jan 05, Beijing will hold its own ice and snow festival – The Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival. The Longqing Gorge is flanked on both sides by green peaks.

Due to the shade from mountains towering on both sides, the area has an annual ice period of four months, offering the ideal venue for an ice-lantern festival.

For more information on Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival, check the link below:

How visit Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival.

Ice lantern Festival

During the ice lantern festival, ice-and-snow sculptures and ice slides are displayed along 300 meters of the gorge. The evening colorful lighting adds to the fun of evening activities.

Hot Spring Bathing

A nice soak in one of Beijing’s many hot springs is an excellent way to the perfect place to wash off the dirt and relax your body. There are three popular hot spring resorts around Beijing: Chunhuiyuan Hot Spring Resort, Jiuhua Spa & Resort and Huaxia Hot Spring.

For more information, check out the Top 10 Spring Resorts in Beijing.

Hot Spring at Jiuhua Spa Resort

Chunhuiyuan Hot Spring Resort and Jiuhua Spa & Resort Actually have the same springhead – Xiaotangshan hot spring. Xiaotangshan has been famous for its hot springs for over 300 years. Local legend has it that the imperial family of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) went there to relax.

Museums and Art Galleries

All the major attractions, including Museums and Art Galleries, are still open in Beijing in winter. As a China’s vibrant and exciting capital city, Beijing is home to many world-class museums and art galleries.

There are over 150 to choose from, ranging from the historical to the hi-tech.

museum

For more information on Beijing museums, check out the link: Top 10 Beijing Museums.

Temple Fairs

As a foreign visitor, if you are in Beijing during the Spring Festival,  visiting a temple fair is definitely a good choice to experience the traditional  Beijing custom and Chinese culture.

Like elsewhere in the world, temple fairs (Miao Hui)originated and developed as groups of vendors did business near temples when many pilgrimages came to pay tribute to the gods during traditional festivals.

For more information in Temple Fair, check out the link:  What to see and do at the temple fairs in Beijing

Temple Fair

Now there are over 10 major temple fairs held each year in Beijing during Chinese New Year. Most of them are in the parks, wide streets and other non-temple areas.

Shop at the local free markets

If you are not interested in shopping at high-end shopping malls in Beijing, where everything seems to be overpriced at fixed prices, then why not dig into the plentiful free or flea markets where you can enjoy bargaining with the local vendors.

Free Markets

For information on Beijing markets, check out the link:   Top Beijing Markets. 

Curl up with a book

The Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore and Beijing Xinhua Bookstore are major book sellers. The China Book Store in Liulichang binds and repairs all kinds of books and periodicals as well as selling them.Another good place for books is Haidian book street near Beijing University.

Bookstore

Add-on

Top 10 Ski Resorts in Beijing
Top 10 Ice Rinks in Beijing
Houhai Winter Ice Skating Rink
How to Visit Great Wall of China in Winter
Top 8 Things to Do in Beijing in the Winter
How to Visit Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival
What to see and do at the temple fairs in Beijing
Snow and Ice at Bird’s Nest (National Stadium)
How to Spend Spring Festival in Beijing
How to Spend Christmas Eve in Beijing
Longtan Lake Park Temple Fair

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 Winter Tour
Beijing 5 Day Winter Tour Package
Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Tours
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


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

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams 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.

Hike Miaofeng Mountain Pilgrimage Path Beijing

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021
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Miaofeng Mountain

Maofengshan, or Miaofeng Mountain is one of the famous mountains located in Mentougou, about 60km northwest of Tiananmen Square in the centre of Beijing. Miao Feng Shan literally means “mountain of wonderful peak”. Its highest peak reaches the altitude of 291 meters.

Miaofeng Mountain is well known for the old temples on its hilltop, as well as its rock, pine trees and flowers. The most worth visiting is Miao Feng Shan Goddess Temple, or locally called as Niang Niang Miao ( 娘娘庙 ).

The Goddess Temple at Miao Feng Shan is offered to Bixia Yuanjun (碧霞元君), also known as the “Heavenly Jade Maiden” ( 天仙玉女 ) or the “Empress of Mount Tai””(泰山娘娘). According to one of the legends, she is the daughter of the Emperor Lord of Mount Tai.

Mount Miaofeng Pilgrimage Path

Miao Feng Shan Pilgrimage Path once was a famous ancient path leading to the Miao Feng Shan Temple. Now the path has been renovated, still used by hikers and pilgrims.

Actually there are four popular ancient pilgrimage paths to the Temple, namely South Path, Middle Path, Mid-North Path and Old North Path.

