Beijing’s Top 10 Classic Pagodas You Need to Visit

10 Amazing Pagodas to Visit in Beijing

 

Some of the most striking landmarks in the grand and historic capital of Beijing are its pagodas: those skyward-vaulting Taoist and Buddhist structures based on the ancient design of the stupa. To whet your appetite for seeing them in the flesh, here’s a roundup of 10 of the most impressive!

1. Diamond Throne Pagoda (Biyun Temple)

The Diamond Throne Pagoda was built on the high ground behind the Biyun (or Azure Clouds) Temple in 1748 during the Qing Dynasty, when the temple itself was already centuries old. Accessed through a stone archway, the 112-foot-tall pagoda and the rest of the Biyun complex are a signature attraction of Fragrant Hills Park, especially beautiful when the park’s maples are at their fall peak.

2. Pagoda of Everlasting Peace & Long Age (Cishou Temple)

Built in the 1570s during the Ming Dynasty, this pagoda—modeled after one at Tianning (see below)—survived the destruction of the Cishou Temple to which it belonged. Its base includes wonderful Buddhist reliefs.

3. Fragrant Hills Pagoda (Fragrant Hills Park)

Like the Cishou pagoda, the Fragrant Hills Pagoda is a survivor, still standing after the fire that engulfed the adjoining Grand Zongjing Monastery. The 1780-built pagoda soars 130 feet in seven stories.

4. Yong’an Temple White Pagoda (Beihai Park)

More than one earthquake has damaged the White Pagoda at Yong-an Temple in Beihai Park, including the terrible ’76 Tangshan temblor, but repairs after each restored this Tibetan-style tower’s splendor.

 

5. Jade Peak Pagoda (near the Summer Palace)

The famous royal gardenscape of the Summer Palace, long a retreat for emperors, ranks comfortably among the top attractions in Beijing. The seven-story Jade Peak Pagoda is, in turn, one of its scenic highlights, a brick-and-stone tower topping Jade Spring Hill.

6. Luogong Pagoda (White Cloud Temple)

The Luogong Pagoda, which dates from the Qing Dynasty, helps anchor the lovely spread of the White Cloud Temple, built in the eighth century and once serving as one of the great hubs of Taoism in China.

7. Silver Mountain Pagoda Forest (Changping District)

Beautifully cradled amid steep hills, the Silver Mountain Pagoda Forest includes a cluster of brick-and-stone pagodas dated to the Jin Dynasty and remaining as monuments to the destroyed Fahua (Yanshou) Temple, once one of Beijing’s greatest Buddhist complexes. Two other pagodas here claim Yuan Dynasty pedigree.

 

8. Tianning Temple Pagoda

One of the most imposing of the landmarks on this list, the enormous early-12th-century pagoda at Tianning Temple looms as a roughly 190-foot-tall, solid-core edifice richly ornamented with reliefs.

9. Jialing Sarira Pagoda (Dajue Temple)

The Ming Dynasty-era Dajue Temple (aka the Temple of Enlightenment) is another standout Beijing attraction, what with its marvelous historic architecture and impressive ancient trees (including a huge, centuries-old gingko). The Jialing Sarira Pagoda was built following the death of the temple’s abbot, Jialing, in 1728 to house his relics.

10. White Pagoda (Miaoying Temple)

Speaking of Tibetan-style pagodas, the White Pagoda at Miaoying Temple (or White Stupa Temple) is the tallest of that kind in all of China.

 

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How to Select a Proper Backpack for Your Next Great Wall Hiking Trip

Your Detailed Guide to Choosing the Best Backpack

 

For travelers ready to experience the breathtaking views of the Great Wall of China near Beijing, it may be prudent to be fully prepared with appropriate gear. Proper footwear, clothing, and hydration are things most hikers generally remember. But people unfamiliar with long treks and the impact of equipment on their endurance and comfort may want to consider garnering some insight when selecting the best backpack for hiking the Great Wall. These are considerations that may enhance your experience.

