Jingshan Park, Beijing
Have you ever been to the Forbidden City and been amazed by its magnificence and grandeur, but not seen the panoramic view of it? Then we suggest you visit Jingshan Park which is to the north of the Forbidden City where you will find the best place to overlook the full view in its entirety.
Jingshan Park (Address: No. 44 West Jingshan Street, West District) used to be the royal garden during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is one of China's best preserved royal gardens and is highly regarded for its beautiful scenery and long history. As it is at the central point in Beijing, the transportation is really convenient. You can take bus No. 5 to the West Gate, or bus No. 58, 60 and 111 to the East Gate. If you happen to visit the Forbidden City for the day, then you can leave by the Shenwumen Gate, cross the moat bridge and Jingshan Front Street to reach the South Gate of the park. The admission fee is CNY2.00 per ticket.
The park is full of vitality in all seasons and its landscape is a source of real joy and peace. Each May, a peony exhibition is held here and visitors can appreciate more than 20 varieties of peony in bloom. Jingshan Mountain is one of the main scenic spots in the park. With an elevation of 88.35 meters, it is the highest peak in Beijing. Following the winding stone path, you can visit the Zhoushang Pavilion, Guanmiao Pavilion, Jifang Pavilion, Fulan Pavilion and Wanchun Pavilion one after another. The famous crooked locust tree is near the Guanmiao Pavilion. It was here that Chongzhen, the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, hanged himself in desperation, when he heard that the insurrectionary army led by Lizicheng was attacking Beijing. You can find a stone stele that commemorates this historical event. Wanchun Pavilion with a height of 45.7 meters is the highest structure in the park. This is the best place to view the whole city and have a panoramic view of the Forbidden City. Have your camera ready to record this great scenery.
Bonsai plants in Jingshan Park
After spending half a day in Jingshan Park leave via the West Gate, and a walk of about 500 meters will bring you to the East Gate of Beihai Park, another well-preserved royal garden in Beijing. The ticket is CNY10.00 from April to October and CNY5.00 from November to March. But if you want to visit the Qiong Hua Island, you need to pay additional CNY10.00 per person.
Beihai Park is laid out around Beihai Lake. When entering the park, the first thing to come into sight is Qionghua Island. The white pagoda on its peak is the landmark of the park. The famous Beihai Fangshan Restaurant is on the north side of the island. If you want to have lunch there, you need to make sure you can arrive before 12:30, since the restaurant will be closed after 13:00. After lunch, you may rent a boat from the pier near the restaurant to explore the lake and enjoy the alluring scenery from a different viewpoint. The boat rent is CNY30.00 - CNY60.00 per person per hour. You can decide how long you want to row, generally, one hour is enough. Please kindly note that although there are several piers in the park, you can only return the boat to one from which you rent it.
On the northwest side of Beihai Lake, you can visit the main sites of the park. Walk to the north of Beihai Restaurant for about 5 minutes, and you will see the most exquisite Nine Dragon Screen in China which was built by Emperor Qianlong in 1756. It still retains its bright colors even after the vicissitudes of more than 200 years. On the east side of the Nine Dragon Screen, you can visit a colored-glazed archway called Xumichun, the Tianwang Hall, Dacizhenru Hall and Liulige Tower. At the northeast corner, you will find Jingxinzhai, a beautiful garden where the Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Dynasty frequently spent her summers.
Walk along the path to the rear gate of the Park, outside of which is West Di'anmen Street from where Buses 13, 42, 107, 111, 118, 810, 701 are available and you can choose the appropriate one for your return to your home or your hotel.
Beijing One-Day Tours: Starting from $39 per person
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Old Summer Palace: one day to Summer Palace and the Park of Yuanmingyuan Ruins