Leave the Famous City Sites to the Other Tourists and Enjoy a Blissfully Peaceful Getaway at One of These Charming, Lesser-known Spots Instead
Summer vacation in Beijing shouldn’t be a competitive sport (unless you want it to be), but in many of Beijing’s beloved destinations, it can feel like it is. Luckily, you simply need to know where to go when you’re ready to escape the hustle and bustle. You’ll find plenty of peace and quiet at these five destinations. Here’s where to go instead:
1. Jinshanling Great Wall
If you’re reasonably athletic and can handle the rigor of hiking up and down hills all day, you’ll appreciate the relative solitude of Jinshanling, which is not nearly as busy as Great Wall of China sections closer to Beijing. A relative lack of renovations has left Jinshanling as authentic as it gets; basic reinforcement work ensures your safety as you explore, but you’ll also feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
2. Simatai Great Wall
Another Great Wall destination worth checking out, Simatai takes some effort to access, especially compared to Badaling or Mutianyu. That effort, however, leads to some of the best views near Beijing — and the fewest interruptions. Stay the night to see the starry sky, which visitors describe as “eerily beautiful.” Afterwards, hit up the hot springs for a well-deserved and unquestionably peaceful rest.
3. Cuandixia Village
Witness medieval Chinese life up close at Cuandixia Village. Home to perfectly preserved courtyard homes from the Ming and Qing dynasties, this charming village attracts many photographers and history buffs. Despite this, it remains a hidden gem, with crowds rarely present even in perfect weather. If you’re feeling ambitious, take a short hike up the slope and enjoy a view of the sprawling village from above.
4. East Qing Tomb
As China’s largest and best preserved extant mausoleum complex, the East Qing tomb offers a fascinating glimpse into the Qing dynasty. Within this complex rest several emperors, empresses, princes, princesses, and even concubines.
Set aside time for an entire day of exploring; you’ll encounter stone animal statues, impressive gates, and intricate carvings near the tombs’ entrances. Your surroundings will be as silent and dignified as you’d expect from ancient tombs; unfortunately, this isn’t the case at every historic site in the Beijing area.
5. Chengde Mountain Resort
The phrase ‘mountain resort’ may prompt visions of powdery snow or steep mountain biking treks, but Cherigde isn’t that kind of resort. Instead, you’ll find a beautiful collection of imperial palaces, pagodas, and gardens.
The resort consists of 72 scenic destinations named by the Kangxi and Qianlong emperors. Set aside plenty of time to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site. Despite its cultural and historical significance, it attracts relatively few tourists — especially compared to Beijing’s iconic sightseeing spots.
Summer is one of the most popular time of year to visit Beijing and for good reason. If you get the chance to escape the crowds for a day, take it. You’ll never regret exploring ancient tombs or meandering along a remote section of the Great Wall of China.