Zizhuyuan Park

On May 23, 2012, in Beijing, Nature Scenery, Parks & Gardens, by Jack Li

One very special spot in amongst the busy roads of northwest Beijing is the Zizhuyuan Park (also referred to as ‘purple’ or ‘black’ bamboo park). It is easy to spend a good few hours in this beautiful location enjoying getting lost between its labyrinths of paths which weave in-between the bamboo shoots before heading back with peace-of-mind to one of the splendid China hotels in the area. Rated as an AAAA tourist attraction means that Zizhuyuan Park is a definite must-see for anyone who decides to travel to Beijing.

Depending on which gate you use to enter the park, depends on the subway station you get off at. Either the National Library station or the Beijing Zoo (although the latter is about a good 15 minute walk from the station) is probably the most convenient means to reach the park. On entrance to the park you will notice that there are no shortcomings on the scenic front, with approximately 50 species of bamboo inhabiting the park and three lakes crossing the 48 hectares of parkland.

As suggested earlier, the park is a welcomed retreat from the fast-paced roads surrounding it. If anything, Zizhuyuan feels like it possesses its own aura with even the normally urban-dwelling pigeons appearing as if they are gossiping casually whilst amassed on the branches dangling over the placid lake. Head towards the lakes and you may well find a few mandarin ducks with mother duck directing her brood. From here, you can sit and watch the tranquil waters as time goes by.

Spanning from the lakes are the various bamboo gardens which skirt through the park whereby you will have the pleasure of reading the tongue-twisting names of bamboo species such as ‘phyllostachys propinqua’ and ‘phyllostachys bambusoides’. A particularly magical section of the park is Yunshi Garden which includes some enchanting spots such as the waterfall at Qinglianyanxiu (Bright Scene of Refreshing Elegance) and the springs of Jiangnanzhuyun (Graceful Bamboos). No trip to this park is, of course, not complete without visiting Banzhu Lane (Lane of Mottled Bamboos). Indeed, the ‘purple’ mottles of the bamboo is where the park gets its name from. The legend states that these mottles represent the tearstains of the sage-king Yao’s daughters, Ehuang and Nuying. Interpretive sculptures of the daughters are an eye-catching sight in the park. The mottled lane is clearly popular insomuch as the odd tent could be seen camouflaged in its foliage.  

Note that this park has more than bamboo – although bamboo is wonderful in its own right. Indeed, Zizhuyuan plays host to a classy store called Royal Bamboo, has a small amusement park, the usual outdoor gym, Mingyuange Teahouse and Zhuyun Restaurant and a Henhuadu (Lotus Ferry Crossing). Youxianshanguan’s (Friendship Garden) name is made evident here after seeing the enthusiastic chess players and marvellous chess-piece sculptures uniting in games of goodwill. Thus the park is multi-faceted and attracts visitors throughout the day (or night as the case may be) and is a welcomed break on any China travel tour.

Jack Li

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