Choose A Backpack That Suits Your Body

The value of a properly-fitted backpack cannot be understated. An incorrectly fitted backpack will grind on parts of your body and create discomfort. The result will inevitably reduce your enjoyment and shorten the hike.

A suitable backpack can be determined by understanding where it should begin and end. Locate the large, C7 vertebra on the back of your neck and the iliac crest. That’s the top of your hips, basically. Have a friend measure that distance and use that length as a backpack baseline. A suitable backpack for the Great Wall of China hike should accommodate your torso length.

 

Select Your Backpack Suspension Gear

Once you have measured your torso and have an idea about backpack length, securing the product will go a long way to improved comfort. In the outdoors industry, hiking aficionados often refer to the fastening aspects as “suspension.” These are suspension items that enhance backpack security and comfort you may want to consider.

  • Hip Belts: Today’s backpacks have moved far beyond putting the bulk of a backpack’s weight on your shoulders. Hip belts can transfer upwards of 80 percent of the load. This places far less strain on the shoulders and allows hikers to go farther with less fatigue. Designs include molded and padded products that can be tailored to your unique body type.
  • Shoulder Straps: An appropriate shoulder strap generally conforms to a person’s body shape. One-size-fits-all shoulder straps are inferior products that rarely deliver the comfort required to focus on the panoramic views instead of the bite of your skin. Review shoulder strap options in light of your body and be sure the product has adequate padding that ends 2-3 inches under the armpits.
  • Load-Lifter Straps: Located at the top of the backpack, they connect to the shoulder straps. A secure fit generally runs at a 45-degree angle and allows you to manage the distance between the backpack and your body.
  • Sternum Straps: This strap runs across your chest and secures the shoulder straps. Its presence provides a snug fit that reduces backpack jostling as you walk.
  • Back Panels: A hiking backpack defers from those used as a school-book carrier because it includes a panel that prevents the contents from poking you as you hike. It should also allow for air to flow between you and the panel to avoid unnecessary sweating.

These are essential design items to consider if you plan to hike a substantial portion of the Great Wall this summer. But this is not to say backpacks are all function and no style.

 

A Simple Backpack for Great Wall Day Hikes

For day hiking a simple backpack will usually do the trick. I would still recommend trying a few on for fit and comfort. You don’t want the hiking backpack to hang below your natural waistline.

Backpacking Backpacks for Longer Hikes

For longer hikes or overnight trips you need to look at the backpacking backpacks and again these are available by size. Hiker size and also capacity size. Backpacking backpacks are usually sized for a hiker based on torso length for best fit and maximum comfort.

Style Considerations for Your Great Wall Backpack Selection

The outdoors industry understands that people who embrace adventures such as the Great Wall of China have robust personal tastes. That’s why top backpacking manufacturers offer styles for men, women, youths in a variety of color and fabric options.

For those who prefer a leisurely walk on the Great Wall, simple backpacks to carry day trip items may be the right option. Whether you are a pro-hiker or excited visitor, it’s worth taking a moment to select a comfortable backpack when traveling to Beijing for a Great Wall excursion.

 

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Top 5 Things to Do Before Leaving Beijing Airport During a Layover

Best Ways to Make the Most Out of Beijing Layover

Traveler silhouettes at airport,Beijing

 

If you have found yourself with a layover at Beijing International Airport, you may now be wondering what to do with your time….besides sleep!

There’s plenty to do at PEK. If you have a boarding pass for a same-day flight, you can go explore any terminal. You can entertain yourself there with fine restaurants and shopping for a few hours without ever leaving the terminal.

And, if you have more than 9 hours layover you can head out to explore Mutianyu Great Wall and make it back in time to board your next flight feeling refreshed and with a few Beijing memories to add to your travel experiences.

With a little planning and a spirit of adventure, a long layover can create memories to last a lifetime. Take the following steps to ensure your layover is as enjoyable and as stress-free as possible:

Plan Ahead For Time Spent in the Airport

Even if you explore the city during your layover, you will likely spend at least a few hours hanging out in the airport before customs or after security.

