Explore Xiangshan | A hall in Jingyi Garden
A hall in Jingyi Garden.

Explore Xiangshan ‘Fragrant Hills’: the Imperial Mountainous Garden and I.M. Pei’s Xiangshan Hotel

A guided tour of the highlights of Fragrant Hills park, accompanied by Beijing Hikers founder Sun Huilin plus a local expert, and including a game in which you’ll use a map to find highlights that are hidden in plain sight.

Level 2
4–5 hours of easy walking (Can I do it?)

This hike is not currently scheduled

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Xiangshan ‘Fragrant Hills’ Park is one of the most popular parks in Beijing, particularly in autumn, when the leaves of its maple and smoke trees turn bright red.

The park has a long and interesting history. Officially a park since the Jin dynasty (1115–1234), Xiangshan was built up and expanded by the Yuan (1271–1368), Ming (1368–1644), and especially the Qing (1644–1911) dynasties, all of which had Beijing as their capital.

Beijing Hikers founder Sun Huilin and local expert Mr Yang Zheng, a historian of traditional Beijing culture, will take you on a walking tour that concentrates on Jingyi Garden (the ‘Imperial Mountainous Garden’), built during the reigns of six of the Qing dynasty emperors, and includes an hour-long talk from Mr Yang.

A Qing Dynasty-era map of Jingyi Garden
A Qing Dynasty-era map of Jingyi Garden. (Click for larger image)

Jingyiyuan—the Imperial Mountainous Garden

It's called the Imperial Mountainous Garden because it was a favourite retreat of emperors, particularly the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. You'll see highlights that include:

Qingzheng Hall and Zhiyuan Study

The Qing Emperor Qianlong used Qingzheng Hall as his residence during his 82 trips to Xiangshan. We’ll show you signs in the architecture that identify the hall and study as a residence for royal use.

The Glazed Pagoda at Xiangshan
The Glazed Pagoda at Zhao Temple.

Zhao Temple’s White Terrace and Glazed Pagoda

Built on the orders of Qianlong for a 1780 visit to Beijing by the Sixth Panchen Lama, Zhao Temple is modelled on Tashilunpo Monastery, the Panchen Lama’s seat in Shigatse, Tibet. Originally there were six glazed pagodas. You’ll hear the story of why there is now only one pagoda, as we go through the history of the temple.

Temple of Azure Clouds

Highlights of the Temple of Azure Clouds include different styles of decorated doorways, and a rarely-seen-in-Beijing Indian Buddhism-style pagoda. The temple was also where Dr Sun Yat-Sen, the first president of the Republic of China, lay in state until transfer to his final resting place in Nanjing.

Also in the temple is Five-Hundred Arhat Hall, and it’s said that all visitors will be able to spot their arhat doppleganger among the five hundred statues. See if you can find yours!

Inside the Xiangshan Hotel
Inside the Xiangshan Hotel. (Click for larger image)

Xiangshan Hotel

Designed by the late I.M. Pei, the hotel was built in 1982, and was his first commission in China. The design mixes Western architectural technology with imperial flourishes.

The hotel is built on the site of Xulang Yard, which was destroyed by Anglo-French troops in 1860.

You’ll hear the story of the hotel, and we’ll have lunch at the hotel restaurant.

Your hosts for the tour are local historian Yang Zheng, and Beijing Hikers founder Sun Huilin.

Photo: Yang Zheng

Yang Zheng

Local expert

Mr Yang teaches English at Beijing No. 5 High School. His personal passion is the study of traditional Beijing culture and history. Mr Yang has been nominated as a “Beijing Role Model 2020”, and his work has been published in the Beijing Evening News and other online and offline media. He gives talks about Beijing’s culture and history on both television and radio as well as in-person lectures and classes, and brings his knowledge and stories to this Beijing Hikers special event.

This walking tour will be conducted in Chinese and English, with Beijing Hikers founder Sun Huilin hosting and translating where necessary. Mr Yang and Huilin will give a one-hour (approx.) talk covering culture and history at the Xiangshan Hotel.

Family pricing

If you're a Beijing Hikers member, we offer a further discount for your children.

One adult, one child: ¥700
Two adults, one child: ¥1,060
Two adults, two children: ¥1,400

More photos

Inside the Xiangshan Hotel
Inside the Xiangshan Hotel.
Inside the Xiangshan Hotel
Inside the Xiangshan Hotel.
Outside the Xiangshan Hotel
Outside the Xiangshan Hotel.

COVID-19 and participation precautions

The current precautions are minimal. Please read in full here: Operating hikes under COVID-19 precautions

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Photos and trip reports: Explore Xiangshan ‘Fragrant Hills’: the Imperial Mountainous Garden and I.M. Pei’s Xiangshan Hotel

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