Fragrant Hills, Beijing
Beyond the western city limits is a very special area for Beijing people. The area around Xiangshan (meaning Frangrant Mountain) is the premier attraction in an area full of outdoor interest. The Summer Palace is nearby, as is the beautiful eight temples of the Badachu area. Finally, the Beijing Botanical Gardens (on two sites) contains a number of fascinating sights in the extensive grounds.
Xiangshan is a huge area of parkland and trees in a deep valley, crowned by the Xiangshan peak. The key corridors in the park are heaving with Beijing people whenever the weather is good: these key corridors include the ponds and manicured gardens at the base of the hill, the cable car to the top of the mountain, and the main pathway backdown again. However, the eastern fringes, including the villa where Mao Zedong lived in early 1949, and the ruined temple complex, are usually quiet.
The peak visiting time is spring and autumn when the leaves change colour, but it is a wonderful place all year round.
Everyone recommends going to the Fragrant Hills to see the leaves turn in autumn, but no one mentions that the city's entire population will be there with you (That's ture). At off-peak times, this park, carved from imperial hunting grounds, is a civilized jumble of smoke trees, small pagodas and scenic pools culminating in a view of Beijing from Incense Burner Peak (Xianglu Feng). A Chairlift (RMB 50) is available for those not up to the hour-long hike (by staircases) to the top. Trails lead from the peak further into the western hills.
The park was OK, I enjoyed cable car ride the most (approx 18 minutes one way). The view was cool, although smog was covering most of it. On the top you can eat/drink/buy souvenirs.
It was pretty cold on top, I did not regret for taking hat and gloves.
Chinese people usually climb these hills instead of taking the cable.. I cannot imagine how hard it must be..
10RMB entrance fee;
30RMB - cable car, one way.
Located about 30 kilometres northwest of Beijing, is one of the mist favourite resorts on the city’s outskirts. Fragrant Hills Park. It covers 1.6 km and consists of a natural pine and cypress forest, hills with maple trees, smoke trees and persimmon trees, as well as landscaped areas with traditional architecture and cultural relics. The name derives from the park's highest peak, Xianglu Feng (Incense Burner Peak), a hill with two large stones resembling incense burners at the top.
In November, the frosted leaves of there trees, along with the persimmons and maples, spread over the Fragrant Hills like a thick red blanket.
Temple of Azure Clouds, located of the north of Fragrant Hills park, it is the most magnificent ancient temple in the area of western hills. The Hall of Arhats, 508 arhats each having a different facial expression and posture, are precious works of arts.
Dr. Sun Yat Sen passed away in 1925, his coffin was placed in this temple, when his remains were removed to Nanjing for burial in 1929. His hast and clothing were kept in the pagoda at rear hill. There is hall devoted to his memory.
This cool park is located near the Summer Palace, north of Beijing. To enter the park is free, but to enter some of the nearby gates and temples will cost you some Yuan. The park is the last stop for the city metro and buses, and it is not that hard to reach, especially from the Summer Palace (bus 333 from the Palace and No 318 from Beijing). You can get some excellent views of the Beijing countryside by hiking up (or taking the chairlift Y30/50) the Incense-Burner Peak. You can also visit the Bi4 yun2 Si4 Temple (enterence fee Y10), located near the north gate to the park. At the temple there some amazing statues and stuff.
Fragrant Hills Botanical Gardens - Xiang1 shan1 Zhi2 wu4 yuan2
This botanical garden, located near the Fragrant Hills Park, is perfect for plant lovers. There are tons of different types of plants native to China. I'm not a big plant lover, but I still enjoyed the Xiang1 shan1 Zhi2 wu4 yuan2, mainly due to an incredibly interesting temple, located near the gardens. The Wo4 fo2 Si4 (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), from the Tang dynasty, is extremely interesting. At the temple there is a 54 ton Sakyamuni (Buddha) statue, which, is said to have the bodies of 7000 people inside it. The enterence fee to the temple is Y5 and the enterence fee to the gardens is Y5 also. The temple is open from 8:00 - 17:00 and the gardens are open from 6:00 to 20:00.
Red leaves in Beijing Fragrant Hill, one of the most magnificent scenes in Beijing, enjoy the international fame and attract thousands of visitors annually. In every autumn period, crowds will cover the entire hill to appreciate red leaves. There are many kinds of red leaves in Fragrant Hill. Most of them are sumac trees and maple trees.
Red leaves in Fragrant Hill have enjoyed the popularity since the ancient time. Poem sentence “Red leaves are much brighter than blossoms in February” tell us the charm of this plant. During the late autumn days, on the southeast slope of Fragrant Hill, thousands of sumac trees will turn into red color. Other kinds of trees also decorate this hill here and there. The red color which is looked like fire print a significant scene in this time. The famous “Magnificent Autumn Forest” in the top 28 scenes in Fragrant Hill just refers this site.
In the autumn, red color covers the hill; red leaves stand on branches. The calm atmosphere in this hill makes visitors forget about troubles in the noisy world. The quiet environment, the old trees, the red leaves, all of these will attract you to come to Beijing Fragrant Hill. Red leaf is the symbol of harvest as well as the beginning of a fantastic world.
The red leaves festival in Fragrant Hill Park has been held since 1989 annually. The period is from mid-October to mid-November which is the best time to see red leaves there. During the festival period, people can join in many activities such as climbing mountain matches, art performances competitions, painting and poems competitions, music and tea exchange meetings, stone and bonsai exhibitions, etc.
There are lots of people in Red Leaves Festival period. It depends on the weather to appreciate the red leaves. If the temperature is not enough low, leaves may be not turned into bright red enough. And if the cold wave comes, leaves will fall from branches. So the golden time to see red leaves may be just a few days only.
Red Maples Festival in Fragrant Hills Park: middle October - early November
Bus: 714, 733, 737, 833, 318, 360, 331, 904
Zhiwuyuan (Botanical garden) and Wofosi (the Temple of the Sleeping Buddha) are also nearby.
BTG Fragrant Hill Hotel is a 4 stars Hotel, designed by the famous chinese architect Ieoh Ming Pei,who designed also Le Grand Louvre in Paris and many others.
But u can also see red maples in Badaling (one famous section of the Great Wall).
Because the wind in spring is so strong, I highly recommend u to visit beijing in autumn!
Xiang Shan is a small hill in Beijing, located in the northwest of the city, the best visit time is middle autumn, red leaf falling from the tree, cover the hill.