Bring a paperback book, Sudoku puzzles, or a handheld gaming device to kill time. Free WiFi is available but can be difficult for visitors from outside of China to access.

Keep Luggage Secure

If you’re lucky, your airline will take care of your luggage — or you’ll travel light enough to keep it all in one backpack. Many visitors, however, must juggle multiple suitcases.

Carrying these items with you is not practical, but thankfully, luggage service is available at the airport. The cost of storage depends primarily on the length and weight of the bag.

Top 5 Things to Do Before Leaving Beijing Airport During a Layover China

 

Create an Itinerary

With only a few hours available, you’ll want a detailed itinerary to help you make the most of every minute.

Avoid excessive ambition; traffic, weather, and other factors will likely prevent you from tackling more than a few main attractions in a single layover.

Build in plenty of time for transit. Also consider whether you’ll want to stretch your legs after a long flight.

Walking the Great Wall at Mutianyu is a great option for an active nine-hour layover. With fifteen hours, you could tackle not only Mutianyu, but also the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

Check Traffic

Traffic conditions can dramatically alter your layover timeline. Before your trip, investigate typical conditions for the day and time you expect to travel. Adjust your plans accordingly.

East part of Beijing can be especially frustrating during rush hour commutes; attractions in the heart of the city may prove untenable. Sometimes, attractions on the outskirts of the city like Huanghuacheng Great Wall are a better fit.

Top 5 Things to Do Before Leaving Beijing Airport During a Layover beijing

 

Choose Transportation

It typically takes vacationers several days to conquer Beijing’s transit system — time that is clearly not available during your layover. Planning can help, but your layover experience could prove a lot less stressful if you let somebody else handle transit concerns.

Local car companies offer meet-and-greet services, allowing you to travel directly from the airport to the Great Wall or other top destinations. Otherwise, the Airport Express may be your best bet for accessing the city.

A little time and a detailed itinerary can pave the path to a delightful layover experience in and around Beijing. You’ll never regret ditching the airport and making the most of those extra hours.

Top 5 Things to Do Before Leaving Beijing Airport During a Layover in China

 

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7 Ways to Stay Healthy While Visiting the Great Wall This Summer

Tips For Staying Healthy When Hiking the Great Wall in Summer

the great wall in sunrise

 

Hiking the Great Wall of China is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it’s not as simple as it might seem. Weather concerns, dehydration, and a variety of other issues can culminate in a less than enjoyable experience — and even severe illness or injury. Thankfully, many of these concerns can be avoided simply by arriving equipped with the right supplies. If you’re determined to stay as healthy as possible as you hike the Great Wall this summer, be sure to follow these key steps:

1. Stay Hydrated

Water is absolutely essential anywhere and at any time, but this is particularly true on the Great Wall and during the summer. When you’re physically active and have the sun beating down on you, it’s easy to become dehydrated. It’s also easy to avoid dehydration, however. Pack plenty of bottles of water before you hit up the Great Wall. Make a point of drinking from those bottles at least once every half hour.

2. Keep Snacks on Hand

Healthy snacks can spell the difference between an enjoyable hike and low energy. Bring a blend of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to ensure balance.

3. Always Apply and Reapply Sunblock

Apply a liberal amount of sunscreen before you begin your hike. Don’t stop with that initial application; it’s easy to sweat off sunscreen over time. Continue to reapply at least once every few hours, especially if your Great Wall trip involves an intense hike rather than a casual stroll.

7 Ways to Stay Healthy While Visiting the Great Wall This Summer china

 

4. Always Dress in Layers to Be Prepared For Any Weather

The weather can shift quickly on the Great Wall. While typical pictures of Great Wall excursions depict sunshine, chilly conditions and inclement weather are also possible. Checking the weather forecast for the day can help, but it’s also wise to come prepared with multiple layers.

