Shunyi Hikers: We'll be picking up people from the Starbucks at Pinnacle Plaza in Shunyi for this hike. If you're not based in Shunyi but fancy a visit to the valley today, we can still make it work – write us a note when you make your booking.
We’ll walk the easier sections of two good countryside hikes on this day out in rural Beijing, and finish up with a big meal at a countryside restaurant.
We begin this hike at Lily Village, a small settlement that has recently been linked with a nice new road. It's a busy little village, with the locals industriously looking after their chestnut orchards and cabbage patches. Donkeys are still used for heavy work, but there are also a lot of three-wheeler motorbikes parked around, ready to carry a load of cabbage off to the market.
We'll take a look at the village square and see if anything interesting is going on. Sometimes they have a little outdoor market set up, so bring some spare change – you might be able to pick up a pan or a garlic squeezer … just the thing for your kitchen!
From the village square we’ll follow a concrete road up a broad valley, heading for a large reservoir that is popular for fishing all year round. On the way up to the reservoir we'll see how the villagers make much of their money for the year: orchards full of chestnut trees
After the reservoir we turn off on to a dirt trail, and after a short hill climb we’ll turn off the path and head down a narrow gully, coming out at the top of a long valley filled with boulders and more chestnut trees.
Halfway down the valley we'll find a dirt road, which we'll follow out to the main road, and from there it’s a short walk to the beginning of our Silver Pagodas hike. We’ll walk into the village where that hike begins, carefully crossing the main road on the way, and take a look at their opera stage and a closed temple. We’ll then take a shortcut over the hills to arrive at the Silver Pagodas, cutting a lot of distance off our regular route, and walking an easy trail through some picturesque valleys.
Religious use of the site of the Silver Pagodas dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), with the pagodas built in the 1400’s. The silver bells of the pagodas used to ring in the breeze, and are the source of the name of this peaceful spot. The buildings of the temple are long gone, burned during war, but the pagodas remain, and are quite a sight.
Right now the pagodas park is closed due to some sort of dispute on land use, and last time we had a look they'd put up some fences around the pagodas to protect them. We'll take a look about, and our guides will show you up to the best spot for photos of the pagodas—it's likely that the fences will stop us getting too close.
We'll hike back out and then move on to a local restaurant for a big meal before heading back to the city.
What to bring on this hike
- Snacks to eat
- Sun protection: long-sleeved shirt, hat
- A bottle of sports drink with salt content (Gatorade, Pocari Sweat)
- Good hiking boots
- (Click here to read our full What to Bring on a Hike list)