The fact so many of Beijing's natural tourist destinations are located in its suburbs has given birth to a new kind of tourist phenomenon folk custom tourist villages. These villages started off providing food and lodging for tourists visiting nearby scenic spots. But visitors soon realized that the experience of staying in these villages was an experience in itself.
In 2003, the Beijing Tourism Bureau started to promote tourist villages as part of the capital's tourist industry. In 2005, it released a list of 40 of these villages along with the names and contact details of those villages ready to receive tourists.
Now, visitors get not only the chance to live with local people, but also to taste locally produced food, pick fruit from their orchards, and enjoy traditional dance and singing performances.
With spring in the air it is not long before Beijing's countryside really comes to life, with trees turning green and wild flowers starting to bloom. If you want the chance to get to know local people, this is it.
Below, we list 10 of the most scenic villages in Beijing.
This village in Chaoyang District is 8 kilometers from the city center, on the eastern extension of Chang'an Avenue. The village provides a destination for tours, sightseeing, food, lodging, shopping, as well as performance and entertainment.
At 2.7 square kilometers from the city center, this village is one of the easiest to get to, and it has a history of more than 1,000 years. Five of the village's highlights are the Beijing-Tianjin ancient dock, traditional Chinese furniture street, Chinese folk cultural garden, international folk custom reception area, and an opera theater.
The dock was built in 1291, a place where officials and cargo would dock after arriving from South China via the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. The furniture street is 1,500 meters long, with 300 shops selling Ming and Qing dynasty-style furniture, as well as genuine antiques, jade, and carvings. The cultural garden has a display of the works of national-level handicraft masters, as well as nearly 100 shops selling ancient style furniture, antiques, calligraphy, paintings and jade.
The international folk custom reception area is open to tourists who want to live at villagers' homes and experience the life of ordinary Chinese villagers. The Yunhecun opera theater can accommodate 300 people and stages regular shows including classic dance, operas, kungfu and acrobat performances.
To get there: 928, 742, 728, 363, 725, 312, Gaobeidian station, or city metro Batong line to Gaobeidian station. 8575-5556.
This village in Mentougou Village is known for its well preserved 689 Ming and Qing dynasty-style houses owned by 76 families. These houses are built on the side of a hill, surrounded by mountains and forests. Steep stairs and lanes paved with rocks are simple and unadorned. The village was rated as a village of great tourist value and has been placed under national level cultural relics protection. It is a great place to take photos. Almost every family at the village now receives tourists.
The village is also near spots like Shuanglong Gorge, with its rivers and falls, the Pearl Lake and the Longmenjian grand canyon.
To get there: take bus 929 from Pingguoyuan subway station to Cuandixia village. Drive: Fushi LuMentougou Shuangyu traffic isle109 National RoadCuandixia. 6981-9333.
Located just to the north of the beautiful Jinhaihu Lake, this village in Pinggu District is named after the "general's barrier," the only part of the Great Wall built with rocks in Beijing. It is the eastern furthest part of the Great Wall in Beijing, built 600 years ago during the Ming Dynasty. As well as the part of the Great Wall, there is a former ancient village, a gold mine, mountains, gorges, a river and a lake. Cherry picking is available from May to July.
To get there: take bus 918 at the Dongzhimen bus stop to arrive at the terminal in Pinggu , and change to bus No 9.
This village at Badaling Township, Yanqing County, 1.5 kilometers from Badaling Great Wall, is the former site of a Ming Dynasty military camp 450 years ago. The ancient city has a great number of Ming and Qing dynasty cultural relics, and is under Beijing city-level cultural protection. The central street is built from granite slate, and the town's god temple, Temple of Guan Yu, ancient post house and courtyard houses are currently being renovated. The village turns a beautiful shade of red in the autumn when the leaves change.
To get there: take 919 at Deshengmen to arrive at Badaling . 6912-1460.
This village in Haidian District is at the southern part of Fenghuangling (Phoenix Mountain Range), within the western hills of Beijing. As well as the mountains, there is a stone Buddha which dates back to the Northern Wei Dynasty, the Cave of Lu Zu, Temple of Guan Yu and a diamond stone pagoda. There are plenty of local foods to try, including red trout, corn cake with vegetable stuffing, and free range duck and chicken. The local fruit orchard produces peaches, cherries, apricots, grapes, apples, Chinese dates and chestnuts. Apricot flowers are about to bloom, and the area is home to hundreds of thousands of apricot trees.
To get there: take bus 346 from the Summer Palace and get off at the west of Niegezhuang , Fenghuangling . Or take the train from Xizhimen or Beijing Railway Station and get off at Fenghuangling. Or drive on Badaling Expressway and off at Bei'anhe exit , turn left at Xinzhuangqiao , head west on Beiqing Lu , pass Niegezhuang Village and go north. 6240-5084.
This village at Changling Township, Changping District, is located 4 kilometers northwest of the Ming Tombs, and close to the Duijiuyu natural beauty spot to the west. It is encircled by mountains and the air is fresh. There will be plenty of wild flowers in the spring as well as some fantastic mountain views. There are fishing ponds, bonfire parties, fruit picking, and village foods.
To get there: take bus 345 at Deshengmen, get off at Changping Nandajie , change to bus No 5 to get to Mayufang Village, or drive on Jingchang Expressway to get out at exit 13C (13C), and go further north for another 30 minutes. 8972-1728.
This village in Yanqing County is located at the southeast corner of Badaling Township, close to Badaling Expressway's exit to the water pass of Badaling Great Wall . There is an architect's corridor, Chinese railway technician Zhan Tianyou's tomb, and more than 10 famous scenic spots.
To get there: take bus 919 at Deshengmen to reach the Yingchengzi exit of the Badaling Expressway , turn right and go for 500 meters. 8118-1475.
Located at the northwest of Jiuduhe Township of Huairou District, this village is close to Huanghuacheng Great Wall. There is Haominghu Lake, mountains, and a part of the Great Wall that is underwater, as well as a big orchard of ancient chestnut trees planted during the Ming Dynasty.
To get there: take bus 916 at Dongzhimen, get off at Huairou International Convention Center , change to minibus to get to Xishuiyu. 6165-1277.
This village is located at Gubeikou Township, Miyun County. The Panlongshan part of the Great Wall is known to be well preserved. Another part of Great Wall inside the village is the oldest part of the Wall from the Northern Qi Dynasty.
To get there: Jingcheng Expressway 101 national road (101)Gubeikou Township Feishui exit , head west, reach the crossroads, turn south. 8105-1291.
The village at Liulimiao Township, Huairou District is located at the foot of Yunmeng Mountain of the Yanshan Mountain Range. With a river passing it and mountains encircling it, the village has large patches of crops and river banks of sand. Wild flowers bloom. The closest natural scenery is the Longtanjian natural scenic area. Here, visitors can fish, ride horses, drift on the river and pick fruit.
To get there: take bus 916 at Dongzhimen to get to Huairou bus station , change to minibus to get to Liulimiao Township , change bus to arrive at the village, or drive from Dongzhimen via Jingshun Lu and go on to 111 national road (111). 6161-8483.
News Source: China Daily