Results 1-5of 5 Reviews
September 30, 2001
From journal The Trip to China in 2001
Hamilton Square, New Jersey
October 24, 2002
The White Dagoba can be seen reigning over the large lake that is the focal point of BeiHai (which means North Sea). The Dagobah was built in the 16th century to celebrate a visit to Beijing by the Dalai Lama. It has been destroyed by earthquakes twice since its original construction; the current version was built in the mid-1700s. The island on which the Dagobah stands is man made, using the earth removed when the lake was dug.
If you have the time, you can rent a boat and paddle about on the large lake (which takes up about 35 hectares or about 100 or so acres). A barge links the island near Fangshan with the Five Dragon Pavillion on the far side of the lake. Swimming in the lake is not permitted, but I understand that ice skating is popular in the winter when the lake freezes over.
Following this link will take you to a detailed description of the sights in BeiHai that I missed.
If your tour includes FangShan restaurant, try to budget some extra time to walk through the park. If you are not on a tour or if you have more than just a few days in Beijing, I think a visit to the park would be very worthwhile. If you are pressed for time, however, you might do better to pass on BeiHai in favor of other "key" sights, such as the Summer Palace or the Great Wall.
From journal MBA Students on the Loose in Beijing
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
September 18, 2000
Beihai Park was originally a playground for emperors from the Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. However now anybody can dine like an Emperor at the luxurious Fangshan Resetaurant. Situated near the boat dock, it serves up imperial recipes favoured by the Empress Cixi.
Fangshan Restaurant was a little pricey for us, but we enjoyed an afternoon touring the grounds. We started our tour at the Eastern Gate. Entry was Y10, which included admission to the White Dagoba on Jade Islet. We then crossed a bridge onto Jade Islet and climbed a set of well worn steps to the top, stopping on the way to admire the view north near the Painted Walkway. At the top stood the White Dagoba. This Tibetan style monument dates from 1651 (but was rebuilt in 1741) and commemorates a visit by the Dalai Lama. It is said that the landmark contains Lamaist Scriptures, robes and other sacred objects. I was impressed by the intricate stone carvings in the walls and balustrades - we were to see identical features at several other Qing monuments including the Forbidden City. Just in front of the Dagoba stood the Yong'an Temple of Lamaism Shanyin Hall, covered with hundreds glazed tiles depicting Buddhist statues. You could climb up to the Hall but it cost extra so we contented ourselves with the view from the ground.
We descended the hill down a steep set of steps on the south side. Our path took us through a series of buildings and court yard, one of which was The Temple of Eternal Peace (although I'm not sure which one...) The buildings housed many Buddhist religious figures. In one of the courtyards was a 'wishing pot' filled with Chinese coins. I threw an Australian 10 cent piece in, although I can't now remember what I wished for.
We exited the Islet by Yong'an Bridge and passed the Round City on our way out the South Gate. We had missed out on several other park attractions including the Nine Dragon Wall in the north of the park (another one!) and the imperial gardens of Emperor Qianlong in the east. But perhaps most disappointing was having to forgo a trip in one of the many bizarre watercraft floating on the lake - particularly the duck shaped paddle boats!
From journal Bumbling Through Beijing
Rotherham, United Kingdom
March 9, 2010
From journal The Historic Parts of Beijing
by Paul Bacon
May 6, 2006
From journal Living life to Mao