My mission today was to look at everything north of the Forbidden City. I started at Jinshan Park.
Lots of evergreen planting here and the compulsory rock formations, including one where one of the emperors hanged himself. They have a butterfly enclosure on the northern side, and a peony garden when they’re in season. There were some people playing 50s jazz on rather honky-tonk saxophones when I was there.
Climb up the hill for a view of Beijing
There are some pagodas at the top of the hill, but they’re nothing special. From here I went out the west entrance, straight to Beihai Park – a 200m walk. The main draw here is the Buddhist temple at the top of the hill.
However there’s an extra charge if you want to go right up to it. Instead i paid Y1.50 to look at the little area to the south.
Also in here is a tree the Emperor sat under and received some welcome shade, so he gave it a title.
From here I walked north to the Hu Hai lakes area of hutongs. They’ve all be sanitised, so are really only good if you want hipster t-shirts or kitchen objects.
In the area there are the drum and bell towers. They charged, so I didn’t go in.
It’s quite nice to walk alongside the lake. If you have some money you can get rid of it at one of the many bars or restaurants. The locals go swimming in the lake, but I wouldn’t, unless you want leprosy. There is quite a good fitness park next to the lake, but you will get some looks if you use it for fitness and not sitting or leaning on. There were some other things in the area:
I caught the metro to the Lama temple. It was saved from the Cultural Revolution by the personal intervention of Zhou Enlai.
The big drw is the statue of Buddha made from a single piece of sandalwood. It’s 28m high, but you can’t take photos. It’s in here:
From here I went looking for a cheap restaurant for some wontons. There are no fried wontons in Beijing.