Travelling to Beijing? Check out what not to miss in part 2…
This part 2 of what not to miss while travelling through Beijing offers tranquil parks, lakes, and more amazing ancient sights, because, yes, there really is an abundance of sights to explore.
Didn’t catch last week’s part 1 of what not to miss in Beijing? You may want to read part 2 first before continuing.
Why Beijing? Well, back in 2012, my partner organised a surprise birthday for me with a trip to Beijing. But, with only 9 days to enjoy this enticing and enchanting wonderful city, it’s difficult to choose from the plethora of activities Beijing offers. So, I’m sharing more sights not to be missed.
Hou Hai Lake
After visiting the stunning Summer Palace, head east to one of the three most northern lakes in Beijing, the manmade Hou Hai Lake.
Spanning 87 picturesque acres in such a populous city of over 20 million, surprisingly, it’s still possible to discover a tranquil and soothing space to rest.
Built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Hou Hai Lake formed part of the Dynasty’s ancient waters and was reserved exclusively for the royal family.
These days, like many of Beijing’s lake areas, Hou Hai Lake’s perimeter boasts bars and nightclubs, which come alive and pumping with music each evening. Kind of breaks the ambience but people need to have fun.
Zhonghai Hu Lake
Escape Beijing’s maddening crowd with a stroll around the peaceful and lovely Zhonghai Hu Lake in Xicheng District.
Graced with flowering cherry blossoms and rest spots along the lake…
…this quiet vista lends itself to much contemplation and to observing the odd local quirkiness.
Amble slowly north from Zhonghai Lake until you reach Beihai Park. Take in all the locals that sometimes take to the parks to dance, sing, play instruments, do a little busking, or just practice the ancient art of Tai Chi.
You can easily spend a day between these lovely Beijing spaces, just people-watching and absorbing the brilliant surroundings.
Although manmade in the 11th century, Beihai Park is one of the oldest surviving parks in Beijing and was only opened to the public in 1925.
Spanning an impressive 171 acres, its lake covers more than half of the park.
This delightful space and former imperial garden offer a profusion of historically important structures, palaces, and of course, temples.
Nestled at the base of Beihai Park’s 70 square metres, lies the peaceful island of Qionghua.
Unmissable by its striking White Dagoba (a stupa) soaring almost 36 metres, the Eagoba was built in 1651 as part of the three magic mountains named Penglai in this area. Inside, you can find a 12th-century large black jade vase, but also a Buddha that was carved from a single block of white jade, which stands one-and-a-half-metres tall.
Temple of Heaven, Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
After exploring Beihai Park, Qionghua Island, and Zhonghai Hu Lake, head south on your discovery walk through Beijing, until you stumble on the majestic Temple of Heaven in the southeastern part of central Beijing.
Becoming a World Heritage site in 1998, the Temple of Heaven dates back to the 15th century and was used as a ceremonial gathering for dignitaries around the world…
…but also as an imperial sacrificial altar. The Temple of Heaven’s layout “symbolises the belief that heaven is round and earth square.”
A popular tourist destination for locals, nationals, and foreigners, be prepared for the multitude of crowds vying for the best photographic vantage point. Crowds are relentless.
Panjiayuan Antique Market
If you’re all lake’d out, then head to the extensive Panjiayuan Flea market in Beijing’s Chaoyang District for a spot of bargain hunting.
The market holds a deluge of fascinating stalls.
Covering an area of 48,500 square metres, the market is divided into six sections, which include roadside stands, sculpture and stone engraving, classical furniture, ancient architecture, a modern collection, and also a catering section.
Open 365 days per year, you can find absolutely everything and anything in this enormous market. Some stalls even have craftsmen busily at work, handmaking unique wares and souvenirs.
Guwenhua Jie, Tianjin
Wanting to see Guwenhua Jie, Tianjin’s Ancient Culture Street’s pedestrian pathway complex, stippled with kiosks and temple gates, we head out for the day. Taking the metro to the main train station, the ticket seller knocks us back and refuses to sell us tickets because we don’t have our passports.
As passports were not needed to make the short trip from Beijing to The Great Wall of China, who would have thought to bring passports just to take a train trip that is only under two hours? Ah, but we’re tourists. Live and learn. Instead, decide that venturing more of Beijing for the day is a better idea as there’s always something that’s been missed in this great city.
Discover a little more about Beijing
If you missed my previous articles on Beijing’s great sights and where to stay on your thrilling Beijing experience, then head on over to these posts in Image Earth Travel, for free detailed travel information:
You too can immerse yourself in all of this incredible discovery in only 9 days. Rest assured, you will only scratch Beijing’s surface!
I love sharing travel adventures with you and hope that I can show you some unusual haunts along the way…