The pilgrimage path can be traced back to the year of 1629 in the late Ming Dynasty ( 1368 – 1644). The Miao Feng Shan Temple was set up in Yuan Dynasty ( 1279 – 1368 ) when Yuan started to build Beijing city.

The pilgrimage was halted both during the Anti-Japanese War ( 1937 – 1945 ) and Cultural Revolution ( 1966 – 1976 ). The pilgrims are not just from Beijing, they also come from Tianjin, Shanghai and other parts of China.

Virtual Hiking Tour of Miaofeng Mountain Pilgrimage Path

Join us to hike the most famous pilgrimage trail along the ancient mid-north path to feel the history and enjoy the stunning Miao Feng Shan views as well.

Miaofeng Mountain Hiking Route Map ( Google)

Our GBS guides us on the shortest road to the starting point – the mid-north pilgrimage trail. Now we are passing the Qinghe Toll Gate (清河收费站)of Jingzuang Highway (the same highway to Badaling Great Wall, but not that far).

After about 10-minute drive, we get off the highway at Exit 16, then turn left at the cross, embark on Beiqing Road (北清路). Now we are driving on the Beiqing Road. At the end of the Beiqing Road, there is a placard pointing to Jiufeng Mountain and Yangtai Mountain on the right side; the left to Dajiu Temple.

We choose the right side direction to Yangtai Mountain. The mountain on the picture is Yangtai Mountain. We are supposed to hike over the mountain along the ancient pilgrimage path and continue to walk through the ancient trail on Miao Feng Shan Mountain.

The hilltop of Yangtai Mountain is the administration line between Haidian Disrict and Mentougou District. The west of Yangtai Mountain is under the jurisdiction of Mentougou District while the east under Haidian District.

a placard pointing to the right to Jiufeng Mountain and Yangtai Mountain

At the end of Beiqing Road, we turn right. Again we see a placard guiding us to turn left to Yangtai Mountain and Jiufeng Park.

.Again we see a placard guiding us to turn left to Yangtai Mountain and Jiufeng Park.

The main reason of our choosing the mid-path through Yangtai Mountain is that this ancient path was sponsored by An Dehai, the most feared grand eunuch of the imperial court, one of the two eunuchs favored by Empress Dowager Cixi (29 November 1835 – 15 November 1908) who ruled China during the last years of the Qing dynasty for 40 years.

He paid to build the path to please Empress Ci Xi who wanted to visit Miao Feng Shan Goddess Temple.

The entrance of the ancient mid-north pilgrimage trail is also the entrance to the Yangtai Mountain Scenic Area. The Yangtai Mountain Scenic Area entrance fee is RMB 20 per person.

Yangtai Mountain Scenic Area Enquiry Tel: 62464550
Yangtai Mountain Scenic Area Complaint Tel: 58711888

Now follow us to hike up and cross over Yangtai Mountain along the ancient pilgrimage path. The ancient pilgrimage path on the Yangtai Mountain takes up 80 % of the total length of the ancient mid-north pilgrimage path to Miao Feng Shan Goddess Temple.

The entrance to the ancient pilgrimage path.

The entrance to the mid-north pilgrimage path

A huge stone carved with the Chinese characters ” 妙峰古道” meaning ” Ancient Miaofeng Pilgrimage Path” stands on the entrance.

We are walking on the stairs made of local slabs. The Eunuch An Dehai funded the pavement of this path. It was recorded that a large number of local villagers were employed to tackle all kinds of difficulties to pave the path in the mountainous area.

It was said that each piece of stone slabs represents one liang of silver spent ( a unit of weight, 1 Liang equals about 0.005kg).

We are walking on the stairs with local slabs

On the ancient path, there were five tea shelters, and some of them have been restored for people to take a break and enjoy tea. This is the first tea shelter on the path – Xiangqiang Tea Shelter (响墙茶棚).

After half an hour hiking, we arrive at a platform on the hillside. It is the administration office of Yangtai Mountain Scenic Area.

After half a hour hiking, we arrive at a platform on the hillside. It is the administration office of Yangtai Mountain Scenic Area.

We continue to trudge up the slab steps on the ancient path

We continue to trudge up the hill

This is a huge camel-shaped rock on the path, one of the three most famous rocks in Yangtai Mountain. It is 5 meters high and 7 meters long. It has two protruding humps, hence the name of Camel-shaped rock.

It has two protruding humps, hence the name of Camel-shaped rock.

