Beijing starts a 72-hour visa-free stay policy for citizens of 45 countries

According to Beijing municipal authorities, Beijing will start a 72-hour visa-free stay policy for citizens of 45 countries from January 1, 2013. International travelers enjoy 72 hours transit visa policy based on the requirements of the Ministry of Public Security, in arriving at the Beijing Capital Airport, shall comply with the following conditions: 1) in line […]

According to Beijing municipal authorities, Beijing will start a 72-hour visa-free stay policy for citizens of 45 countries from January 1, 2013.

International travelers enjoy 72 hours transit visa policy based on the requirements of the Ministry of Public Security, in arriving at the Beijing Capital Airport, shall comply with the following conditions:

1) in line with the scope of the citizens of the country, including:

— European Schengen visa agreement countries (24), Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia , Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

Other European countries (7) Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine

— American States (6) United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile

Oceania countries (2), Australia, New Zealand

Asian countries (6) South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar;

2)  holding valid international travel documents to prove their nationality;

3)  in line with the conditions of entry to the country or region;

4)  held by the exit from the Beijing Capital International Airport way ticket to a third country or region, or prove within 72 hours to determine the date and seat;

5) equipped with the entry and exit of airlines reporting to the border authorities.

Beijing border audited in line with the transit visa-free conditions, will be handled in accordance with the provisions of the transit procedures.

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For more information on travel to Beijing with visa free, contact us at: info@chinatraveldepot.com, or visit http://www.chinatraveldepot.com/website/beijing-transit-tour/#?utm_source=CTD&utm_medium=home&utm_campaign=72hours

 

Being a senior in China

In my first China travel, several years ago, I went to Southern China, near Guangzhou. I didn’t imagine that I would meet that many elderly people hanging out in the streets. Since I’ve never been to Northern China, I thought that it was something typical from the South, since weather is quite warm and because […]

In my first China travel, several years ago, I went to Southern China, near Guangzhou. I didn’t imagine that I would meet that many elderly people hanging out in the streets. Since I’ve never been to Northern China, I thought that it was something typical from the South, since weather is quite warm and because it wasn’t a very big city, so seniors could enjoy the tranquility of the city with their friends. But when I came back in China few months ago, taking a flight to Beijing more precisely was quite surprised to notice the same phenomena here. Seniors are especially active in China; I think that there is a huge gap between seniors in western countries and eastern ones.

In France (where I come from), the Elderly are quite alone, I mean they spend their day at home, reading the newspaper, watching TV, going out sometimes to shop at the supermarket or at the market, and see their family members once a week. They have plenty of time but don’t have the opportunity to meet other a lot of people, or do some regular activities. I think that seniors in China are much happier than in France, they are surprisingly active. Furthermore, most of the times they live in the same place than their children with the whole family or just at the house/apartment next door, they are never very far from their children and grandchildren.

Here is a typical day of a senior in China:
They wake up quite early in the morning drink a cup of tea, have a breakfast and read the newspaper. As they’re up before the whole family they prepare the breakfast for everyone and have it together. Then, while the weather is still fresh, they go to some parks, in the streets, or just down the building to have a walk, gather with the old people in the neighborhood, do some exercise with some punchy music and dance. At midday they go back home to have lunch with the grandchildren they took at school, and then they take a nap because the weather is too hot to go out. And when they wake up they usually spend the rest of the afternoon with their friends chatting outside or play games like mahjong or cards.

Indeed when I go to the parks or when I walk out from my building I like to chat with the Elderly. They are very nice, funny and are happy to speak and meet with a foreigner. They might invite you for a cup of tea in the afternoon and eat some fruits if they like you. Or better, you can spend the afternoon playing with them at Chinese chess, mahjong or cards. I still don’t know how to play Chinese chess, but they already taught me how to play mahjong and cards. First, the rules of mahjong were quite difficult to assimilate, but after few games, I felt like I’ve been playing this game my whole life! I must confess that this is now my favorite game; it requires skill, strategy, calculation and involves a certain degree of chance. Now I can easily “Pung, Kong, Chi” with the 136 tiles.

