When I asked some recommendations about Beijing from a friend who had lived there, she recommended me to go to the parks. Beijing has become a megacity with its newly built highways, plenty of luxury cars and lots if big malls and skyscrapers. It has become a vibrant city like Hong Kong. But its parks still represent the old tradition of Chinese culture and these are real oasis in the middle of a ultramodern city.
During my stay in Beijing I could see two of them. The first one is the Behai Park www.beihaipark.com.cn. (see my next post for the second one!) Behai Park is considered as the Imperial garden. The park is situated within a sort walk distance from the northeast of the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City) The most impressive part of the park is the Jade Island. When you enter to the park from the south gate, you will see a stone bridge of more than 600 years old. Through this bridge you arrive to the island where the Temple of Eternal Peace will welcome you. Then you pass the Hall of Wheel of Law (I really like the meaning of these names!). From there you will climb the twisting path and then the steps to reach White Dagoba. This onion shaped white colour temple was built to honour the visit of the 5th Dalai Lama in 1651 and was destroyed by earthquakes in the following centuries and thus was rebuilt. At the top of that pagoda, you can admire the Imperial Palace, the hutongs, and other central parts of Beijing if the air quality allows you. After the visit of the Jade Island, you can continue your tour with other parts of the park. Some guidebooks recommend the famous Fangshan Restaurant within this park which still cooks the imperial palace plates. The park has lots of pavilions or quiet corners or small gardens (like park within the park). During my short trip in this park, my favorite place was the Place of the Quiet Heart where you can immerse yourself in a tranquil and silent environment. That day I was lucky because a sweet summer rain brought some freshness to my heart while I was relaxing in this park.
Famous stone bridge at the south entrance of the park
Red wishes at the entrance of the pagoda in the park:
View of the lake from the hill
Place of the Quiet Heart
I recommend this park to everybody wishing to visit Beijing. it may take one full day to see the whole park.
When I exit from the northern gate of the park, I found myself being list in traditional hutongs with plenty of traditional shops. The tourist information office at the exit of the park will provide you very useful info about the district and some maps.
Fromthe narrow hutong:
I like the chinese traffic signs!