If you are in Beijing for a decent amount of time then it would be very easy to schedule in all the amazing attractions the city had to offer. If, like myself, you only have a few days you have to be picky. Most of the big attractions (The Summer Palace, The Forbidden City) are massive. According to most reviews and guides would probably take a full day to explore. We opted instead for the Beijing Botanical Garden. This was much more manageable with our time frame and ended up being a lovely day out.
Location & Tickets
The Beijing Botanical Garden is very close to the Summer Palace. So much so that you get off at the same subway station – Line 4 to Beigongmen. From there we just flagged down a taxi but you could also take the local bus. We got the bus on the way back and the journey was much longer but obviously much cheaper . I’m not sure of what other options are available but the ticket we got was the Combo ticket for the Botanical Garden + Greenhouse + Wo fo Si Temple for CNY 50 (£5-6). Children under 3.9 ft (1.2m) go free.
Covering and impressive 500 Acres, the Beijing Botanical Garden is home to 10,000 categories of plant with a population of 1.5 million plants cultivated there. It is regarded as the biggest in North China. The Garden consists of the Plant Exhibition Area, the Scenic Spot and the Historical Resorts, the Scientific Research Area and the Nature Reserve.
I have such a weakness for Botanical Gardens. They are just so peaceful. Granted Beijing is one of the biggest cities in the world so the garden was incredibly busy, but given its size it was still easy to find yourself surrounded by quiet nature.
The Education Centre, to be honest, was just intended to be a nice air-conditioned break from the blistering sun. It turned out to be surprisingly cool. The centre contains exhibits of many different plants and their uses throughout history (i.e making food, clothes, jewellery.) It was pretty much the first building we came to so it would be hard to miss, just past the Rose Garden.
It was an absolute scorcher of a day so the Glasshouses were a bit tough to bear after a while. Still 100% worth the visit though. I’ve really only ever been to Scottish Botanical Gardens so to see the different plants and trees and flowers in Asia was so interesting. (I realise this isn’t a subject that thrills most people but NATURE IS COOL OKAY?!)
Wo Fo Si Temple
The Wo Fo Si Temple (The Temple of the Sleeping Buddha) is situated at the far end of Beijing Botanical Garden. This of course gives you the perfect excuse to walk through the whole garden. The temple area is really nice and calm. There is a gift shop and a cafe obviously catering to the tourists but none the less it is lovely.
For having so little time in the city, this was a great way to spend our day! The journey all in, from where we were staying, took an hour and a half. However, if you are travelling from Beijing South Railway Station it would probably be more like 40 minutes. If you are feeling up to it, you could always head out there and do the Summer Palace in the morning and then end the day with the Beijing Botanical Garden.
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