Visiting Beijing certainly requires a lot of walking but it is also a great way to check out the city in details. During my time in Beijing, I spent a large part of my time on walking and cycling until my feet is sore, and I realized there is no other walk could do better to justify the beauty of Beijing than this walk! This walk I am going to introduce encompasses the lake view of Houhai lake (后海), the buzzling Hutong, the royal garden Beihai Park (北海公园), an bird eye’s view of the Imperial palace atop of Jingshan Park (景山公园)，make sure you kept a photo of the watch tower of the forbidden city (故宫角楼) basking in the setting sunlight by the end of the walk.
Best time to take the walk: after 4pm, begin early if you wish to visit Former residence of Soong Ching Ling
Duration: 3-4 hours
Places: Houhai lake (后海)，Beihai Park (北海公园)，Jingshan Park (景山公园)
1) Begin your walk from Houhai lake 后海
To get to Houhai lake (后海), the simplest way is to take a metro to Jishuitan station (积水潭站) on the Line 2. Right out the station, you will take in the beautiful lake side view.
Around Houhai lake (后海)，there used to be mansions resided by the imperials and officials. Prince Chun Mansion (醇亲王府) is one of the biggest prince mansion in Beijing. Currently its garden (醇亲王府花园), also the Former residence of Soong Ching Ling (宋庆龄同志故居) is open for tourists. It features a detailed exhibition on the life of ‘Mother of Modern China’ Soong Ching Ling, her former residence is kept intact for viewing.
By the lakeside, you can see many local residents enjoy leisure activities, dances, music, table tennis and etc. Soak in the friendly and peaceful atmosphere and enjoy one of the best lakeside views in Beijing.
2) Grab a snack at Yandai Byway 烟袋斜街
Soon you will transit to buzzling streets Yandai Byway. The street is full of bars, eateries, food stalls, gift shops. Grab a Barbeque Lambstick (烤羊肉串) at the Kaorouji (烤肉季) and write a postcard at one of post card shops.
3) Cross the road and enter Beihai Park 北海公园
Beihai Park (北海公园) is a park within the walls, therefore it requires you to buy a ticket (5 yen) in order to enter. If you wish to visit the temples and palaces, it will be 15 yen.
Beihai Park is a imperial garden, the landmark is a white stupa sitting atop of the island center of the park. When I was there, I realized it is also a popular park frequent by the locals despite ticket required. It is a pleasant walk through the park. I exited at the first exit on the east of the island which brings me to a local market, across the road, there is the west entrance of the next destination Jingshan Park (景山公园).
4) Jingshan Park 景山公园
Jingshan park used to be a hill park to ‘protect’ the forbidden city, now it is the spot you could amaze at the scale of the forbidden city from a high vantage point. Ticket is required. Hit to the highest point after you enter park, it takes a 15 mins hike to reach the highest point.
5) Watchtower of Forbidden city 故宫角楼
After your visit Jingshan Park, make sure you are able to hit the watchtower of forbidden city by sunset. There are many photographers stationed at the spot to captured the moment when the watchtower is basked in the evening sunlight. It is a spot well-loved by the photographers. For a non-photographer, it is another pleasant walk by the moat of forbidden city.