Archive for the ‘Beijing Tour Reviews’ Category

How to Visit Ditan Park

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018
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Beijing has five royal altars left from Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 – 1911) including Tiantan ( the Altar for the Heaven, also knowns as the Temple of Heaven), Ditan ( the Altar for the Earth, also known as the Temple of Earth), Ritan ( the Altar for the Sun, also known as the Temple of Sun), Yuetan (the Altar for the Moon, also known as the Temple of Moon) and Xiannongtan ( the Altar for Agriculture, also known as Temple of Agriculture).

Now four of the original altars have been extended and turned into public parks known as Tiantan Park (the Temple of Heaven), Ditan Park (the Temple of Earth), Ritan Park (the Temple of Sun), Yuetan Park (the Temple of Moon).

Ditan, or the Altar for the Earth and the Temple of Earth, was built in 1530 during Ming Dynasty. It was the place where the emperors in Ming and Qing Dynasties who would attend the annual summer solstice ritual of sacrifices to the earth. In 1925, the Temple of Earth was built into a park open to the public. Later the park was destroyed and discarded due to the successive wars. The park was repened to the public in April, in 1957.

Ditan Park is open 24 hours a day all year around with a small entrance of 2 Yuan. But the entrance to the inner site of the Altar costs you another 5 Yuan. Each year during the Chinese Spring Festival ( Chinese new year), a grand temple fair will be held inside Ditan Park with added up entrance fee of 10 Yuan.

Ditan Park has four entrances – South, North, East and West. Its south gate is easily reached by taking the Subway line 2 and you get off at the station of Lama Temple and exit from Exit A and walk to the north for about 300m, you will get to the southern gate to Ditan Park. We recommend that you make a circular tour of the park from the south gate, to East Gate, North Gate and exit from West Gate, or back to the southern gate.

A morning stroll around Ditan Park is very much rewarding, seeing people ( most of them are seniors ) doing all kinds of morning exercises, dancing and singing. Ditan Park is also one of the best places to view autumn leaves in the downtown Beijing when the Ginkgo trees are all yellow, blanketing the major roads in the park.

Another important occasion to come to Ditan Park is Chinese Spring Festival when a large temple fair will be held here annually, attracting huge crowds of visitors. There will a plenty of vendors selling all kinds of stuff, food, entertainment, and games.

Morning Stroll around Ditan Park
First, follow me for a relaxing stroll around Ditan Park in the morning. This time I enter Ditan Park through its west gate instead of its south gate. What allures you is the grand pailou outside the west gate. Pailou, also known as Paifang, is a traditional Chinese architectural form like an archway.

Pailou ( Paifang ) is a traditional Chinese architectural form like an archway.

Pailou is a traditional Chinese architectural form like an archway.

Pailou is a traditional Chinese architectural form like an archway.

 Then walk from the decorated pailou to the west entrance, a 200m some walking with its pathway covered by the dense trees. Actually there are two west gates – one 3-arch gate and another one arch gate both with green glazed tiles and re-colored wall. The ticking office is set by the inner west gate, a one-arch gate.

After entering the west gate, walk to the north, soon you will see a square red wall which houses the Palace Fasting where emperors would fast before they went to the Altar for sacrificial ritual.

the Palace Fasting where emperors would fast

the Palace Fasting where emperors would fast

To the north of the Palace for Fasting are the Devine Horse Stable and Bell Tower.
the Devine Horse Stable

the Devine Horse Stable

The Bell Tower in Ditan Park
The Bell Tower in Ditan Park

The Bell Tower in Ditan Park


Each morning many local residents, especially senior people come to Ditan Park or the Temple of Earth for doing all kinds of exercises. This group of people are Tibetan dancing fans, dancing in front of the open space by the west gate to the Palace for Fasting.
This group of people are Tibetan dancing fans

This group of people are Tibetan dancing fans

Move on to the east from the Tibetan dancing group, I see another group of people learning Tai Chi.
I see another group of people learning Tai Chi.

I see another group of people learning Tai Chi.

Soon, I reach the wide paved road running from north to south leading to the North Gate. Many people are doing morning exercises on the road covered with high Ginkgo trees.
Many people are doing morning exercises on the road covered with high Ginkgo trees.

Many people are doing morning exercises on the road covered with high Ginkgo trees.

This is the northern gate to Ditan Park.
This is the northern gate to Ditan Park.

This is the northern gate to Ditan Park.

Let’s go on to make a loop tour of the park and move on to the east side of the north-south main road. Here you may find even more people doing Tai Chi, doing plentiful morning exercises.
Here you may find even more people doing Tai Chi

Here you may find even more people doing Tai Chi

A veteran of martial art is practicing in order to attract new students for commercial purposes.
A veteran of martial art is practicing in order to attract new students for commercial purposes.

