Opposite the northern gate of the Palace Museum is Jingshan (hill of commanding views) Park. Covering a space of 23 hectares, this park was once an imperial garden during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911) and was open to the public now. The Jingshan Hill, situated on the meridian line of the city of Beijing, Provides a panoramic view of the capital.
In Zhongsan Park, there's a grove of cypresses with trees said to have been planted in the Liao Dynasty. Seven of the trees are so large that it takes three to four persons with arms outstretched to encircle the trunk.
Strolling along this park gives you a wonderful experience. It is a beautiful park adorned with pretty tulip flowers. Entering through the main southern entrance, one comes to a large vestibular pavilion with long corridors running off to the east and west. In front of the pavilion is a white marble memorial archway. To the east stands a beautiful specimen of Taihu Lake stone. There is a peony pond, a wisteria arbor and, to the north, a grove of cypresses with trees said to have been planted in the Liao Dynasty. Seven of the trees are so large that it takes three to four persons with arms outstretched to encircle the trunk.
Ba Da Chu park have a long history which is a Buddha temple park. It locate at the west mountain in Beijing. There are eight antiqued architectures what make the park famous. In addition, "twelve landscapes" are nature view what give the park beautiful environment. The temples in the park were first built in Sui dynasty. One of the temples called Lingguang sacrifice Buddhist relics of Sakyamuni. However, the temples was destroyed in 1900 by invaders. Today, Ba Da Chu Park is one of the most popular parks in Beijing. Especially in fall, it is the most beautiful season where worth while visiting.
Just southeast of the Forbidden City lies Changpu River Park.
This park is an absolute lifesaver with it's water and beautiful landsacape and trees. It provides shade and rest on hot days as well as a welcome escape from the city streets.
It is a small narrow park, but it is really beautiful and very quiet and there is not many people considering it's central position.
The Coal Hill Park lies right to the north of the Forbidden City, formerly a private garden for the Imperial Family. Since coal was heaped out of the foot of the hill it was always known as Coal Hill.
Another interesting activity you will find in parks and gardens like the ones mentioned above but also around the summer palace or within tiny local greens in residential areas are some "Outdoor Fitness Studios". They are a mixture of playgrounds for kids and muscle training machines for adults and they are commonly frequented by guys and ladies of all ages. Usually people dont wear sports clothes and just practise a little bit in their every day wear. The funny thing is that mostly faces look quite unmotivated and you are not sure if the person is doing these activities for fun, for muscles, for boredom or just because he she happened to pass by.
However, I found that sports is a good activity to start a conversation with people. When you watch two people in a park playing Badminton or another ball game, it might happen easily that they ask you to join or try it for a few minutes. Also in these muscle-playgrounds it is easy to get to know some local persons.
You are in a park. You hear some music. You walk to where the sounds are coming from. You notice that there are several groups of people playing different kinds of music and they are all sitting close to each other. The result is an interesting (dis-harmonic) symphony of Er-Hus (traditional Chinese instrument), old ladies singing opera songs, men drumming and some playing violin. But it is very cute to watch that they like to stay with other people to share their music and to not be alone. So they prefer a mixture of sounds. It is incredible how much joy is radiating out of many peoples eyes - despite the rollercoaster Chinese history many of them have gone through. If you find skilled players, an Er-Hu concert can really be a treat. For these music "performances" on the week-ends, I found the park at the "Temple of Heaven" south of Tian an men a good place.
The garden is built according to a famous Chinese classic novel -- A Dream of Red Mansions. It's about a tragic love story between Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu in Qing Dynasty. It also has a reputation as the eastern version of Romio and Juliet.
Please see more photos in my photo album.
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.
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.
This place is not as famous as greatwall or forbidden city, however, I still suggest visiting if you have time. It is a garden built in modern time, however, it is based on one of the most famous novels from Qing dynasty. (Sorry I can't remember the name of the novel now but I will edit this when I remember). TV that is based on this novel was also made in this garden.
Parks - there are a handful of them, so check on a map depending on where you are. Go early in the morning and you'll see the old men hanging their birdcages in trees to chirp away while their wives do Tai Chi. They're really happy to talk to inquisitive foreigners, especially if you eat a traditional Chinese breakfast with them.
Blow up this picture to see the people doing Tai Chi - so peaceful.
Located in Xuanwu District southwest of Beijing, the present Grand View Garden is a replica of Daguanyuan the magnificent garden of an imperial family described in the well-known Chinese novel 'A Dream of Red Mansions' by a Qing Dynasty writer Cao Xueqin (17l5-l763). The site used to be a park dotted with willows and pines. In l984, the China Television Film Production Centre decided to use it as the setting to shoot garden scenes for the TV series 'A Dream of Red Mansions'. The Xuanwu District Government then suggested that the temporary garden be turned into a permanent scenic spot. Thus the plan to build the Grand View Garden faithful to the writer's description has come into being.
The project started in June 1984 and is expected to be completed in 1988. The Grand View Garden covers 110,000 square metres and includes more than 40 scenic spots illustrating the main plots in the garden. The stonework covers an area of more than 8,000 square metres and the lakes and canals 24,000 sq.m. The construction work is divided into three stages, of which the first stage in the southern part of the garden cost about 4 million yuan (about l.4 million US dollars) and was opened to the public in early 1985 . It includes a front gate, four courtyards, Qinfang Bridge, Dicui Pavilion, winding paths and other scenic sites. Every effort has been made to be accurate in reproduction of Daguanyuan. Horticulturists, architects, archaeologists and experts on the history of the famous novel were asked to pay much attention to the layout of the whole garden, the location of trees, the arrangement of the rockery, and the decoration of the main characters' homes.
Ritan Park was busy on Sunday morning. Many Chinese people were enjoying in each way, folk dance, tai chi, social dance, and practicing the rope skipping by more than 10 people. This is the good place for a walk in the morning. From the healthy active Chinese people, I got much energy for the life.