No surprise that Chinese people are known to have the longest life in the world if they are as happy. I wish I could live like them when I grow old and spend my day taking things easy. So, next time you will see a group of seniors in a park or in the street, don’t hesitate to discuss with them even if they can’t speak English, I’m sure that you will spend a great time and live an amazing human experience. What make your China tour different from others would be the people you met and the experience you’ve shared not only the place you’ve visited.

A Brief Guide to Some Neighborhoods of Beijing

On July 10, 2012, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

Beijing is a BIG city, but a definite must if your considering any China travel. So if and when you decide to travel to Beijing, here is a quick breakdown of some of the most well-known neighborhoods and what you’ll find there. Wudaokou: This is the main university hub (Peking University, Tsinghua, Beijing Language and […]

Beijing is a BIG city, but a definite must if your considering any China travel. So if and when you decide to travel to Beijing, here is a quick breakdown of some of the most well-known neighborhoods and what you’ll find there.

Wudaokou: This is the main university hub (Peking University, Tsinghua, Beijing Language and Culture University, etc.). This is also where most foreigners go to study Chinese in Beijing. That said, the entire west side of the city is a line of universities. Wudaokou has lots of Korean and Japanese food, too, as these are actually the largest foreign student communities.

CBD/Central Business District: This is where some of the tallest and most interesting buildings in Beijing are, such as the CCTV tower and the Place (a shopping mall with a giant LCD screen). A lot of expats work in this area. Little Moscow is near Ritan Park, which is a lovely outdoor sanctuary and well worth a visit. This is a very ritzy and modern area, and if you feel like getting down on the dance floor some new popular clubs are Spark and Haze.

798 Art District: 798 is an old factory area that was taken over by underground artists as a space to work without much public interference. However, over time this area has gained a lot more attention. These days, it’s more of a government-sanctioned arts space with galleries instead of artists. It’s now developing towards a nightlife spot, as well, with more and more cafes and bars.

Shunyi: Shunyi is a suburb of Beijing. Being from the States myself, this area is reminiscent of the American Style-suburbia complete with lovely homes and an affluent atmosphere.

Workers Stadium (Gongti) and Sanlitun Area: There are a lot of restaurants and clubs around Workers Stadium, and right down the road is the famous Sanlitun area. In the last 5 years, Sanlitun has turned into something of a modern, world-class nexus of foreigners and the more fashionable Chinese living in Beijing. At its center is the Sanlitun Village shopping mall. This has lots of western brand stores, including the Apple Store. If you head through the Village mall, you’ll come to what might be called “the Sanlitun back street,” which is the place where people actually go to find some decent restaurants and some nice and some less nice clubs/bars.

Drum Tower (Gulou) Area: Gulao stretches from the Lama Temple in the east to Hou Hai Lake in the west, from the Second Ring Road in the north, to Yugong Yishan Bar in the south. This area is mostly still “Hutong” alleys, and is the hip youth, crafty, musical area of the city. Its center could be said to be Nanluoguxiang (NLGX for short), a kilometer-long alley running north-south full of shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars. It’s a great place to take a stroll and see some of the original founders of the street. Its northern entrance is on the second main artery: Gulou Dong Dajie (Drum Tower East Avenue), this area is full of spaces that seamlessly mingle food, drinking, and coffee house-atmosphere. Two of the most well-known of these would be Cafe Zarah and Alba. That said, around every corner is another little place to make your own. Drinking and eating prices in this area are generally cheaper than Sanlitun and the CBD. It’s also home to the Chinese folk-rock scene, which is a must-do.

Now that you know what Beijing’s unique neighborhoods have to offer be sure to stop by any that interest you or all of them on your own Beijing tour.

