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Beihai Park, Beijing

Beihai ParkBeihai Park, a beautiful Beijing attraction

Beihai Park in the center of Beijing has an area of more than 70 hectares (170 acres) with a water surface of 39 hectares (96 acres). You can visit the park to appreciate ancient Chinese temples, palaces, and other historic structures. Also, you can learn about this former imperial garden.

  • Top activities: have a walk or boat ride to admire the imperial architecture, views, and fish in the lotus garden pond.
  • Average visit duration: 2–3 hours
  • Suited to: everyone

Beihai Park History

  • The imperial court of the Liao Dynasty (907–1125) had a temporary palace on the site of Beihai Park in the 10th century.
  • During the following Jin Dynasty (1115–1234), a lake was dug. The excavated earth was piled to make an island. Around the lake and on the hill, palatial halls, collonades, and pavilions were erected.
  • The imperial court of the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368) expanded Jionghua Islet in the lake and made it the center of its capital Dadu City.
  • During the Ming Dynasty, five pavilions linked with zigzag bridges were built in the northwestern part of the lake.
  • During the Qing Dynasty reign of Emperor Qian Long (1736-1796), a large-scale project was carried on over 30 years, making the palace a grand imperial garden.

Beihai Park is now composed of Tuancheng (Circular City), Eastern Shore Scenic Area, and Northwestern Shore Scenic Area with Jionghua Islet as the center. The small island is connected with other parts by a stone bridge and ferry boats.

4 Must-Sees in Beihai Park

1. Nine Dragon Screen Wall

Nine Dragon Wall, Beihai Park, BeijingNine Dragon Wall

The Nine Dragon Screen Wall was built in the mid 17th century by ancient craftsmen. It is a massive wall that is 6.6 meters (21½ feet) high, 1.4 meters (4½ feet) thick, and 27 meters (92 feet) long. The wall is decorated with both huge and small dragon figures on both sides.

Tourists and locals visit this attraction to appreciate ancient Chinese arts and culture. Note that the attraction is often crowded during the weekends. So, choose an ideal time to visit, preferably on weekdays.

2. Great White Pagoda

The Great White Pagoda, built in the late 15th century, is an ancient stupa and one of the thousand Tibetan Buddhist temples in China. White Pagoda stands 34 meters (145 feet) high, and it houses Buddhist sculptures and the monk's mantle. You can also see 250 small bells at the canopy.

Since the pagoda is the highest point in the park, you will have a full view of the entire park. The entrance fee is 10 yuan or 20 yuan per person.

3. Circular City

The city wall is about 5 meters (16 feet) high and has a circumference of approximately 270 meters (900 feet). The Circular City is located at the southwestern gate of Beihai Park. There are halls, towers, and pavilions in this mini "city" that hold the white jade Buddha statue.

Tourists find the Circular City an exciting place to see unique exhibitions of water plants. It is a center of rich history and diverse Chinese culture.

4. Five Dragon Pavilions

Five Dragon Pavilions, Beihai Park, BeijingA throne in one of the five Dragon Pavilions

The Five Dragon Pavilions lie southwest of the nine dragon screen. These pavilions are well-connected by zigzag bridges. The central pavilion is the largest of the five collections.

You will see many ancient carvings and paintings on the pillars of the pavillions (since it is an ancient architecture built in the 16th Century). This location is ideal for people looking to relax, enjoy, and appreciate the parks' natural beauty.

The components include Yongrui Pavilion, Fukui Pavilion, Longze Pavilion in the middle, Zixiang Pavilion, and Chengxiang Pavilion.

How to Get to Beihai Park

To its north is Shichahai Lake and to its east is Jingshan Park. The Forbidden City is to its southeast. 

  • Subway Line 6 takes you to Beihai Bei Station. Exit there for the north gate of the park. You could change from Line 4 to Line 6 at Ping'anli (平安里) or walk 1 km east from there.
  • Chinese for taxis: 北海公园 (Beihai Gongyuan)

Best Times to Visit

You can visit Beihai Park in any season. It attracts visitors year-round. The average time for a visit is 2 hours.

Open times: high season (Apr 1 - Oct 31): 7:30 am - 8:30 pm; low season (Nov 1 - Mar 31): 7:30 am - 7:30 pm

Beihai Park Entry Tickets

  • High season ticket prices: Adult Combo Ticket 20 yuan, Admission Ticket 10 yuan, Child (age 6-18) Combo Ticket 12 yuan
  • Low season ticket prices: Adult Combo Ticket 15 yuan, Admission Ticket 5 yuan, Child (age 6-18) Combo Ticket 8 yuan

Recommended Tour: Daytime/Evening Boat Tour on the Houhai Lakes

Houhai LakeHouhai

Head to River Romance Dock for a one-hour boat tour on the Houhai Lakes, just outside the north gate of Beihai Park. The boats are in traditional Chinese style and are paddled by skilled boatmen. The boat is paddled on Shichahai Lake from Lotus Market by Qianhai Lake to Yinding Bridge and back.

Enjoy the Chinese folk music pipa (a wind instrument) performance and have some tea and local snacks on the boat. This is a great chance to relax and enjoy Chinese culture while watching the daily life of the local people on the lakeside.

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Price: USD 77 (combined with a tour package)

After an afternoon visit to the Houhai Lakes, you can its bar streets. A lot of visitors frequent the Houhai bar streets in the evenings. Read more on Beijing's Top 20 Bars for Foreigners.

Touring Beihai Park with China Highlights

Tian'anmen SquareEnjoy Beijing your way with us.

To help you tour Beijing and enjoy what the city has to offer, we have tour plans that can be customized to include Beihai Park:

Nearby Attractions

Nanluogu LaneMany people enjoy visiting Nanluogu Lane when they are in the Beihai Park area.
  • The Forbidden City is considered China's best-preserved royal palace and it is among the most massive ancient structures in the world.
  • Jingshan Park (Jingshan Gongyuan) is a public park with excellent hilltop views facing the north of Forbidden City and the west of Beihai Park. It is beautifully landscaped with ancient-style buildings.
  • The Houhai area north of Beihai Park offers ancient hutongs, bar streets, more lakes, cafes, and Western restaurants.