5. Take Vitamin C

Exposed to many people from many places, you will be uniquely vulnerable to a variety of illnesses. These can be staved off, in part, with hand sanitizer, but it’s important to also keep your immune system in excellent shape. Vitamine C supplements can help, as can a diet chock full of fruits and vegetables.

the great wall in sunrise

 

6. Carry Hand Sanitizer or Baby Wipes

PRoactive hygiene efforts can help you avoid a variety of devastating illnesses. Hand sanitizer is essential not only for restroom visits, but also after you eat or come into physical contact with the Great Wall — or any people on it. Baby wipes are convenient and can be used to clean up quickly.

7. Prevent Bed Bugs

Bed bugs might not be the norm in Beijing area hotels, but they can be found on occasion — and when that happens, they can quickly derail your trip. As soon as you arrive at your accommodations, check the furniture closely for bed bugs. These pests especially enjoying hiding within mattress folds and seams.

Final Thoughts

A few simple steps can go a long way towards ensuring that you remain healthy and happy not only while you hike the Great Wall, but also as you explore the Beijing area. You’ll never regret doing what it takes to keep yourself and those you love in pristine health.

the great wall in sunrise

 

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How to Solo Hike the Great Wall of China

Get Over Your Fears! Tips For Your First-Time Hiking the Great Wall Alone

Woman hiking from rear view raises arms to celebrate with feeling good-relax- freedom in Great Wall Of China at Simatai Great Wall- World heritage- Beijing-China- Traveling adventure- outdoor activity

 

Solo hiking the Great Wall of China can be really rewarding if you do it correctly. Solo hikes can be made to fit your schedule even if others are not available. They can be a fun way to recharge and get outdoors. Below are some tips to help you plan a safe and exciting solo hike of the Great Wall of China.

1. Pick a Well-traveled Section of the Great Wall.

Since you will be hiking on your own, it is best to choose a well-traveled part of the wall for your trip. Examples of popular routes include Jinshanling to Simatai West, Jiankou to Mutianyu or Huanghuacheng to Xishuiyu. All of these routes can be completed within one day, but make sure you leave early enough to get back to your hotel at a reasonable hour.

2. Tell Someone Where You Are Going

Before you leave for your solo hike of the Great Wall of China, make sure that a reliable friend or family member knows where you will be.

Send this individual a very explicit description of the trail you plan to hike, and text your trusted individual when you set out so he or she will know what time you should return. Check in with this person when you are back at your hotel.

Asian woman hiking on mountain path into the Great Wall Of China at Simatai Great Wall looking forward with hand on forehead- World heritage site-Beijing- China- Traveling adventure- outdoor activity

 

3. Know Your Limits

It is okay to challenge yourself when completing your first solo self-guided Great Wall hike. However, it is important to plan a hike that will also be safe. Don’t hike farther than you have every hiked before if you are setting out on this trail for the first time. Instead, choose a moderate distance and safe route you can complete comfortably.

4. Be Prepared

Plan the day of your hike carefully. Schedule breakfast before you begin the hike, and make sure you have enough food and water with you to sustain yourself throughout the hike. Choose comfortable shoes so your feet won’t be sore when the day is over.

How to Solo Hike the Great Wall in Beijing

 

5. Trust Your Instincts

As you plan and complete your hike, it is important to be aware of the possibility of danger. Be aware of your surroundings. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not.

6. If  You Get Lost, Stay Clam

With proper planning, you should be able to complete your hike without any problems. However, any time you explore a new location, it is always possible to get lost. If you get lost on your hike, remember:

  1. Stay calm and try to relax. Breathe slowly to keep yourself from panicking.
  2. Think about your surroundings. Consult your map.
  3. Observe. Look around you for landmarks, footprints or any other signs that could help you get your bearings.
  4. Plan. If you know the route, go carefully and mark your trail along the way.

Final Thoughts

A solo hike of the Great Wall of China can be an amazing experience that you will remember for years to come. By following the tips above, you can be sure that you get the most out of your trip.

Young hiker at Great wall ,Beijing,China

 

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