Free things to do in Beijing.

  Beijing is not one of the most expensive cities in the world but it is always nice spending one (or two) days during your stay in Beijing where you don’t have to worry about your budget, so here’s some ideas that may be useful for having fun on your Beijing trip without having to spend a […]

 

Beijing is not one of the most expensive cities in the world but it is always nice spending one (or two) days during your stay in Beijing where you don’t have to worry about your budget, so here’s some ideas that may be useful for having fun on your Beijing trip without having to spend a single coin.

1)      Visit the Tiananmen Square and its surrounding area, in the square you can visit Mao Zedong’s mausoleum where his body is preserved, the Monument to the Pepole’s Heroes and the South door, very similar to the palace in the Disney film Mulan. Near the square and next to the Forbidden City you can see the Ancient Imperial Archives with the famous Jade Book (the Imperial Genealogical register) and the Yongle Dadian and the Daqing Huidan, encyclopedias. You can also see how all the books were stored in ancient times.

2)      Walk along the Hútòngs (alleys) that have formed Beijing since 907, there are more than 2000 but only 360 have a name, in fact there is a Chinese proverb that says: “There are 360 hutong with names and as many nameless hutong as there are hairs on a cow”, There you can see the traditional ways of living in Beijing, they are all over the center of the city until the second ring.

3)      Go for a ride in a bike, if you dare to plunge into the crazy Beijing traffic there is lots of places to go by bike and, despite there is public transport to almost every part of the City, it’s always nice to have your bike because it gives you freedom to go everywhere and at the time you wish. Don’t hesitate and discover the city on two wheels!

4)      Go to the Silk Street Market (Xiu Shui) but don’t buy anything. It’s like a game, just observe how the people bargain and what are the techniques used by the sellers to try to increase the prize and what do the buyers try to reduce it. You may learn some tricks for when you want to buy your souvenirs!

5)      Look for decorative arches in the streets of Beijing, there are a lot of them, normally at the entrance of some Hútòngs, for example the one that leads to Yandai Xiejie, one of the busiest Hútòngs of the city, but there are more and each one is different!

6)      Go for a walk in the Ming Chéngqiáng Gōngyuán (The Ming dynasty wall park)

This is the only part of the Ming wall that is still on foot and it’s a good place to go, the walls are restored in some parts but in other parts you can still see the original wall, even with bullet holes. Surrounding the wall there is a nice park very suitable for having a good stroll.

 

 

 

 

These are just some ideas to make your Beijing tour more economic. Even if you are not watching your money be sure to include them in your to-do list!

 

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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 […]

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.

Beijing Normal University

On May 10, 2012, in Beijing, Modern Architecture, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

If you travel to Beijing you will certainly pass more than one university on your way and sometimes you might not even realize it. Not all universities are as big and famous as Beijing Daxue or Tsinghua University but there are lots of bigger and smaller universities in the city that are worth stopping by […]

If you travel to Beijing you will certainly pass more than one university on your way and sometimes you might not even realize it. Not all universities are as big and famous as Beijing Daxue or Tsinghua University but there are lots of bigger and smaller universities in the city that are worth stopping by for a short visit on your Beijing Tours. Even if you’re not that interested in seeing the inside of the buildings you can walk around on the campus and take the opportunity to sit down in a quiet spot and enjoy a little snack and a drink or have a look at what’s going on around you. On the weekends universities are places where not only students spend their free time but also visitors because during the day they are in general open to the public.

When you look at the main building you wouldn’t think that its history goes back over a hundred years. It was founded in 1902 as one of the earliest established institutions of higher education in the country. After several changes it was named Beijing Normal University in 1923 and it is today one of the nation’s first ten key universities, situated northwest of Beijing’s center. In contrast to its past the architecture of the university is modern rather than traditional. Especially the entrance of the main building with its particular design the fountain in front of it offers a great opportunity to take some nice pictures. When you enter the main hall you’ll find a model of Normal University which gives you an impression on how big the grounds really are. At present, BNU has 22 schools, 6 departments, 14 research institutes and a number of research centers. Currently over 16,000 full time students are enrolled including 8,000 undergraduate students and over 7,000 master’s degree and doctoral candidates.

