Exploring Fragrant Hills: A Guide to Beijing’s Mountain Escape

2024-01-01   Leo Kui      0

Located on the outskirts of Beijing, Fragrant Hills is a mesmerizing destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural richness. This enchanting park is renowned for its stunning autumn foliage and picturesque landscapes, making it a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. In this comprehensive travel guide, we will delve into the history and significance of Fragrant Hills, explore its must-see attractions hiking trails, and provide you with essential tips to make your visit truly memorable.

Open Time and Tickets

Off-Peak Season: April 1st to November 15th

6:00 AM Last entry time: 6:30 PM Park closing time: 7:30 PM

 Off-Peak Season: November 16th to March 31st of the following year

6:00 AM Last entry time: 6:00 PM Park closing time: 7:00 PM


Off-Peak Season Ticket Prices (November 16th to March 31st): Adults: 5 yuan Half Price: 2.5 yuan

Peak Season Ticket Prices (April 1st to November 15th): Adults: 10 yuan Half Price: 5 yuan

Biyun Temple Tickets

Per person: 10 yuan Half Price: 5 yuan

How to Get There?

Take Line 10 of the subway and transfer to Line S1 at “Bagou” station. Get off at “Xiangshan” station (香山站).

History and Significance of Fragrant Hills

With a history dating back over 900 years, Fragrant Hills holds immense cultural and historical significance. Known initially as Jingyi Garden, it was built during the Jin Dynasty. It gained its current name during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty due to the fragrant plants that cover its hills. The park’s architectural wonders, including the renowned Fragrant Hills and Xiangshan Temple, further accentuate its historical importance.

Fragrant Hills also played a pivotal role during the tumultuous years of the Cultural Revolution. It was the site of the “Fragrant Hills Red Guards Battle,” where Mao Zedong’s Red Guards clashed with rival factions. Today, the park stands as a testament to the resilience and transformation of China’s cultural heritage.

Must-See Attractions in Fragrant Hills

Xiangshan Temple: Xiangshan Temple has a long history and is an essential ancient architectural feature within Xiangshan Park. It houses many precious cultural relics and Buddhist heritage, making it a great place to learn about Chinese Buddhist culture.

Biyun Temple: Biyun Temple is another famous Buddhist temple in Xiangshan Park. It has a unique architectural style and a tranquil environment. Here, you can find exquisite Buddha statues, murals, and ancient buildings like the bell tower and drum tower, which showcase the charm of traditional Chinese culture.

Jianxin Zhai: Jianxin Zhai is a classical garden within Xiangshan Park, known for its intricate layout and elegant surroundings. It features winding corridors, artificial hills, ponds, and other landscapes, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of the water towns in southern China.

Xiangshan Revolutionary Memorial Site (Former Site): The Xiangshan Revolutionary Memorial Site (Former Site) is an essential witness to China’s revolutionary history. It was once the location of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and preserves many revolutionary historical relics and buildings, allowing people to gain a profound understanding of the history of the Chinese Revolution.

Other Attractions in Xiangshan Park include the Qinzhen Hall, Jingcui Lake, Xuanji Spring, and Zhisong Garden. These natural and cultural landscapes each have their unique characteristics. Qinzhen Hall served as the office for Qing Dynasty emperors in the tranquil gardens of Xiangshan. Jingcui Lake attracts visitors with its clear waters and beautiful natural scenery. Xuanji Spring and Zhisong Garden offer a unique environment and landscape, making them popular destinations for leisure and exploration.

Hiking Trails in Fragrant Hills

For nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers, Fragrant Hills offers a variety of hiking trails that cater to different fitness levels. The most popular course is the North Route, which takes you through ancient temples, dense forests, and captivating viewpoints. This trail provides a perfect combination of natural beauty and cultural exploration.

If you’re up for a challenge, embark on the steeper South Route. This trail rewards hikers with stunning panoramic views of the park and the surrounding countryside. As you ascend, you’ll pass through lush vegetation and encounter hidden gems like the Azure Clouds Temple. Wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during your hike.

Best Time to Visit

Fragrant Hills offers a unique experience every season, but the best time to visit is during autumn (September to November) when the park is transformed into a breathtaking sea of red and gold. The vibrant foliage creates a magical atmosphere that is truly unforgettable. However, if you prefer a quieter visit, spring and winter have their charm, with blooming flowers and serene landscapes.

Nearby Attractions and Day Trips from Fragrant Hills

If you have extra time to spare, consider exploring the nearby attractions and embarking on day trips from Fragrant Hills. The Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is just a short distance away. This magnificent imperial garden will mesmerize you with its opulent architecture, tranquil lakes, and lush greens.

Another intriguing destination is Badachu Park, the “Eight Great Sites.” This park is home to a cluster of ancient temples nestled amidst scenic hills, providing visitors with a glimpse into Beijing’s rich religious and cultural heritage.

In conclusion, Fragrant Hills is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural charm. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, Fragrant Hills has something to offer. Plan your visit to this enchanting destination, and prepare to be captivated by its magic.

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