Archive for the ‘Beijing Attractions’ Category

Jingshan Park not to be missed

Saturday, May 23rd, 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 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).

A pavilion with three-layered eaves perched on 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.

Line up for the tickets: RMB 2 per person (RMB10 per person during Peony Festival April and May). Opening hours: 6am – 9pm all year round.

Wanchun pavilion perched on the hill

 

Enter the south gate 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.   

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)

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

The story of Emperor Chongzhen who hanged himself

The story of Emperor Chongzhen who hanged himself

 
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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


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.

More travel articles about Jingshan Park

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

Chinese version of the travel guide:

北京景山公园不容错过

How to Visit Lama Temple

Thursday, May 21st, 2020
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Dear Travelers,

We’d like to have the following quick guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Lama Temple.

If you have any questions or anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
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Plan your Beijing Tour? If you are interested in Chinese Lamaism or Chinese Buddhism, Beijing Lama Temple is not to be missed.

Beijing Lamasery Temple is called “Yonghegong” (雍和宫) in Chinese which literally means” Harmony and Peace”. “Yonghegong” is a romanization form (pinyin) of the Chinese characters – 雍和宫 (Lama Temple).

Pinyin is quite useful in China, especially on people’s names, shop fronts, street names and place names etc. When Chinese people write their own names in English, they use Pinyin. All the bus stops and subway stops for Lama Temple are named “Yonghegong” in English instead of Lama Temple.

For many foreign travelers coming to Beijing, Yonghegong (Lama Temple) is a very important attraction just after Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven in the city center. Yonghegong Lama Temple was originally built as the residence of Emperor Yongzheng when he was still a prince.

After he came to the throne (Emperor Yongzheng), he changed his old residence into a temporary palace called “Yonghegong” in 1725. In 1744, his successor, Emperor Qianlong turned the palace into a lama temple. This Tietan Buddhist Lama Temple is still popularly called Yonghegong.

Built along a central axis from north to south, the Lama Temple’s compound is mainly composed of six major halls, which make seven courtyards. The six halls include Yonghe Gate Hall, Yonghegong Hall, Yongyou Hall, Falun Hall, Wanfuge Pavilion and Suicheng Hall.

There are also many side buildings built on the both sides of the central axis. Before you visit the six halls and seven courtyards, you will first see the Memorial archway.

How to get there?
Well, taking the subway is highly recommended. You either take subway line 2 or Line 5 and get off at the stop of “Yonghegong”, exit from the Exit C.

From the EXIT C of Yonghegong Subway Station, you turn left and walk along the sidewalk below a long red wall, inside which Lama Temple is located. The 400 meters sidewalk is teemed with front stores selling incense, fortune-tellers and so on.  Then you will get to the entrance to Lama Temple on your left hand.

On your left side, you will see the entrance to the compound of Lama Temple.

The entrance to the compound of Lama Temple

In the middle of the compound is the archway leading to the six halls and seven courtyards to the north of the archway.

In the middle of the compound are the three connected Memorial archways

On the right side of the archway is the ticket office.

On the right side of the archways is the ticket office.

Entrance Fee: CNY 25 per person
Opening Hours: 09:00 – 16:30 ( April – October)
09:00 – 16:00 (November – March)
Note:  You don’t have to book your ticket in advance. Just get there as early as possible,  and line up for buying your ticket on the spot.
By the way, , they have both English-speaking tour guides and English audio-guide for rent. Please contact them while you are going to purchase your entrance ticket at the ticketing booth.

Follow me into Lama Temple (Yonghegong).

Have your ticket collected at the side gate of the archway, you walk north along the imperial carriage pathway where in Qing Dynasty the straight path was used for the carriages of the emperors and their empresses during the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911).

You walk north along the imperial way

At the northern end of the imperial carriage pathway is the Zhaotai Gate only used for emperors.

At the northern end of the imperial carriage pathway is the Zhaotai Gate only used for emperors.

Entering Zhaotai Gate, you will be in the second courtyard which has a Drum Tower on the right side and Bell Tower on the left side and more side buildings in the courtyard.

To the north of the courtyard is Yonghe Gate. Built in 1694, originally the main gate to the Lama Temple. Now Yonghe Gate is enshrined with the four heavenly kings and the statue of the big belly Meitraya Buddha.

Now Yonghe Gate is enshrined with the four heavenly kings and the statue of the big belly Meitraya Buddha

North of the Yonghe Gate is Yonghe Hall. Yonghe Hall ( Hall of Harmony and Peace ) is the main palace in the temple.

Inside the hall, there are three bronze Buddhas – Sakyamuni (Present Buddha) in the middle, The Past Buddha on the right and Maitreya ( Future Buddha ) on the left. 18 Arhats are placed on both sides of the Hall.

Yonghe Hall ( Hall of Harmony and Peace ) is the main palace in the temple

North of Yonghe Palace is Yongyou Hall. The Yongyou Hall was originally the living place of Emperor Yongzheng before he was throned. When he died, his coffin was placed here in the hall.

Now inside the hall, a statue of Amitayus (Longevity Buddha), with Bhaisajyaguru ( Medicine Buddha) to the right and Simhanada (Meaning Wisdom) to the left.

North of Yonghe Palace is Yongyou Hall.