A veteran of martial art is practicing in order to attract new students for commercial purposes.

Relying on apparatus to do exercises. Some just go to the extreme. 
Relying on apparatus to do exercises. Some just go to the extreme.

Relying on apparatus to do exercises. Some just go to the extreme.

This is the Chinese Traditional Medicine Health Cultivation Garden telling people how to keep fit and self-cultivation. The garden is located at the East gate to Ditan Park.
This is the Chinese Traditional Medicine Health Cultivation Garden

This is the Chinese Traditional Medicine Health Cultivation Garden

It is a beautiful garden immersing people into a mesmerizing environment while learning the basics of Chinese traditional medicine.

Well. let’s walk to the middle of the park – the Altar in a square pond (Fangzetan) circled by red-colored wall with yellow glazed tiles.

 Fangze Tan ( The square and moated terrace), popularly known as “the Altar” was the place where the emperors in Ming and Qing Dynasty offered sacrifices to the God of the Earth. It is locked in the early morning, so I have to peep through the wooden gate and take a picture of the Altar from a distance.

peep through the wooden gate and take a picture of the Altar from a distance.

peep through the wooden gate and take a picture of the Altar from a distance.

Old pine trees and green lawn by the Altar. I happen to take a candid photo of a cute baby escorted by his grandpa.
happen to take a candid photo of a cute baby escorted by his grandpa.

happen to take a candid photo of a cute baby escorted by his grandpa.

Now I come to the southern gate, the most popular gate of the four gates in the park. In front of the gate is the House for worshipping the Earth God. The house is also surrounded by the red-colored wall with yellow glazed tiles.
the House for Worshipping the Earth God

the House for Worshipping the Earth God

This is the exterior of the Southern Gate to Ditan Park.
This is the exterior of the Southern Gate to Ditan Park.

This is the exterior of the Southern Gate to Ditan Park.

Just outside the southern gate, you can find one of the popular Cantonese restaurants in Beijing known as Jindingxuan Restaurant. You may have a bite of the Cantonese food.
the popular Cantonese restaurants in Beijing known as Jindingxuan Restaurant.

the popular Cantonese restaurants in Beijing known as Jindingxuan Restaurant.

Fall Foliage at Ditan Park.
Beijing is at its best in autumn with blue sky, comfy sunshine and colourful leaves. The best time to see the foliage in Beijing spans about one month ranging from October 15 to November 15.

There are many places to view fall foliage in Beijing including the mountainous areas (all sections of the Great Wall) and downtown parks. Among them, Fragrant Hill is unanimously considered as the most famous place to see autumn leaves in Beijing.

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

Autumn Ditan 1

Ditan 1

Ditan 1

Autumn Ditan 2
Ditan 2

Ditan 2

Autumn Ditan 3
Autumn Ditan 3

Autumn Ditan 3

Autumn Ditan 4
Autumn Ditan 4

Autumn Ditan 4

Ditan Temple Fair during the Chinese spring festival
As a foreign visitor, if you are in Beijing during the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year),  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 pilgrims came to pay tribute to the gods during traditional festivals.

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.

Though some commercialization is greatly reinventing the essence of the Beijing’s temple fairs, and old Beijing culture is becoming a smaller part of the fairs, going to a temple fair is still one of the opportunities to know something about our Spring Festival traditions: eating, shopping and entertaining.

Eating and drinking at Ditan Temple fair. Shopping at Ditan Temple Fair

Shopping at Ditan Temple Fair

Shopping at Ditan Temple Fair

Entertaining at Ditan Temple Fair
Entertaining at Ditan Temple Fair

Entertaining at Ditan 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 Dinner & Night Boat Tour. from US$ 59P/P

Beijing by Night Illuminations Tour  from US$33 p/p

Beijing Hutong Highlight One Day Tour  from US$59 p/p

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

For any questions, just drop a line.

Wangquanyu Great Wall

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018
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Wangquanyu Great Wall lies to the west of Beijing Knot at Jiankou Great Wall and east of  Lvanling Great Wall.  Wangquanyu Great Wall is named after the the village with the same name – Wangquanyu Village at the Wangquanyu Valley.

Wangquan Village is situated about 90km to the north of downtown Beijing. To get  to Wangquan Village, you first drive along Jingcheng Expressway and get off at Huairou District. Then continue to drive along the mountain path between Mutianyu Great Wall and Ming Tombs.  Seeing a signboard pointing to Wangquanyu (旺泉峪) or Xiangshuihu(响水湖), turn right to the north direction, and soon you will reach Wangquanyu Village.