The university’s main subjects include Chinese Language and Culture, Historical Studies, Psychology, Pedagogy, Pre-school Education and Studies of Educational Techniques. With a growing number of foreign students coming to Chinese universities BNU also offers different Chinese language programs and cooperates with numerous foreign universities. One reason why over 2,000 students from other countries are currently enrolled at BNU is China’s fast growing economy and with that the demand for Chinese speaking employees in foreign countries.

In 2011 BNU had the honor of welcoming Premier Wen Jiabao to the graduation ceremony at the university. The reason for this important visit was the first year of tuition free normal graduates. Nearly everywhere in the world education is an important element of a country’s culture and therefore it’s interesting to see some differences and common points between different universities. Many big and well-known universities are not far from the city center. For that reason you can easily stop by on your China Tours for a short visit.

Negotiating the Markets

On May 10, 2012, in Beijing, Cultural Experience, Shopping, by Jack Li

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best activities to undertake on a travel to Beijing is shopping at the cities markets. This article will only provide a taster of what is to be expected, because, in the end, it is something which must be witnessed in order to experience their extravagance. The […]

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best activities to undertake on a travel to Beijing is shopping at the cities markets. This article will only provide a taster of what is to be expected, because, in the end, it is something which must be witnessed in order to experience their extravagance. The low prices of the items at the market do make me wonder whether people will (or do) take a China travel trip just to stock up on goodies. A few markets in which to explore include the Silk market, Yaxiu (Yashow) Market and the Pearl Market.

You may have heard of the phrase, ‘Buyer Beware’; well, in the case of these markets it is probably useful to adopt this approach. Most of the marketers are highly experienced and will seek out deals with foreigners. It is somewhat amusing to see how far the venders will go to secure a deal. For example, I bought a jacket at the Yaxiu market in which the seller would pour water over the product to prove the quality. I even have friends who have bought handbags, for example, and the salesperson has swiftly used a lighter on the product to demonstrate its authenticity.

Whatever the genuineness of the brands, the markets are still great places to buy low-cost items if you need to boost your wardrobe upon arrival to Beijing. If the stuff looks and feels okay, then I guess there is no major issue in purchasing. Compared to the other two markets, the Pearl Market felt slightly more civil in the sense that there was less beckoning from sellers to buy. Due to the character of the markets, it is necessary to haggle as these do not have fixed retail prices (so it is generally advisable not to compare prices to shops in your home country). Conversely, if you try to drive the price down too low then you may offend the seller and they will walk away.

As their names suggest, the Silk Market is known for selling silk and the Pearl market for pearls and these professions standout in both markets. It is enjoyable to observe the expertise of the tailors in the silk market preparing material and the dexterity of the pearl sellers stringing together a necklace. I can vouch that the silk section of the Silk Market does have a lot of choice, especially as I was able to buy a green tie (for Saint Patrick’s Day) for under 10RMB. Electronics and gadgets can be found at all the markets, but again, the durability may be best bought on the high-street.

If you are the type of person who is a self-admitted shopaholic, then perhaps this article has encouraged you on the internet to search Beijing flights. In that case, then to reach the Silk market, Yong’anli subway station, Exit A, is the best bet. Yaxiu Market is centred in Sanlitan, so is in a prime location if you also want to shop in the area. While the Pearl Market is straight oppose the Temple of Heaven so is acts as a complement to a full day out. As a hint, to get some of the best deals, it is worth shopping close to the shops’ closing time as this is when prices are slashed.

