Intricate engravings at Beihai Park © chaibin
A place of tranquility and grand imperial beauty, the Beihai Park is one of the great attractions of Beijing. The park is centrally located and close to the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park. It provides a peaceful, natural haven after a long morning of busy sightseeing. Beihai Park is one of the oldest and most authentically preserved imperial gardens in China; its history extends over 1,000 years to the ancient Liao dynasty, which ruled between 916 and 1125. Built up through five dynasties, the park is an emblem of old world China and the ancient Chinese art of landscaped gardens with artificial hills, colourful pavilions and intricate temples, dominates. Kublai Khan lived in what is now the Circular City of Beihai Park, and the Tibetan-style White Dagoba, built in 1651 on Jade Island, is a landmark for both Beihai Park and Beijing, having been constructed on the suggestion of a famous Tibetan Lama priest, NaomuHan. Apart from the famous White Dagoba and the Circular City, landmarks of Beihai Park include Hao Pu Creek Graden, the Quiet Heart Studio, Nine-Dragon Screen, and the Five-Dragon Pavilions. Fangshan Restaurant, on the northern shore of the lake, is also worth a visit.
Address: Wenjin Jie 1
Telephone: (0)10 6403 3225
Transport: Underground rail to Tiananmen Xi, then bus number 5.
Opening times: Open daily: 6am-8pm (November to March), 6am-9pm (April, May, September, October), and 6am-10pm (June to August).
Admission: CNY10 (April to October), and CNY5 (November to March).