North of Yongyou Hall is Falun Hall. The hall was named Falun Hall in 1744 when Yonghegong was transformed into a lamasery. The Hall was originally the living place for the Emperor’s wives. Its architecture features both Chinese and Tibetans styles.

A large statue of Tsong Kha-pa, the founder of Lamaism is positioned on the altar of the Hall with sacrificial offerings. Behind this statue is an Arhat Hill which has 500 Arhats. Falun Hall is the places lamas chant, read scriptures and hold Buddhist ceremonies.

North of Falun Hall is Wanfu Pavilion (The Pavilion of Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happiness). Wanfu Pavilion is the highest building in the temple.

It was built between 1748 and 1750. Now it enshrines the Meitreya Buddha. The statue is 18 meters above ground and 8 meters under ground and carved from a single trunk of white sandal wood. In August 1999, it was in Guinness book of records.

The last hall is called Sui Cheng Building. Originally built in 1744, the hall now enshrines the White Tara, the Green Tara and the founders of Gelugpa sect of Lamaism in different periods.

The last hall is called Sui Cheng Building

Kids are happy to turn around the prayer wheels.

Kids are happy to turn around the prayer wheels

A foreign Buddhist

A foreign Buddhist

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:

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

Any questions, just drop line.

Chinese version of the travel guide:

参观雍和宫小贴士

Qianmen Street, a Pedestrian Street in Beijing

Sunday, May 17th, 2020
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The 845-meter long Qianmen Street runs south from Tiananmen Square, just along the Beijing central axis. It is one of the last remnants of the business centers of the old Beijing.

It has been transformed into a modern commercial pedestrian street, the most second visited traffic-free street after Wangfujing Street in Beijing.

Qianmen Street was initially formed in Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911). By the time of Emperor Jiajing, the 12th Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) emperor, the street was dotted with guild halls built by different localities, providing houses to citizens from other parts of China intending to take the imperial exams.

Qianmen Street became even more prosperous in the early years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) with the development of activities such as lantern fairs, theaters and tea houses.

Places like the Guanghe Theater  – today threatened with demolition — and the Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant are part of Beijing’s history.

The original Qianmen Street in Ming and Qing Dynasties was burnt down to ashes in 1900 when the Allied Forces of the Eight Powers ransacked Beijing. Physically, there is nothing left for us to retrieve.

The present Qianmen Street has been rebuilt on the historical photos and the mould of the 1920s to 1930s. The 1.45-square kilometer area has been built into four zones for culture, food, shopping and entertainment. Trolley cars are back to transport and entertain tourists.

The area is home to 50 courtyards and hutongs listed as state-level heritage sites, as well as 80 famed shops that have been operating for over a century, such as the Liubiju sauce and pickle shop, Tongrentang drugstore, Ruifuxiang silk shop, Neiliansheng shoes store and Zhangyiyuan tea shop.

Follow me to explore Qianmen Street.

You may visit Qianmen Street from its northern entrance, south of Tiananmen Square.

The northern entrance to Qianmen Street with a traditional archway.

Or, you may enter Qianmen Street from its southern entrance. The distance between the north entrance and south entrance is 845m in length.

 

The south entrance to Qianmen Street

 
The Dangdang Che ( Tram) is basically in service during Chinese public holidays running from north to south.
The Dangdang Che ( Tram) will be in service during Chinese public holidays running from north to south.

The Dangdang Che ( Tram)

 
Walking along the street.

Walking along the street.


The father and daughter are ambling down the street.

The father and daughter are ambling on the street.

KFC is mixed with the traditional Beijing elements.
KFC is mixed with the traditional Beijing elements.

KFC is mixed with the traditional Beijing elements.

The 845m long Qianmen Street is a nice place for a walk.
The 845m long Qianmen Street is a nice place for a walk.

The 845m long Qianmen Street is a nice place for a walk.

Here you can find the West meets the East.
Here you can find the West meets the East.

Here you can find the West meets the East.

 
The time-honored Yueshengzhai Restaurant.

The time-honored Yueshengzhai Restaurant.

The famous Qianmen Quanjude Duck Restaurant.

The famous Qianmen Quanjude Duck Restaurant.

People are lining up for having a bite of Duyichu shaomai.

People are lining up for having a bite of Duyichu shaomai.

China Bookstore

China Bookstore

 
Changcuntang, a famous traditional Chinese Pharmacy

Changcuntang, a famous traditional Chinese Pharmacy

MCdonald’s on the street

MCdonald’s on the street

Walking about 80 meters from the north entrance to Qianmen Street, on your right hand, you will see the entrance to the famous Dashilan, once the business center of Beijing.

The Dashilan area has gathered some of China’s oldest brands, such as Tongrentang (TCM), Neiliansheng (shoes), and Ruifuxiang (silk and fabrics).

 

The entrance to the famous Dashilan

 
The two time-honored shops selling hats and shoes inside Dashilan Area.

The two time-honored shops selling hats and shoes inside Dashilan Area

Its north entrance is just behind Zhengyang Gate ( Arrow Tower ).

Its north entrance is just behind Zhengyang Gate ( Arrow Tower ).

Its north entrance is just behind Zhengyang Gate ( Arrow Tower ).


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 Beijing guided tours: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/pMutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

 

Any questions, just drop line.

Chinese version of the travel guide:

前门大街 -北京的一条步行街