If you’re searching for a place to enjoy the outdoors in Beijing and also see some traditional Chinese architecture, you should add Fragrant Hills to your list. Fragrant Hills, called Xiangshan Park in Chinese, is in the northeastern part of Beijing and is well known for its natural forests, scenic hills, and cultural relics.
Located in the Haidian District of Beijing, Fragrant Hills is easily reached by the Beijing Subway. You can take line 10 to Bagou Station, then transfer to the Western Suburban Line all the way to Xiangshan Station. Alternatively you can take line 4 to Beigongman Station, leave out of Exit A and then take bus 563 to Xiangshan Gongyuan Dongmen (Fragrant Hills East Gate).
Fragrant Hills was first built in 1186 during the Jin Dynasty. It was later expanded during the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. Many new halls, pavilions, and gardens were built in 1745 by Emperor Qianlong, and he also renamed the Jingyi Garden, meaning a Garden of Tranquility and Pleasure. In 1860 many relics in Fragrant Hills were damaged by foreign troops, but the Chinese government initiated many restoration plans and development pans for the park. Since 1949, Fragrant Hills is known as one of the ten most famous parks in Beijing.
Check out this video of expats exploring Fragrant Hills and learn some more interesting facts about the history of Fragrant Hills:
The admission fee for Fragrant Hills depends on the time of year you visit. From April 1 – November 15 the entrance fee is 10 RMB, and from November 16 – March 31 it costs 5 RMB.
Fragrant Hills is open to visitors year-round and the hours are as follows:
There are a few other additional costs inside the park if you choose to do additional activities. There is a cable car that will take you to the top of Fragrant Hills and costs 60 RMB for a single trip. If you want to visit the Temple of the Azure Clouds it costs an additional 10 RMB, or you can get a combination ticket for a cheaper price.
Fragrant Hills offers beautiful views year-round, but it is especially nice in the spring and autumn times. From October 15 – November 11 Fragrant Hills is especially popular to visit because of the Red Leaves Festival, when all the trees turn a stunning red. Fragrant Hills will be much more crowded during this time, as all the visitors want photos of the sea of colorful trees.
There are many routes to walk within Fragrant Hills. When visiting the park make sure to see these attractions inside:
If you have a free afternoon, Fragrant Hills is definitely worth a trip to see. You can enjoy the natural scenery and hike outside, and also learn more about Chinese history and explore the temples and traditional architecture.