It’s a little hard for a family to get out of Beijing when you have limited time or money, don’t speak Chinese well, or don’t drive. Some parents asked beijingkids if we have any suggestions for a cool trip outside Beijing within a couple of hours by train or bus, for a couple of days with the family. As we’ve blogged before, Tianjin, Beidaihe, camping, or hiking in Beijing could be a good choice. This time, we’ve put together a list of ancient villages, temples, and lakes in the rural areas of several Beijing districts for fresh air and family-friendly fun.
Cuandixia, also spelled Chuandixia, is a historic village dating back to the Ming dynasty in Beijing. It is a popular tourist attraction known for its well-preserved courtyard homes. Family can enjoy a relaxing weekend there in peace. Roast lamb is the most popular cuisine in this ancient town.
Mon-Sun 7am-6.30pm. RMB 35 per person. Cuanbai Scenic Area, Zhaitang Town, Mentougou District. 北京市门头沟区斋堂镇爨柏景区 (6981 8988, email@example.com)
Lingshui Village 灵水村
The village is quite close to Cuandixia, which has become a more touristy place over the last few years. It is still authentic and not very commercial, and you can even stay the night in one of the villager’s homes if you ask them nicely, and for a much cheaper price than Cuandixia.
Mon-Sun 7 am-6.30 pm. RMB 20 per person. 100 meters west of No. 702 Xiangdaocun Road, Yanyi Town, Mentougou District. 北京市门头沟区雁翅镇702乡道西100米 (6981 2890)
Sanyu Village, 桑峪村
Sanyu Village started off as a Catholic village. Before the Ming Dynasty, Sangyu Village was called “Three Meetings” (sān yù, 三遇). Later on due to the dense mulberry forests surrounding the whole village, it evolved into “Mulberry Valley” (桑峪村). The Catholic church here has existed for 600 years!
Mon-Sun all day (Catholic church opens from 9am to 5pm ). Free. Housangyu Village, Zhaitang Town, Mentougou District. 北京市门头沟区近郊斋堂镇后桑峪村 (6181 7894)
Weizi Water Village 苇子水
According to a legend, Weizi Water Village has been inhabited since the Han Dynasty. It is said that in the early Ming Dynasty, the Zongzu Gao family migrated here from the great locust tree in Hongdong, Shanxi. They found that there were luxuriant reeds with water under the roots, so they settled here and named it “Weizi Water”.
Mon-Sun all day. Free. Weizi Water Village, Yanchi Town, Mentougou District. 北京市门头沟区雁翅镇苇子水村
Shuiyu Village, 水峪村
The natural ecology of the village is in good condition. What is particularly notable is that the village still has historic 600 houses built during ancient dynasties, including more than 100 sets of Ming and Qing Dynasty siheyuan residential houses located on the east side of the village. There are also 128 stone crushers recognized as a Guinness World Record.
Mon-Sun all day. Free. Xiaxia Village, Nanjiao Town, Fangshan District. 北京市房山区南窖乡下辖村
Tantuo Temple 潭柘寺
Built in the first year of Yongjia, Western Jjin Dynasty, Tantuo Temple has a history of nearly 1,700 years. “Jiaofu Temple” was its original name. Because of the temple behind the Longtan River and the many trees surrounding it, it is now known as “Tan Tuo Temple,” and is the oldest temple in Beijing.
Mon-Sun 8.30am-4.30pm. RMB 55 per person. Tan Zhe Templetown scenic area, Mengtougou District. 北京市门头沟区潭柘寺镇潭柘寺景区 (6086 2505)
Dajue Temple 大觉寺
Dajue Temple, built in the Qing Dynasty, is famous for its clear springs, ancient trees, flowers, and elegant environment. The magnolia trees in Dajue Temple, lilac in Fayuan Temple, and peony in Chongxiao Temple are known as the “three temple flowers in Beijing”.
Mon-Sun 8am-5pm. RMB 20 per person. No 9 Dajue Temple Road, Haidian District. 海淀区大觉寺9号 (6245 6163)
Fayuan Temple 法源寺
Fayuan was built in the 19th year of the Tang Dynasty. Today, the temple is home to the China Buddhist academy and the Chinese Buddhist museum. On April 8 and July 15, the Obon Congregation holds its assembly at the temple.
Mon-Sun (except Wed) 8.30-11.30am, 1-3.30pm. RMB 5 per person. No. 7, Fayuan Qian Street, Xicheng District. 西城区法源寺前街
Temple of Reclining Buddha 卧佛寺
Built in the Tang Dynasty, Temple of Reclining Buddha features a statue of, yes, a reclining Buddha carved from sandalwood. During the Yuan Dynasty, a huge bronze statue of Sakyamuni Buddha was cast in the temple.
Mon-Sun 9am-4pm. RMB 5 per person. Inside Beijing Botanical Garden, Temple of Reclining Buddha Road, Haidian District. 北京市海淀区卧佛寺路北京植物园里. (8259 8771)
Pearl Lake 珍珠湖
Pearl Lake is 9 kilometers long with a total area of 5 square kilometers. The lake is clear and calm as a mirror, and surrounded by mountains and trees. People can go fishing or boating there. The famous arch bridge of China’s first railway spans the lake and has become a unique sight. There is also a natural apricot blossom village near the lake.
Mon-Sun 8am-5pm. RMB 20 per person. Xiangyangkou Village, Zhaitang Town, Mentougou District. 北京市门头沟区斋堂镇向阳口村
Waterside Great Wall 黄花水长城
As a result of a rise in the water level, the part of the Great Wall in this valley his since become submerged. The three sections of the underwater Great Wall in China are indeed unique. There is a chestnut garden, a boat service, a fishing area, a tea house, and other recreation and rest facilities for families.
Mon-Sun 8am-4.30pm (peak season); 8am-5pm (off-peak season). Xishuiyu Village, Jiudu River Town, Huairou District. 北京市怀柔区九渡河镇西水峪村
Rome Lake 罗马湖
Rome Lake has an area of more than 300 acres of natural water. You can enjoy the lake’s light shadow of trees, along with its scenery. It could also be a good place for families to enjoy fishing.
Mon-Sun all day. Free. No. 8, East Luo Road, Luogezhuang Village, Houshayu Town, Shunyi District. 顺义区后沙峪镇罗各庄村罗东路8号