Wangquanyu Great Wall is a wild and unrestored, not long, only 2 km with 8 watchtowers: 6 towers in the east of Wangquanyu valley and 2 towers in the west.  So the wall is divided into two sectons – East Section (6 towers) and West Section (2 towers ).  You may hike the wall from Beijing Knot  (Jiankou Great Wall) , or you may hike up directly from Wangquanyu Village.  Hiking up Wangquanyu Great Wall from the valley could be very tiring and challenging due to its big drop of 390m.

Wangquanyu Great Wall was built intermittently for 176 years from 1404 (Yongle 2rd Year) to 1580 (Wanli 8th Year) in Ming Dynasty.  This unrestored wall looks exteriorly fresh and well preserved, but once you are on the wall, you will see bushes, saplings, overgrown and ruined. It goes in and out of the dense bushes.

Jiankou Great Wall impresses us for its grandeur and vastness; Wangquanyu Great Wall, grace and elegance.  Plan your Great Wall tour? Wangquanyu Great Wall is an interesting section of the Wall around Beijing.

The wall makes two sharp turns near the valley

The wall makes two sharp turns near the valley

 

Not easy to hike the wall due to its drop of 390m

Not easy to hike the wall due to its drop of 390m

 

Bushes, saplings an overgrown on the wall

Bushes, saplings an overgrown on the wall

 

Well-preserved with high battlements

Well-preserved with high battlements

 

Wangquanmen is green and colorful

Wangquanmen is green and colorful

 

Graceful and elegant

Graceful and elegant

 

Hike up and take care

Hike up and take care

 

A low watchtower, Beijing

A low watchtower, Beijing

 

Viewed from wangquanyu

Viewed from wangquanyu

 

Wangquanmen is green and colorful 1

Wangquanmen is green and colorful 1

Hike up and take care 1

Hike up and take care 1

Tip : Hassle-free Great Wall Guided Tours
Don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route? No worries, We at Tour Beijing have some options for guided tours to Great wall Tours:

Mutianyu Great Wall Group Day Tour
Mutianyu Great Wall Half  Day Private Tour
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Tour
Hike from Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall Tour
Hike from Jinshanling to Simatai Great Wall West Tour
Badaling Great Wall + Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall and Underground Palace Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall + Forbidden City + Tiananmen Square Day Tour

Add on:
Visit Badaling Great Wall by Train
Visit Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus

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.

Night View of Beihai Park

Saturday, July 21st, 2018
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Visiting Beijing for the first time? Spare some time for the sightseeing in Beijing at night.  You have multiple places to choose from for your Beijing night tour – find a pleasant stroll in an elegant, romantic, tranquil site.

The time-honored former imperial winter palace – Beihai Park is a nice place to stretch your legs and rekindle a romance with traditional beauty of Chinese landscape.

Beihai Park is just located to the northeast of Forbidden City.  Beihai Park was once the imperial winter palace opposite to Summer Palace.  The former imperial winter park is mainly composed of 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).

For more information on Beijhai Park, and  check out the link – How to visit Beihai Park  and Photos of Beihai Park at Dusk .

Well, follow me to have a virtual tour of Beihai Park at night.

This is the ticketing office by the south gate to Beihai Park. The entrance fee: RMB 5

Beihai Park's South Gate Ticketing Office

Beihai Park’s South Gate Ticketing Office

The South Gate is connected to the Circular City which also serves as the southern wall of the park.

The South Gate is connected to the Circular City

The South Gate is connected to the Circular City

The circular City which is also the southern wall of the park

The circular City

The circular City

The pagoda atop the hill on the Jade Island is one of the landmarks in Beijing

The pagoda atop the hill on the Jade Island

The pagoda atop the hill on the Jade Island

Zoom in the White Pagoda

Zoom in the White Pagoda

Zoom in the White Pagoda

The lit Yong’an Bridge with waving willow trees.

The lit Yong'an Bridge

The lit Yong’an Bridge

The teahouse by the lake bank is a quite and mesmerizing place.

The teahouse by the lake bank is a quite and mesmerizing place.

The teahouse by the lake bank is a quite and mesmerizing place.

Chinese typical arch bridge and pavilion

Chinese typical arch bridge and pavilion

Chinese typical arch bridge and pavilion

Bridge under dancing willow trees

Bridge under dancing willow trees

Bridge under dancing willow trees

Beihai Imperial Food Restaurant

Beihai Imperial Food Restaurant

Beihai Imperial Food Restaurant

The Circular City seen from inside the park.

The Yongan Brideg leaging to Circular City

The Yongan Brideg leaging to Circular City

The circular city

The circular city and his people

 

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 Dinner & Night Boat Tour. from US$ 59P/P

Beijing by Night Illuminations Tour  from US$33 p/p

Beijing Hutong Highlight One Day Tour  from US$59 p/p

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

For any questions, just drop a line.