 

 

 

 

Phoenix Hill

On May 2, 2012, in Cultural Experience, Monasteries, Nature Scenery, Temples, by Jack Li

When you come to a big city for the first time it’s great to visit the most well-known places for a first overview of the place. Beijing Tours certainly offer a great and comfortable way to include the must sees in China’s capital on a single day trip. But to see some other spots it’s […]

When you come to a big city for the first time it’s great to visit the most well-known places for a first overview of the place. Beijing Tours certainly offer a great and comfortable way to include the must sees in China’s capital on a single day trip. But to see some other spots it’s also great to go to places that are not too popular with tourists. Very often the atmosphere is totally different and locals seem to be a lot more interested and open if they are not used to crowds of foreign tourists coming every day. So if you travel to Beijing and you’re planning to see more than the main attractions you might consider spending a day away from the center.

Phoenix Hill Park (Fenghuangling) for example is a nature park about 20 kilometers northwest of Beijing and a great place to go hiking in the mountains and enjoy natural scenery. Apart from the green hills and mountains and the great view on clear days there are numerous historic spots and cultural sites of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. To explore this area there are different touring routes passing by caves, temples, pagodas and stone carvings on the way.

 

Located at the foot of Phoenix Range is Longquan Monastery which has a very long history. It was originally built in 951 A.D. but was nearly completely destroyed. Only the Golden Dragon Bridge, a single-arch stone bridge, and two one-thousand-year-old trees are remainders of this time. The buildings have been rebuilt after the original with the help of many volunteer workers. The monastery was officially reopened in 2005 and is since then not only an interesting place for visitors but first of all a center for Buddhist education and temple experience. For this reason there is still construction going on to add more space for classrooms.

On holidays you can participate in tea ceremonies and you even get the chance to try an original Buddhist lunch. It is separated by gender and talking is not allowed during the meals. The food is rather simple and strictly vegetarian. Although the free lunch is thought to be for Buddhists visiting the monastery even tourists who come to the area for a hike won’t be excluded from the meals.

To get a closer insight into Buddhism the monastery organizes different multilingual activities, sometimes lasting several days. These assemblies and sessions offer an opportunity to experience Buddhist life including chanting sutras, meditation training, life in the monastery, worshipping Buddha on a mountain road and others. These gatherings bring people together and lead to a spiritual journey.

If you want to go there by public transportation you can take bus no. 346 from Summer Palace with destination to Phoenix Hill (Fenghuangling) which takes about an hour. If you stay at a Beijing Hotel you can certainly ask the staff at the reception desk for directions. They might even be so nice as to write you a note in Chinese as a little help. But in general Chinese people are very helpful and even if they don’t speak English they will try their best to help you find your way.

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‘Sounds Peachy!’

On April 26, 2012, in Festivals, Nature Scenery, Tours, by Jack Li

If you are going to travel to Beijing around springtime, why not stop-off at Pinggu. Not to be fooled with the conventional botanical garden shows, the Pinggu Peach Flowers Festival is an annual springtime event which allows people to admire the blossoming local peach trees. This is an extremely popular event that spans a few […]

If you are going to travel to Beijing around springtime, why not stop-off at Pinggu. Not to be fooled with the conventional botanical garden shows, the Pinggu Peach Flowers Festival is an annual springtime event which allows people to admire the blossoming local peach trees. This is an extremely popular event that spans a few weekends in the month of April. Well-known for its peaches, Pinggu village sits in the biggest fruit-growing zone of the Beijing area. Travelling to the village takes approximately two hours from Beijing. What makes Pinngu a handy location is that it is en route to Laoxiangfeng on the 918 bus, so travellers can always combine the two in the same day. If you prefer not to travel independently, China tours can provide useful services concerning this matter.

