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