Sep 25, 2015

The fascinating Beihai Park

Overshadowed by its neighbour, the Forbidden City, Beihai Park is very often neglected by tourists. Called the Winter Palace by some, Beihai Park is the oldest imperial garden in the world as well as one of the largest in China.

As mentioned, I was there in Beijing for only about 5 days, and I was squeezing as many landmarks and places in my schedule as I could and Beihai Park was on my list of “maybe” places to go.



This massive imperial garden has a history of over 1,000 years. The park has its origin in the Liao dynasty (907 - 1125), with lots of influence from the Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911). Emperor QianLong (1736 - 1795) commissioned a number of the landmarks in the park. However, the White Dagoba was constructed earlier, in 1651.


Beihai Park spans more than 68 hectares, more than half of which is covered by its lake. It is made up of Beihai Lake and Qionghua Island, and the White Dagoba was built on the top of Qionghua Island, the main landmark of Beihai Park. 



I went there on my last day there in Beijing at about 7.00am, while waiting for the Prince Gong / Prince Kung Mansion to open. My daughter and I walked from our hotel to the Bell and Drum Tower and down the road towards the Prince Gong Mansion.  Beihai Park is right in across the road from the lane leading to the mansion.


In addition, Beihai Park is considered an ancient Chinese art form, with different features, such as artificial hills, bridges, pavilions, halls, temples and lakes.



An ancient legend involving Beihai Park tells the tale that there were three magic mountains called “ Penglai”, “Yingzhou” and “Fangzhang” in the east of Bohai Bay, and supernatural beings that lived in those mountains possessed a kind of medicine that could help humans attain immortality.




As a result, many emperors tried to locate the three magic mountains, but sadly, without success. Qinshihuang, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty also failed to find out the magic mountains, so he asked his soldiers to dig a large pool and piled up three hills in the pool, thus imitating the description of the magic mountains in the legend. 



Almost every emperor during the succeeding dynasties would build a royal garden with “one pool and three hills” near his palace. So Beihai Park was built with traditional style: the water of Beihai and Zhong Nan Hai is the Taiye Pool; Qionghua Island, the Island of the Circular City and Xishantai Island represent the three magic mountains.



Beihai Park is supposedly pretty well known for its gorgeous gardens, the maze in the stone cave, temples and pavilions.I did not get the time to check out the White Dagoba or the maze in the stone cave though.


Mornings are the best time to visit Beihai Park. Beijing is amazing to explore in the mornings. There is a relaxing feel around the place and the weather is cooling.



You will see many people doing morning exercises, yoga, dancing. Some old men and even women practice with their swords. 

Actually, I was pretty amazed at how fit, nimble and active all the senior citizens were here, quite unlike those in Malaysia… ehem…. Sorry….

I saw a 70+ year old man doing  gymnastics swings as well.. and I am ashamed to admit he is even so much more fitter then I am!!!



Behai Park is not far from the Drum and Bell Towers and northwest of the Forbidden City, and across the road to the Prince Gong Mansion. All within walking distance!! 

So put on a pair of good comfortable walking shoes and take your time and explore all Beijing has to offer...

The nearest Subway Station is Zhangzizhonglu on Line 5 or Xisi on Line 4.



28 comments:

  1. ok, in my list.

    p.s suddenly i think that i want to be a fulltime traveler :D

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  2. omg, something looks different here. Your pictures are bigger! and they are beautiful. :) really shows the beauty of the place, like I'm there myself.. or maybe not. >< I want to travel too!

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    1. hehehe.... thanks Isaac for your compliments... go, go, travel... bring the wifey and the kiddies or go alone... don't let anything hold you back if you really want to do something... I leave the family sometimes... absence makes the heart fonder... it's just a few days... LOL

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  3. wow...a nice place!! i shall listed on must visit list in coming future !!

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  4. there's so many places to visit! I shall start planning from now :)

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    1. yeah... I love traveling... seeing a different place at least a couple times a year is a must... without that my life would be meaningless... huhuhu

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  5. The view is amazing, really got to plan a trip to China soon

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    1. Absolutely....China was never on my list when I was in my twenties.. huhuhu it was only when I got much older when I became more interested in the orient.. LOL

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  6. I think my mom will likes these places with historical scenes, thanks for sharing :)

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  7. wow beautiful place, need mark this place to go for holiday. I love the pics so now need save money first.

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    1. I agree,.. I am also saving my money for my next trip.... huhuhu

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  8. After reading your recent blog posts, I have had a brief guide on places to visit to plan for my China trip with my parents. I like your photos Miera. Cheers, https://siennylovesdrawing.wordpress.com

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    1. yaaayyy... thanks... I appreciate that compliments...

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  9. Wow! The place is gorgeous! You are so lucky you go to visit such a fantastic spot!

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    1. I agree.... it was certainly a fabulous spot...

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  10. It's so funny for me to see modern with traditional in many of the pictures I see of China (Ex here- the suck boats with the traditional buildings.) My sister in law taught in China for a little while and we were constantly noticing that in her pictures. I have also often thought of how fit the Chinese senior citizens are. It seems to be a large priority (that we all should probably have) in their lifestyle.

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    1. yeah... you can see combination of modern and traditional in many places in China and besides that the Chinese senior citizens do spend a lot of time exercising...

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  11. Such a beautiful place to visit. Been there last year, and the sights are always so breathtaking :)

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  12. A great historical place to visit. I like the duck boat. Interesting.

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    1. yeah... the duck boats were pretty... hehehe

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  13. really fascinating place, i love the nature of it. so blessed to have been there before ya.

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    1. yeah... once we've been there we feel blessed to have seen it...

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  14. Awh what a beautiful place Miera. Must really pay a visit sometime soon <3

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    1. yes, Shivani, should see it and admire it at least once in your life.....in my opinion...

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