During your trip to Beijing you will probably see tall buildings, cars and lots of people everywhere, but in the middle of Beijing’s busy city life there are a large number of calm parks that you can’t miss in your Beijing tour.

The most astonishing of the Beijing parks is the park that contains the Temple of Heaven. Leaving the magnificent buildings aside (although don’t leave without visiting them) the actual park is an essential place of meeting for the inhabitants of the city and if you have the opportunity to go before seven in the morning (it opens at six) you will see a lot of people doing Tai-chi, dancing or getting prepared for the day ahead surrounded by majestic cypresses.

The second park that is worth seeing is the Beihai Park, mostly occupied by a big lake where you can rent a boat and explore it or simply walk by its shore until you reach a good place to have a beer, you can also visit the buildings that are scattered in the park. As it was originally created as a retreat park for the emperors of the Yuan empire, everything is very luxurious, but not all you can find there is ancient or imperial, this park is also famous for the calligraphists that write in the stones with big brushes soaked with water, which makes it a very  ephemeral show as they evaporate very quickly.

The Fragrant Hills, a park situated near the Summer Palace, is a very nice place, very famous in autumn for its astonishing colors and it is formed by hills it’s a very good place to go for a nice walk, surrounded by nature and beautiful buildings, going to the top of the Xiānglú Fēng (Incense Peak) is a nice experience, because you can discover why the park is called like this, the two stones in the shape of incense burners.

Another park you can visit if you wish to find nature among the city is the Jingshan Park; this park is very peculiar because of its formation. Known by the occidentals as the “Coal Hill” it is an artificial hill, made of the discarded earth from the construction of the moat of the Forbidden City. It’s believed that that artificial hill protects the Forbidden City from the demons and bad spirits (also, the dust storms) it’s a very good place to go sightseeing and its worth going at the top just for the vision that it gives of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen.

These are not the only parks you can find in Beijing. Considering the population and the density of the city, it is surprising the number of parks that you can find, there are big ones, like the Beihai or the Zoo, and smaller ones, so small that they barely occupy an isle of houses.

If you travel to china you will see a lot of astonishing and unexpected things but one of the most pleasant ones will surely be the parks of Beijing.

Jack Li
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