We are approaching the second tea shelter – Chaoyangyuan Tea Shelter. Facing east, the tea shelter was said to be built during the reign of Emperor Daoguang in Qing Dynasty and demolished during the anti-Japanese War. Now it was rebuilt 1997.

We are approaching the second tea shelter – Chaoyangyuan Tea Shelter.

The Jinshan Temple is in sight. The Jinshan Temple was also known as Jinxian Nunnery. No historical record tells the exact date for the establishment.

It was one of the eight palaces for resort during Jin Dynasty by the emperor Zhangzhong in the mountain west of Beijing.

The Jinshan Temple is in sight.

The spring water at Jinshan Temple has a wide reputation. Everyday, many people come here to take the spring water. Some of them even take a car, even a truck of spring water.

Taking the spring water at Jinshan Temple

Again we hike up the hill along the stair of slabs.

Again we hike up the hill along the stair of slabs.

March on the stone steps of slabs.

March on the stone steps of slabs.

We come across the No.08 positioning where you can have your mobile recharged and ask for help by telling your position.

No.08 positioning

We look back and see the distant city below. It is quite hazy with low visibility.

We look back and see the distant city below.

Continue to scramble on the path and the No.07 Positioning is in sight.

Continue to scramble on the path and the No.07 Positioning is in sight.

On the both sides of the path, there are numerous ancient trees of precious species. The path is embellished with green bamboos, pine trees, walnut trees, peach trees etc and sheer rocks and mysterious caves.

On the both sides of the path, there are numerous ancient trees of precious species

This is the No. 06 Positioning. We have just crossed over one peak and hike down to the valley and continue to trudge up the final peak on the ancient path of Yangtai Mountain.

We have just crossed over one peak and hike down to the valley and continue to trudge up the final peak on the ancient path of Yangtai Mountain.

On the way to the final peak.

On the way to the final peak.

We say goodbye to the No.01 Positioning which tells that we are close to the hilltop of Yangtai Mountain.

No.01 Positioning

We have successfully hiked the ancient pilgrimage path of Yangtai Mountain Section. Crossing over the fence we are on a platform with entrance from the top.

on a platform with entrance from the top.

The entrance on the hilltop includes the ticket office and a toilet. Now it is a low tourist season. Both the ticket office and the toilet are closed. Now we are on the side of Mentougou District. Hiking the Yangtai Mountain section of the ancient path takes us about three hours.

We are bewildered by the highway on the hilltop which is also the division line between Haidian District and Mentougou Disgtrict. The ancient path is missing! With the help of a local villager, we easily find the ancient path which is just on the other side of the highway.

With the help of a local villager, we easily find the ancient path which is just on the other side of the highway.

Now we continue to walk along the ancient path. But this time we hike on the Mentougou section of the ancient path. It is an easy walk, all the way down to the village.

all the way down to the village.

Again the ancient path is cut by the mountain highway. This time we have the experience to find the way. We just cross over the highway and hike down the ancient path.

Again the ancient path is cut by the mountain highway

Soon we reach a big tree with a toilet nearby. We take a break and continue to walk. Now the ancient path is totally cut and disappears.

Now the ancient path is totally cut and disappears.

This time we take the mountain highway leading to Jiangou Village, the most important  and final village on the way to Miao Feng Shan Temple.

The most important and final village on the way to Miao Feng Shan Temple.

The Jiangou Village  is in sight with the famous Miao Feng Shan Goddess Temple standing above on the hilltop.  The ancient path behind the village leads up to the Temple. From the picture you can easily perceive the path.

The Jiangou Village is in sight.

This is the main road inside the village. We have a very simple lunch in the village.  For the village, you may check Jiangou Village for more information. 

This is the main road inside the village. We have a very simple lunch in the village

After lunch, to save time, we don’t hike along the ancient path behind the village. Instead we drive up to the Temple on the top.

The road condition is very good. Now it is a low tourist season. it is very easy to drive on the way to the top.

Instead we drive up to the Temple on the top

The entrance to the Miao Feng Shan Goddess Temple. The stone archway is carved with the Chinese characters of “金顶妙峰山” literally meaning “Golden Top of Miaofengshan” written

the Emperor Kangxi in Qing Dynasty.

Entering the Temple.

Entering the Temple.

The rock and pine trees with Chinese characters

The rock and pine trees with Chinese characters

Walk up along the stairs and visit Huiji Temple which comprises eight shrines including the most important Miao Feng Shan Goddess Temple.

Walk up along the stairs and visit Huiji Temple which comprises eight shrines including the most important Goddess Temple.

