Jingshan Park, Beijing
Have you ever been to the Forbidden City and been amazed by its magnificence and grandeur, but not seen a panoramic view of it? Then we suggest you visit Jingshan Park which is to the north of the Forbidden City. There you will find the best place to overlook the Forbidden City in its entirety.
Jingshan Park (Address: No. 44 West Jingshan Street, West District) used to be the royal garden during the Yuan (1271 - 1368), Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1644 - 1911) dynasties. It is one of China's best preserved royal gardens and boasts beautiful scenery and a long history. Located at the center of the city and close to the iconic Forbidden City, the park is easy to access. You can take bus No. 5 to the west gate of the park, or bus No. 58, 60 and 111 to the east gate. If your plan is to visit the Forbidden City itself first, then you leave from its north gate, cross the bridge above the moat and Jingshan Front Street to reach the south gate of the park. The admission fee is CNY 2.
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 kinds of peonies in bloom. Jingshan Hill 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. 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 insurrection army led by Li Zicheng had attacked Beijing. You can find a stone stele that commemorates this historical event. Wanchun Pavilion, with an elevation of 45.7 meters, is the highest structure in the park, and also the best place to view the whole city and enjoy a panoramic view of the Forbidden City. Have your camera ready to record this great scenery.
Bonsai plants in Jingshan Park
Leaving the park via the west gate, 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 from April to October and CNY5 from November to March. If you want to visit Qionghua Island, you need to pay an additional CNY10 per person.
Beihai Park is laid out around Beihai Lake. When entering the park, the first thing that comes into view is Qionghua Island with a white pagoda on the peak. It is regarded as the landmark of the park. The famous Beihai Fangshan Restaurant is on the north side of the island. If you are interested in Chinese imperial dishes and plan to have lunch there, you need to make sure that you can arrive by 12:30, since the restaurant closes at 13:00. After lunch, you may take a sightseeing boat from the pier near the restaurant to explore the lake and enjoy the alluring scenery from a different angle. The charge for the boat is CNY30 to CNY60 per person for one hour. Generally, one hour is enough to appreciate the scenery, but you can stay longer if you like. Please note that although there are several piers in the park, you can only leave the boat at the pier from which you left.
On the northwest side of the lake, you can see 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, built 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 will find an archway built of glazed tiles called Xumichun, as well as Tianwang Hall, Dacizhenru Hall and Liulige Tower. At the northeast corner lies Jingxinzhai, a beautiful garden where the Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Dynasty spent her summers.
Walk along the path to the north gate of the park, outside of which is West Di'anmen Street. You can take buses No. 13, 42, 107, 111, 118, 810 or 701 to your next destination. The Beihai North station of subway line 6 is also near the gate.
Beijing One-Day Tours: Starting from $39 per person
More Related Itineraries:
Lugou Bridge: one day to Wan Ping City, Lugou Bridge...
Temples Visit: to Temple of Moon, Baita Temple, Lidai Diwang Temple and Guangji Temple
Old Summer Palace: one day to Summer Palace and the Park of Yuanmingyuan Ruins