"Beihai Park in Beijing, China is a Beautiful and Quiet Place"
The Park is the Ying to the noisy and polluted Yang of Beijing City.
It's made up of Royal Pavilions, Emperor Class Temples and Courtyards that are beautifully nestled amongst rolling hills and lush old-growth trees cradled around a majestic lake.
It's best known for its Circular City and the Nine Dragon Wall that astounds tourists today.
You would've been beheaded if you'd tried to sneak a peek at the park when it was first built back in the 10th century A.D.
It was built for the Emperor of China alone and was once considered an extension of the Forbidden City.
It wasn't until 1925 that Beihai Park was finally opened to the public for the first time.
Chinese Emperors have come and gone over the Centuries and all have considered Beihai Park a most beautiful place worthy of much of their time.
Yet Beihai goes relatively unnoticed in the shadow of the Forbidden Palace, The great wall of China and even some of the larger shopping malls.
It's only about an 8 minute walk from the Forbidden City and the 10 Yuan entrance fee makes visiting the Emperor's Park of Beihai worth a visit.
What Is So Important About Beihai Park?
Beihai Park is a 10th Century Chinese Imperial Garden. It was built to imitate each of the most renowned scenic spots and architectural wonders from all over China.
The Park is considered a masterpiece of gardening technique by the Chinese Masters.
It took some superb architectural skill to build and preserve the masterpieces within the Park and a great imagination to gather so many pieces of the rich Chinese culture from all across the country and bring them to one place.
Beihai Park in Beijing, China.
The Park is just over a quarter of a square mile in size. Half of that is taken up by the lake.
There is a small island near enough to the center of the lake. It's called Jade Flowery Islet or QiongHua Island to the Chinese.
The island is an incredible place with such important Imperial Sites such as the White Dagoba, Yong' An Temple and some incredible Chinese gardens to rival the very best anywhere in the world.
Make sure you get over to Jade Flowery Islet.
There are only 3 ways to get across the lake to the island. There is the Boat, The East Gate Bridge, or through the Circular city and over Yong' An Bridge.
Please take the third option. It's great to rent a boat (In the summer months only) but the path through the Circular City and over the Yong' An bridge is tops.
How to Get to Beihai Park
If you Exit the Forbidden City at the "Shenwu Gate" then Bei Hai Park is just a short walk away. There are many sign posts along the way to make sure that you don't get lost.
If you are feeling run down from all the walking then you could grab a seat on bus #5. Ride it for just 2 stops before getting off at the Park Gate. Again it is very well marked and drivers announce the stop (In rough English so listen carefully!).
From Tian'anmen Square just go to Tienanmen West Metro station on Metro Line #1. From there you can walk to the South entrance Gate to Beihai Park in about 20 minutes.
Or again just get on Bus #5 anywhere you might see it in Tian'anmen Square (There are several stops). It seems bus #5's sole purpose in life is to get you to Beihai Park from many areas around central Beijing.
Go here for Bus Routes, Pricing and Entrance Hours.
What to See in Beihai Park
If you get to Beijing during the summer months then there is no better way to see the Park than on a yacht or boat.
The Yachts launch for the first time on March 10 after they have thawed in the springtime warmth. Visitors can then go boating and yachting within the lake inside the park.
There were originally 3 tiny islands that occupied the waters of the lake in Beihai Park. 'The Circular City' sat on its very own island at one time but has since been pulled back and rejoined as part of the shoreline.
Circular City and the buildings in it look like a miniature model of a real city, especially if viewed from the shoreline. But it is a legit city with normal sized buildings that stand behind a 276 meter long wall and consume an area of 4,553 square meters.
Find out more about The Circular City.
The The Nine Dragon Wall in Beihai Park is one of three in all of China. The largest is in Datong, Shanxi but the nicest, most intricately detailed and best preserved is the one in Bei Hai Park.
Learn more about The Nine Dragon Wall.
Once you have finished touring around Jade Flowery Islet (QiongHua Island) and gawking at the Circular City and the Nine Dragon Wall, you're best to leave the Island by crossing the Zhishan Bridge to the Eastern Shore Scenic Area.
You will find the Hao Pu Creek Garden over there and you should get a look at it. It's an independent garden that exists as a sort of a garden-within-Beihai Park's Garden.
The detail and work that must go into maintaining this garden in Beihai Park is huge. I am not even a flower person but this Hao Pu Creek (Haopujian) Garden is something else.
It is a traditional Chinese garden in every way and the color arrangements and the architecture are of perfect symmetry and style. It must have been a near religious responsibility to care for the Emperors garden.
He'd probably chop your head off if you didn't make it your lifetime preoccupation to seek perfection and approval in the eyes of the Emperor of China.
That's a lot of pressure!
It is open now to the public so heads probably don;t literally roll anymore but Hao Pu Creek (Haopujian) Garden sure is a beautiful place. There is something for almost anyone to appreciate and it really is the best of the best when it comes to Imperial Chinese Gardens in China.
Opening Hours by Season...
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