After Jing Shan Park, Ben brought me to another adjacent park, the Bei Hai Park which is located to the north east of the Forbidden City.
A lot of people will enter the Bei Hai Park from it’s official entrance to the south but Ben wanted to bring me to the entrance where there are more action. That entrance is in the east side of the park.
Just outside the entrance is a local market place. It was very crowded with a lot of people coming out buying local foodstuff and almost all kinds of other things you can think of. Why, we even saw people selling motorized wheel chairs there with quite a selection too displayed on the street!
And the things here are a lot cheaper than the center of Beijing. I bought a cloth shoe for the equivalent of $8 Canadian here while it is easily 2 to 3 times more expensive in the touristy sites.
The line behind me was a line to buy some Beijing style pastry. We did not get any since we still have a lot of exploration to do in Bei Hai Park and we do not want to hold the pastry a long the way. Moreover the line is just too long and people were buying things at such a brisk pace that we were kind of worried that they might not welcome us browser and curious types. 🙂 So off we went into the park.
One activity that is popular in the park is to practice Chinese calligraphy on the pavement using a big brush with water. The calligraphy is so beautiful that Ben remarked that he wished he had pursued this when he was younger.
The entrance to the park is RMB15 (CAD2.50). Bei Hai Park is an … Imperial Garden built exclusively for the emperors of China who had used this park for more than 1000 years. It was only opened to the public in 1925.
Ben had earlier blogged about this imperial park in this post.
There was an exhibition of chrysanthemum in the Round City (also known as Circular Wall), near the south entrance during our visit. The entrance to the Round City is RMB1 (CAD 0.17). The 4,500-square-meter Round City is actually a round terrace. The main structure of the Round City is the Hall of Received Light (Chengguangdian), a spacious building with a double-eaved roof made of yellow glazed tiles bordered in green.
Bei Hai Park is filled with artificial hills, pavilions and temples. Every where you turn, there seems to be photo opportunity. Just make sure you have a spare memory card for your camera. The above is the Bridge of Everlasting Peace (Yongangiao) which was built in 1332 and leads to the Qionghua Island where the White Dagoba sits.
The stair up to the White Dagoba, a Tibetan style stupa built to honour the visit of the fifth Dalai Lama in 1651. The White Dagoba sits on the highest point on Qionghua Island (also known as Jade Flowery Islet) which was supposedly made from the earth excavated while creating the Bei Hai Lake. Entrance to the Dagoba is RMB13 (CAD2.20).
There is a bell tower in the Bei Hai Park. The stair case up the tower is super narrow and steep. Visitors have to ensure there is no opposite traffic when going up or down the stair case.
We had to pay extra to hit the bell!
There are a lot of rock gardens around the entire park. Chinese seems to like to collect rocks for their gardens. Some of the rocks we came across in China are famous that some people seeing a photo of it knows the name and the history behind it.
The rocky path down from the White Dagoba. It was a climb down from the Dagoba in the middle of the island. The steps were so uneven. The Chinese and particularly the older people were climbing these steps so quickly that they put us to shame!
A beautiful fall scene in the park. We saw a bride and groom taking their wedding photos here. This park is a popular spot for wedding photos.
Great marble bridge, another element of Chinese classical garden.
We took a boat ride to cross the lake from the Qionghua Island to the northern side of the park.
The boat ride was RMB5 (CAD0.85). Too much walking already. We were so tired with all the walking by then and so this is a respite.
The Nine-Dragon Wall lies north of the Five-Dragon Pavilion. It was built in 1402 and is one of three walls of its kind in China and it is built for the emperor. As a matter of fact, this is the first of the series of official nine dragon walls.
It is made of glaze bricks of seven-colors. Nine complete dragons playing in the clouds decorate both sides of the wall.
There above are more photos we took from Bei Hai Park. You can click on the photos to have a larger view.
Some of the photos above are from the area around the Five-Dragon Pavilions which are five connected pavilions with spires and pointed upswept eaves – appear together like one huge dragon. Built in 1602 and repaired several times, these five pavilions, half over the water, stand on the north bank of the lake opposite the Qionghua Island, a delightful place for the royal members in ancient China to relax and appreciate the natural beauty.