Attraction Haidian District, Beijing, China Published on: 08-08-2016
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Why Fragrant Hills Park (Xiangshan Gongyuan) is special ?
The Fragrant Hills Park (Xiangshan Park) means the fragrant park in Chinese; it is a historical royal park full of natural and cultural attractions. Emperor Qianlong (one great emperor in Qing dynasty) built the Jingyi Yuan (Jingyi Park or Quiet and agreeable park in Chinese) where the famous 28 attractions existed. Jingyi Yuan was built in Xiangshan Park and it is one of the 'Three Hills and Five Gardens of Beijing'.
The park was named the fragrant one due to two reasons: 1. The stalactite on the top of the hill looks like a censer, so it is called Xianglushan (in Chinese, censer means Xianglu, and the smell of fragrant things means Xiang.) 2. The smell of the apricot blossom makes the hill fragrant.
The western suburban district of Beijing is regarded as the backyard garden of the great metropolis while the Beijing Xiangshan Park is the oxygen bar and green valley. The park forest of plants, the percentage of forest cover there exceeds 96% with over 5800 valuable trees and other natural resources like mountains, springs, and red autumnal leaves.
What to explore at Fragrant Hills Park (Xiangshan Gongyuan)?
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall: The hall was a temple and had its own name before Sun's death in 1925, Mr. Sun Yat-sen died on Mar. 12th, 1925 and his coffin was once send to this temple before being transferred to Nanjing (where the Kuomintang regime and government was built), people grieved over Sun's death at the temple and renamed the temple as the memorial hall for Sun Yat-sen.
Zhisong Park (means the place to understand pine trees, 知松园): It is located in the west of the main visiting artery, over 100 ancient pine trees are living there.
Shuangqing Bieshu (means a villa with two clean springs, 双清别墅): It is a quiet courtyard built in 1917 due to the flood in Heibei province (Beijing is a municipality directly under the Central Government but located in Heibei province), Chairman Mao once lived here before moving to Zhongnanhai (where the Chinese VIP works).
Other attractions include the Zhao Temple, Glasses Lake, Biyun Temple (green cloud temple), pavilions and palaces.
How to get to Fragrant Hills Park (Xiangshan Gongyuan)?
- By bus: Take the No. 698, 714, 630, Special line 5, 360, 318, 331, 854, 505, 634, 696 and get off at Xiangshan stop.
- By subway: Take the No. 2 ring line and get off at Xizhimen (西直门), then take the No. 360 bus and get to Xiangshan Park.
- By taxi: The cost is about RMB60 yuan, the transportation of Beijing is complex so don't get fooled by the taxi driver.
- Nice park with great autumn colors
- Great hike overlooking the capital
- Fantastic views!
- Night views of Beijing skyline
- Beautiful park up a mountain!
Haidian District, Beijing, China
Tips for you
Fragrant hills park. Perfect escape from the city with great views! From beijing city, I took line 4 until it ended. From there, I showed the taxi driver in Chinese where I wanted to go. The taxi was less than 30 quai and took about 20 min. I was dropped off at a narrow road where I then had to walk a few km to the park entrance. Since I don't speak any Chinese, I followed the touristy looking areas (the narrow street full of souvenirs). Once I arrived at the park, I walked around enjoying all of the beauty. I decided to hike up the 1900m peak Instead of taking the chair lift because its not enclosed so I would have froze to death on the long journey up (it was mid November and there was a little snow in shady areas). The hike is clearly marked with stairs that are in good condition. There are even small red numbers along the edge every so often that indicated your altitude (or maybe it was distance left to the top, I can remember now). Along the way, there were some people selling small souvenirs which gave me an excuse to slow down and look at their goods; I tend to walk very quickly. I believe the hike up and down (with sightseeing) took me 90min but it would take the average person a lot longer. There are a lot of negative reviews on here about this park which I completely disagree with. People complained about the Chinese spitting everywhere and with all of the pollution they inhale everyday of their life, I can understand why. Also, there was not that much trash everywhere. It is someone's job to clean up the trash and it seems like they throw down the trash knowing it will be cleaned up. As for lack of leaf color, that's just natures way of coping with not enough rain to create colorful hues. The park is well worth the trip. The view at the top wonderful and I really enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere. I even bought a prayer flag and tied it to a tree. The only suggestion I have to give is: take a picture of the train station that you wish to return to (or have it written in Chinese) so that your return taxi ride goes smoothly.
This park is best visited in October when the autumn colors appear, the road to the east entrance is very narrow and crowded, but from the east gate you have the best walk, first go up to the top of the hill by cable car and walk down the hill in about one and a half hour, bring your camera to capture great pictures!
Next hill to Beijing, you get a good impression of the area. If you want you can walk up the hill but there are a lot of stairs. I redo ant the cable car and do exercise on other places ;-). It was on march so the nature was still sleeping. It must be wonderful in autumn.