Fall is the season of choice for many in Beijing. There’s so much to see and do before the winter cold confines most people indoors. In recent days, the air quality index (AQI) recordings have been high, which has resulted in many people limiting their time outdoors. Also, Beijing is expected to experience it’s coldest winter according to a report by the Beijinger.
Before we hit mid-November, when the leaves become dry or completely fall down, one must visit these 13 spots to snap family photos with beautiful, scenic views for your Beijing memory photo album book. This is part one, check out part two tomorrow. These locations are both close to and far from the city, thus providing more options for magnificent views:
Peking and Tsinghua University Campuses
These two universities might fight for bragging rights on which is the best in the middle kingdom but one commonality they share is that both are quiet locations where families can head over to see the fall foliage on the weekends (weekdays are busier due to class).
Peking University (Beida) 北京大学
Free. 8am-9pm. 5 Yiheyuan Lu, Haidian District (6275 1230/1) www.pku.edu.cn 海淀区颐和园路5号
Tsinghua University 清华大学
Free. 8am-9am. Chengfu Lu, Haidian District (6278 9437, 8286 3785) www.tsinghua.edu.cn 海淀区成府路
Fragrant Hills Park (香山公园)
The annual Fragrant Hills Red Leaves Festival is best visited mid-week or early in the day to avoid the crowds. This festival is a tourist magnet that’s best avoided during the weekend or peak times. Years ago, the government planted maple tress that blanket the area with the warm colors of red, orange, and gold. Pick the leaves and head home to do some crafts. If you have time then check out Jingcui Lake, Heshun Gate, Fragrant Hill Temple, and Yuhua Villa.
RMB 5 (Nov 1 to Mar 31), RMB 10 (Apr 1 to Oct 31). Daily 6am-6.30pm. 40 Maimaijie, Haidian District, Beijing (6259 1155) www.xiangshanpark.com 北京市海淀区买卖街40号
Ditan Park 地坛公园
This well known Temple Fair location is a hidden gem of golden leaves because of the many ginkgo trees. The park has spacious paths, which are aligned with trees big enough to push a stroller and snap some really nice family photos. The area is an entertaining section for kids. To make a day out of it, head over to Gulou area to see the hutong shops and restaurants.
RMB 2, RMB 1 (students). Daily 6am-9pm. A2 Andingmenwai Dajie, Dongcheng District (6421 4657) www.dtpark.com 东城区安定门外大街甲2号
Yuyuantan Park 玉渊潭公园
The park boasts nearly 1,000 ginkgo trees that blanket the area with stunning golds and yellows. This area is rich in history as it was a favorite spot for the royals and now hosts heads of states and other high level foreign dignitaries at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. Local families like the two play areas within the park. Head to the Military Museum after visiting the park.
RMB 2, RMB 1 (students). Daily 6am-9.30pm (summer), daily 6.30am-7pm (winter). 10 Xisanhuan Zhonglu, Haidian District (8865 3800) www.yytpark.com 海淀区西三环中路10号
Jinhai Lake 金海湖水上公园
The area claims to be home to Asia’s largest peach orchard. Jinghai Lake is located two hours from the CBD and surrounded by lush hills that have pavilions, caves, rock formations and a good hiking trail, fishing spot, and adventurous activities such as kayaking. The paths are lined with trees and you can see the different leaves discoloration. This area is a hot favorite for the native Beijing ren.
RMB 28 for adults, RMB 14 for students, PLA officers, and seniors over the age of 60, free for journalists and retirees. Daily 8am-5.30pm. Haizi Reservoir, Pinggu District (6999 1356/3943) 平谷区海子水库
Badachu Park 八大处公园 (also known as Eight Great Temples)
Badachu is well known for its eight ancient temples and is also known as Eight Great Temples. The park is located two hours in the mountain area south of the Xishan scenic spot. Since it’s renovation this tourist hot spot is popular with tour company’s during the seasonal changes with the leaves changing in fall and cherry blossoms in spring. The hiking trail has shrines and temples and a cable car (RMB 60) is available if the family is too tired.
RMB 10. Daily 6am-7pm (summer), 6am-6pm (winter). Badachu Lu,Shijingshan District (8896 4661) www.badachu.com.cn 石景山区八大处路