The festival is a laidback affair with people of all ages enjoying themselves; making it an excellent place to bring the family. Across the road from the peach trees, there are some stalls where you can buy local farm produce and also where the toilets are situated. Interestingly, the festival has gained recognition throughout the community with the local television channel, BTV, hosting range of acts through the proceedings. ‘Community’ is certainly a key word because at the festival this is where you will discover the real warmth of northern hospitality. Indeed, from a foreigner’s viewpoint, visiting the festival gives a chance to really engage with local life with all its similarities and contrasts to your own homeland. Along one of the lanes which intersect through the peach-tree field, you can find a number of stalls which sell, make and cook various products. A couple of venders, in particular, create some unbelievably life-like bugs (such as butterflies and crickets) out of reeds which are a must-see. In any case, with lots of fairground-style games, the Pinggu Festival is again a great place to have a fun day out with friends and family alike.

Transportation costs notwithstanding, the visit to the festival can be relatively cost-effective when there. You do not need to purchase anything, for example, plus you can just wander around and admire the wonderful flowery setting which has an outstanding mountainous backdrop. Unfortunately, you may not be able to eat any fresh peaches picked from the local field as the peach harvest occurs towards August/September time. The fields have, nevertheless, a typically Chinese appearance with working stilted-huts dotted throughout. In addition to the peach trees, the fields also comprise of other crops such as onions which in itself demonstrates the resourcefulness of the sector which feeds the nation as a whole. After visiting the festival, it does feel somewhat of a treat to see rural life in China as opposed to the everyday city existence. Subsequently, it is highly recommended that if booking China flights in the near future, to contemplate what else the country offers besides the more famous touristic highlights.

 

 

 

A Visit to Jade Lake Park

On April 25, 2012, in Beijing, Festivals, Parks & Gardens, by Jack Li

When you travel to Beijing, you will see that there are lots of parks offering locals and tourists enough opportunity for some outdoor activity, a walk around a lake, family time and a nice scenery to take pictures. If you want to learn about the country and culture you can get a lot of information […]

When you travel to Beijing, you will see that there are lots of parks offering locals and tourists enough opportunity for some outdoor activity, a walk around a lake, family time and a nice scenery to take pictures. If you want to learn about the country and culture you can get a lot of information on organized China tours where you can rely on the tour guide’s knowledge. For the less informative but more relaxing part of your holiday you might take the opportunity to visit Beijings parks. There are many parks with their own atmosphere, so they are not just all the same.

Yuyuantan Park (Jade Lake Park) is situated in the western part of Beijing and is surrounded by other places of interest such as the CCTV Tower west of the park or the Millennium Monument and the Military Museum close to the south entrance. Two man-made lakes build the center of this municipal park which is a great place to visit especially in spring time during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival starting towards the end of March. There are more than 2000 cherry trees mainly in the north western area of the park. Apart from the different types of cherry trees offering great scenery for pictures you will also find many other types of trees, including bonsais, and also rare stones in the park.

There are several entrance gates; the general admission fee is 10 RMB, half price for students. The park opens between 6:00 and 6:30 am and closes between 20:30 and 22:30 pm, depending on the season, and the last admission is at least an hour before closing time. It might seem annoying that you have to pay money to enter a regular municipal park but this guarantees that the park it very well cared for and it’s also less crowded than some parks where there is no entrance fee.

Around the lakes and most of all around the entrance gates you will find lots of stands to buy souvenirs, things for kids and adults, dried fruit and other snacks. And you will also pass several food areas where you can get all different kinds of warm and cold meals with tables to sit down to enjoy your meal. You can try out things like grilled scorpions which aren’t really typical for this area but still an experience for visitors. There is also a big variety of sweet treats from different countries, like ice-cream, churros, crêpes, sugar cane juice, cotton candy or fried durian fruit.

Currently the eastern lake is drained for construction but that doesn’t affect any of the other activities going on in the park, like for example photography contests or auctions of pictures. Of course, more people stay in the western half of the park because of the better view on the lake. There you can rent boats, have a picnic, do some outdoor activities, just go for a walk and enjoy the great view. Many Beijing hotels are in the vicinity of the big parks offering some nature just around the corner.

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