The White Pagoda is in front of the Temple.

The White pagoda in front of the Temple

The Huiji Temple, or the Miao Feng Shan Temple, a three-religion temple including Taoism, Buddhism and Confucius.

Huiji Temple ( Goddess Temple)

Inside the Huijin Temple, or locally referred as Miao Feng Shan Goddess Temple.

Inside the Temple

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:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing 5 Day Winter Tour Package
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Tours
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


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

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams 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.

Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Beijing (Tips, Photos & Map)

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021
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Best Time to See Fall Colours in Beijing

Plan your Beijing tour in Autumn? Beijing is at its best in autumn with blue sky, comfy sunshine and colorful leaves.

The best time to see the foliage in Beijing spans about one month ranging from October 15 to November 15.

Best Places to View Fall Foliage in Beijing

There are many places to view fall foliage in Beijing including the mountainous areas ( Fragrant Hill ), the sections of the Great Wall (Mutianyu Great Wall) and some of the downtown parks (Ditan Park).

Among them, Fragrant Hill is unanimously considered as the most ideal place to view autumn leaves in Beijing.

Fragrant Hill in colors ( Image Credit: Xin Li / www.news.cn )
Mutianyu Great Wall in autumn hues

Check out the following two articles for more information on Beijing’s fall foliage:
Mutianyu Great Wall in autumn hues
Sunrise Glow over Fragrant Hills Park in Beijing
Beijing Fall Foliage Tour

Best Place for Seeing Autumn Leaves downtown Beijing

If you are scared of the huge crowds of domestic visitors at Fragrant Hill or don’t want to go up to the mountains or the Great Wall outside Beijing city proper, and would rather have a leisure time viewing the autumn leaves in downtown Beijing, Ditan Park ( The Temple of Earth ) is definitely one of your best options.

Check out How to Visit Ditan Park (Tips, Photos & Map) for more travel information on Ditan Park.

The location of Ditan Park (Google Map)

The Temple of Earth once served as the place where the emperors in Ming and Qing Dynasties offered sacrifices to the God of Earth. In 1957, the temple was turned into a public park names as “Temple of Earth Park” – Ditan Park in Chinese.

Tips for viewing fall leaves in Ditan Park

1. Entrance Fee: RMB 2 per person
2. Opening hours: 06:00 – 21:00
3. How to get there
By Subway:
Take Subway Line 2 or Subway Line 5 to Yonghegong Station (Lama Temple Station), come out of the station at Exit A (northwest exit). You can see the entrance to the park then.

By Bus:
Take Bus No. 18, 75, 104, 108, 113, 119, 201, 328, 407, 426, 430, 558, 特2 to Ditan Ximen Stop
Take Bus No. 117, 125 to Ditan Dongmen Stop

4. Which gate for the foliage
The park is fairly large with an area of 37.4 hectars sectioned into several parts. Among them, Peony Garden is the best place to see foliage in the park. Peony Garden is by the east gate. So entry into the east gate is most convenient for you to see the autumn leaves in the park. The main gate is South Gate, just north of Lama Temple.

5. Don’t scared of the crowds outside Peony Garden
Very often the park administration would organize various kinds of events or activities during the golden autumn tim in Beijing. At the time writing, the “First Beijing Intangible Cultural Heritage Fair” is being held in the park.

Plenty of vendors sell all kinds of Beijing local stuff ranging from eating, wearing to cultural artifacts. Each event will attract huge crowds of local residents. But Peony Garden remains a quite and romantic place for you to have a low pace of life here.

Follow Me to Have a Virtual Tour of Ditan Park in Colors

Today is Oct 31, a sunny and azure day with the highest temperature 20 degree Celsius. I went to the Temple of Earth for photo taking. Below are some of the pictures taken around noon inside the Peony Garden of Ditan Park.

hopefully you would like them and help you understand a bit about the leisure life the local people as well as expats enjoy against the backdrop of the busy, cosmopolitan city.

A beautiful shot of family happiness time
A paradise in the busy Beijing
A good time for an amateur cameraman
Walking, sitting, seeing and photographing
Kicking Jianzi ( shuttlecock)
Playing cards
A happy father with his kid
A winding creek in fall colours
The Commercial area (vendors) in the 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 Autumn Tour
Beijing Fall Foliage Tour
Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Tour
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


How to Plan a Trip to Beijing
Best Time to Visit Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
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 Shichahai
How to Visit Lama Temple
How to Visit Olympic Sites

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

Wangfujing Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.