Beijing/Western and Southern Suburbs
Western and Southern Suburbs is in Beijing and consists of the administrative districts Mentougou District (门头沟区; Méntóugōuqū), Fangshan District (房山区; Fángshānqū) and Daxing District (大兴区; Dàxīngqū).
Public transport service from central Beiing to Mentougou is mainly based on buses, many of them starting from Pingguoyuan (western final stop of subway line 1). Buses 336 and 931 run from Pingguoyuan (苹果园 píngguǒyuán) to Hetan (河滩 hétān) in Mentougou District. From there bus lines to most places of interest in the area can be taken. However, for trips from Beijing city, renting a taxi for a day might be easier and less time intensive. A Suburban Railway Line to Mentougou is in planning.
There are five railway stations in Daxing District. Huangcun (荒村 huāngcūn) railway station is served by several trains from Beijing, the fastest being no. 4487 from Beijing West Railway station, taking 21 minutes. Trains from Beijing Railway station take approx. 30 minutes (no. 4401, 4405, 4419, 6451). Access to Daxing District will be more convenient once the planned southern extension of subway line 4 will be finished (scheduled for end of 2010). This new line will connect the Northern 5th Ring Road with the Southern 6th Ring Road, running straight through Beijings city center Xidan.
- Tanzhe Temple (潭柘寺 tánzhèsì) (Take bus 931 from Pingguoyuan subway station (Line 1) to Tanzhesi bus stop). Buddhist temple dating back as far as the Western Jin Dynasty (more than 1600 years ago). It is one of the oldest and largest temples in Beijing. The site is especially beautiful to visit in April when the surrounding Magnolia trees are in full bloom. ¥55 (students and seniors ¥30).
- Jietai Temple (戒台寺 jiètáisì) (Take bus 931 from Pingguoyuan subway station (Line 1) to Jietaisi bus stop), ☎ +86 10 69806611. 8AM-5:30PM. Though not as popular and well-visited as Tanzhe Temple, this smaller Buddhist temple is definitely worth a visit. It was originally built about 1400 years ago, but its most famous features have been added later during Ming and Qing dynasties. A special attraction of this site are the huge pine trees, some of them being hundreds of years old. ¥45 (students and seniors ¥22).
- Mt. Lingshan Scenic Resort (灵山自然风景区 Língshān zìrán fēngjǐng qū). With 2300 meters in height, Mt.Lingshan is the highest mountain in Beijing.
- Cuandixia (爨底下) (Take the subway to Pingguoyuan in West Beijing. (About 1 hour from east Beijing. ¥2). Then take the public bus to Cuandixia. (about 2:20 hours. ¥13-18). There is a direct bus leaving from Pingguoyuan at 12:40, and one in early morning. If you can't catch the direct bus take the bus to Zhaitang, and take a private taxi to Cuandixia. The bus number is 929支, but be aware there are many buses with this number driving to many different places, so ask the bus driver if he drives to Cuandixia, or Zhaitang). A beautiful ancient mountain village. It is very small, only around 70 traditional court yards. It is renovated nicely and seems rather authentic. Go in the weekdays if you want peace and quiet, as many Chinese tourist from Beijing are said to go there in the weekends.
In the summer months the climate is nicer than in Beijing because of the cooler mountain air. In the winter it could be cold, but the beds are heated, so it is still possible to go. Do at least an overnight trip or you will spend most of your time in the bus and not have time to enjoy the peace in the beautiful village. You can easily spend one day in the village walking around on the mountain paths. Day 2 can be spend on visiting the nearby village Baiyu, and seeing the sights around Cuandixia. Day 3 can be spend on visiting more ancient villages and scenic spots a little further away. You can also jump from one village to the next and stay one night in each. Almost every home has a restaurant and the quality is generally good and prices low. In summer 2009 a meal for two with 3-5 dishes was ¥20-40.Almost every home in the village is a guesthouse, so it is no problem finding a place to sleep. Prices are ¥30-50 for a room for 2 people. It costs ¥30 for tourists to enter the Cuandixia area.
- Baiyu. A village with 100-200 traditional court yards, which are in the process of being renovated in a nice and authentic way (June 2009). Baiyu is still rather unexplored, but it has plenty of guesthouses to sleep and eat in. Quality is good, prices low, the scenery is beautiful and the people friendly. Baiyu is about 6 km from the more well known ancient mountain village Cuandixia, so combining a visit to both places is a good idea. It costs ¥30 for tourists to enter the Cuandixia area.
- The Cave of Peking Man, Zhoukoudian Village (50km southwest of the city centre, take bus 917 at Tianqiao Bus Terminus and then another bus to Zhoukoudian Village). A UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the former residence of the Peking Man dating back 200,000-500,000 years. The caves and some exhibition halls can be seen here. Most of the remains of the Peking Man disappear during World War II and have never been found again.
- Shidu Scenic Spot.
- Mt. Shangfang National Forest Park (上方山国家森林公园 shàngfāngshān guójiā sēnlíngōngyuán). 8AM-8PM. With an area covering more than 300 hectares, this is the biggest National Forest Park in North China. There are nine caves, 12 peaks and 72 temples to discover in this park. The most famous are:
- Cloud and Water Cave (云水洞 yúnshuǐdòng). Beautiful 613 meters long carst cave, featuring the highest (37 meters) stalagmite in China. ¥40.
- Tianzhu Peak (天柱峰 tiānzhùfēng).
- Yunju Temple (云居寺 yúnjūsì).
- China Printing Museum (中国印刷博物馆 Zhōngguó yìnshuā bówùguǎn), 25 North Xinghua Road, Huangcun Town,黄村兴华北路25号. 8:30AM-4:30PM. ¥20 (students half price).
- Youth Holiday Hotel (北京青年假日酒店; Běijīngqīngniánjiàrìjiǔdiàn), 6 South Guiyuan Road, Daxing District (大兴区圆南路6号; Dàxīngqū Yuánnánlù (Just outside the southeast part of Ring Road Five), ☎ +86 106789 5716, fax: +86 10 6789 5756. Rooms with free internet and purified water. Business center, gift shop, beauty salon, ticket office, laundry service, karaoke, fitness facilities, and massage available. Chinese restaurant and room service. Lister rates for doubles from ¥238, discounted from ¥190; breakfast ¥10.
- Yucaotang Inn (Baiyu, in a small lane a bit up in the village). Owned and run by an elderly friendly couple cooking great local meals. ¥30 for 2 people in one room. June 2009.
- Nyingma Guesthouse, 14 Shengde Lu. (Baiyu). OK twin-bed rooms for ¥40. 25 January 2008.