Last weekend I took a trip to Xiangshan Park on the eastern side of the Western Hills, around 10km west of Beijing.
Also known as the “Fragrant Hills“, the park contains a number of landscaped areas and cultural relics as well as traditional architecture. Dating back to the Jin Dynasty (1115 to 1234) the park was also home to a certain Mao Zedong who planned the founding of the People’s Republic of China here in 1949.
The so-called “hill” is actually around 1800 ft high at its peak and whilst there is a cable car for the lazy it was out of action when I visited which was probably a good thing as it deterred the hoards of tourists you might usually expect. It took around two hours to climb to the top which rewarded some spectacular views (and a well deserved ice cream!!).
It would probably take more than a day to see everything in the park (especially if you climb to the top) so it’s worth reading a map before you set out to decide what you want to see. Be warned that Mao’s villa closes at 4 pm, a fact I discovered too late in the day so missed out on that little gem 😉
Using AutoStich I’ve merged together a panorama from the top of the “hill” – a pretty impressive view of west Beijing even though it was a hazy day!