No trip to Beijing should be complete until you’ve viewed the immense Forbidden City from above- and the place to do that is at Jingshan Park. We happened to visit on day 9 of our trip… our last day, so we ended it as any busy trip should- with a lazy Sunday morning stroll through a park.
Possibly the best kept secret of Chinese tourism, I hadn’t even heard of this park until we arrived in Beijing and our Great Wall tour guide mentioned it to us. Luckily our hotel was an easy 5 minute walk from the East gate of the park which is right where you can find an entrance to the park.
View of the park hill from our hotel breakfast
It costs a couple of coins ( I suspect to keep beggars and homeless out) and is well worth the visit. We bought our tickets easily at the windows by the gate and headed in. The major draw of this park are the pavilions at the top of the hill, from which you have a sprawling expansive view of the Forbidden city. As we started our trek up a hill we passed a choir singing traditional music which we heard almost the rest of the way up.
At the top there were a few photographers setup with props you could pose with for a fee, and several others milling about but on this particular Sunday morning at 10, it wasn’t crowded at all. We snapped a few photos from the top pavilion where we got the best view of the Forbidden city in all its symmetrical and colorful glory. But it’s also to note how cool all the other directions are to see. You can see the temples to the North, West, and East, as well as city sky scrapers a little further out. It was peaceful up here among the small temples with views of ancient and modern combined in one.
View to the West with the city in the distance
Temples to the North of the park
But my favorite view is still of the Forbidden City
We headed down the hill to the West side of the park thinking we’d make a circle. At the bottom we passed a group of seniors perfecting the art of the Chinese yoyo, called a Diabolo which is a single or double string that the performer uses a stick in each hand to manipulate. The movement is like a dance and the performers were more graceful than I think I could ever be. The coolest part for me was the sound that comes from the Diabolo… the combination of sound and grace were mesmerizing and Braden had to practically drag me away from the group.
Luckily as we walked we passed another group of seniors dancing in a square with a boombox playing more traditional music and it seemed that no matter how far we walked, we were surrounded by music. The park has so many paths and gardens intertwining that you could wander it for hours, especially on a sleepy Sunday morning when families young and old wandered hand in hand.
As we continued back toward the East gate to exit where we entered, we passed a historic marker of memorial plaques and the tree planted on the spot where the Emperor Chongzhen hung himself rather than suffer the humiliation of surrendering to an insurrectional army in 1644. While a little grim it was interesting to read about and see a little known piece of history.
We spent about 2 hours wandering around before we headed back to our hotel to pack our bags and prepare for the long day of travel ahead of us.
It took almost an hour to get to the airport and was a struggle finding the right check in counter so I’m glad we had a relaxing peaceful morning before a long series of flights home.
That’s it! It was a wild ride but I hope my posts help you travel to China!
Day 9 costs: Breakfast included in hotel stay Jingshan Park entry: $0.58 Train to airport $8.16 Lunch at airport $19 Day 9 Total: $27.74
Total costs in country: $2,220 for 2 people
Overhead Costs: Plane tickets: $860 Visa Cost: $490 Dog Sitter: $120 Phone Bill: $100