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Day Trips to the Lakes

Day Trips to the Lakes
By Jordan Snyder

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Beijing is unusual in that it does not have a major river running through it. For this reason, you might want to consider the following ideas for places to go away from the heat of the city or just have a good time on a day trip to the lakes that surround Beijing.

 

Shidu


Shidu, located at the point where Beijing borders Hebei, is a centre of extreme water sports with several activities to keep you entertained. The activities on offer here range from the tranquil to terrifying. Bungee jumping costs 260RMB, zip lining and a cable car cost 150RMB, while a trip on a gondolier guided bamboo raft will cost 120RMB for an hour. Thrills continue with dodgem boats costing 30RMB for ten minutes, speedboats the same price or pedal boats 50 RMB for 30 minutes. The zip line looks terrifying, while the bungee jumping brings plenty of screaming.

 

If you have a head for heights, you may want to visit the Tall Mountain Glass Walkway. It costs 50RMB and includes a 200m section over glass with clear views of the drop below. You may also want to try out the Giant Glass Slide at 20RMB per person.

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Getting there
Getting there is easy, take the 917 bus from Tianqiao Bus Terminal. When you are traveling back from Shidu, the stop is across the road from the dodgems, the last bus leaves at 4.30pm. The cost is 21RMB each way.

 

Baiyangdian


Baiyangdian is a sprawling wetland and home to a diversity of nature. It is claimed to be China鈥檚 largest freshwater lake, when it is in reality 143 smaller lakes that are connected by a network of waterways. It is also the source of nine rivers. In spring the area comes to life, when the reeds burst into colour with lotus flowers and pads covering most of the surface of the lake. It is a peaceful and serene scene, which is sometimes disturbed by powerboats racing across the surface.

 

There are eight different attractions that are only accessible by boat. The attractions range from gardens, a culture park and a water park, and those attractions that charge an entrance fee each cost 40-50RMB. The boat options are motorized, sail and rowing boats (boat fees range from 100RMB up to 980RMB). With lots of wildfowl in the area, duck eggs are plentiful and six ready to eat eggs cost 10RMB.

TP 201906 beijing 04Getting there
The quickest way to get there is a high-speed train from Beijing West Station to Baoding East. The cost is 64RMB and there are three trains every hour from 6.30am until 9.30pm. The last train back departs Baoding East at 10pm. From Baoding take a car to the front gate of Baiyangdian, its 45km and should cost no more than 150RMB each way.

 

Qinglonghu


Qinglonghu may not be the most famous lake in the Beijing area, but it is larger than the Kunming Lake, Houhai, Beihai and Zhongnanhai combined. The shores of the lake are lined with dense forests and meadows with campsites and boat rentals, so you can have a day of water based fun.

 

Away from the busiest spots of the lake, there are plenty of quiet and secluded areas. You can admire the mountains that surround the lake or see their reflection in the clear water. Other options include a barbeque on one of the sandy beaches. If you wish to make an overnight stop, in addition to the campsites, there are rooms for hire in the lakeside villas from 300RMB per night.

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Getting there
Take metro line 6 to Liuliqiao station. From there take bus numbers 983, 339 or 458 to Nangong. Then take bus 978 to Qinglonghu. The entrance fee for the lake is 20RMB.

 

Jinhai Lake


Jinhai Lake is one of three reservoirs that supply Beijing with its water. The lake is surrounded by mountains and sits in a beautiful tranquil setting. One of the highlights of the lake is its massive dam. On the lake you can rent a pedal for 80RMB an hour or a two person kayak for 100RMB an hour. There is jet-skiing available, but at 25RMB a minute is not a cheap option. Officially, you are not permitted to swim in the lake, although lots of people head for the secluded areas of the lake for a swim. Speed boats are another costly option at 20RMB per minute. A cheaper and slower option is to take a 30-minute tour of the lake for 30RMB.

TP 201906 beijing 08Getting there
Head to Dongzhimen and take the 852 bus to Pinggu bus station. Then you need to take the number 45 bus to Jinhai Lake station.

 

Hanshiqiao


Hanshiqiao is Beijing鈥檚 premier spot for bird watching enthusiasts. It is located at the north east of the city, past the Capital Airport, in the largest wetland area found in Beijing. It is an area of marshland and lakes teeming with wildlife and only a few kilometres from the city of Beijing. You can hire a boat and cruise around the lake or head to the bird watching pavilion for the best views. The pavilion costs 15RMB and is a huge air conditioned room with four telescopes set behind the floor to ceiling windows. There is even a display of dead and stuffed birds, including buzzards, pheasants, owls and an eagle in the building, if you are not fortunate enough to spot any birds outside. One downside is that there are no guides to assist you with identifying the species of birds you can see from here.

TP 201906 beijing 06Getting there
From Dongzhimen bus station take bus number 918 to Yangzhen. The buses operate from 5.40am until 7.30pm. From Yangzhen it is about 10 minutes by the taxi.

 

Longqing Gorge


Longqing Gorge, while not exactly a lake, is full of jaw dropping natural formations of rocks and stunning scenery. It is difficult to leave this location off this list. It costs 40RMB to enter the park and once inside, you can travel on the Flying Dragon Escalator, a 258m long dragon, which contains 6 escalators inside its belly. You can also take a cruise along the river at a cost of 100RMB for 15 minutes. The boat takes you to another area full of attractions, such as bungee jumping for 200RMB or taking a zip-line across the gorge for 50RMB. If you want some peaceful reflection you may find it in the Diamond Temple, which dates from 1065.

TP 201906 beijing 07Getting there
Take the express bus number 919 from Deshengmen bus station to Yanqing Dongguan. The bus operates from 5.45am until 7pm. Once you get off the bus, take a taxi to Longqingxia.

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