The fact so many of Beijing's natural tourist destinations are located in its suburbs has given birth to a new kind of tourist phenomenon folk custom tourist villages. These villages started off providing food and lodging for tourists visiting nearby scenic spots. But visitors soon realized that the experience of staying in these villages was an experience in itself.
Now, visitors get not only the chance to live with local people, but also to taste locally produced food, pick fruit from their orchards, and enjoy traditional dance and singing performances.
If you want the chance to get to know local people, this is it. Below, we list 10 of the most scenic villages in Beijing.
This village in Chaoyang District is 8 kilometers from the city center, on the eastern extension of Chang'an Avenue. The village provides a destination for tours, sightseeing, food, lodging, shopping, as well as performance and entertainment.
At 2.7 square kilometers from the city center, this village is one of the easiest to get to, and it has a history of more than 1,000 years. Five of the village's highlights are the Beijing-Tianjin ancient dock, traditional Chinese furniture street, Chinese folk cultural garden, international folk custom reception area, and an opera theater.
The dock was built in 1291, a place where officials and cargo would dock after arriving from South China via the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. The furniture street is 1,500 meters long, with 300 shops selling Ming and Qing dynasty-style furniture, as well as genuine antiques, jade, and carvings. The cultural garden has a display of the works of national-level handicraft masters, as well as nearly 100 shops selling ancient style furniture, antiques, calligraphy, paintings and jade.
The international folk custom reception area is open to tourists who want to live at villagers' homes and experience the life of ordinary Chinese villagers. The Yunhecun opera theater can accommodate 300 people and stages regular shows including classic dance, operas, kungfu and acrobat performances.
How to get there: Take Bus 928, 742, 728, 363, 725, 312 to Gaobeidian station, or city metro Batong line to Gaobeidian station.
This village in Mentougou Village is known for its well preserved 689 Ming and Qing dynasty-style houses owned by 76 families. These houses are built on the side of a hill, surrounded by mountains and forests. Steep stairs and lanes paved with rocks are simple and unadorned. The village was rated as a village of great tourist value and has been placed under national level cultural relics protection. It is a great place to take photos. Almost every family at the village now receives tourists.
The village is also near spots like Shuanglong Gorge, with its rivers and falls, the Pearl Lake and the Longmenjian grand canyon.
How to get there: Take Bus 929 from Pingguoyuan subway station to Chuandixia village. Or drive down Fushilu Road until Mentougou Shuangyu Traffic Isle, then take 109 National Road to Cuandixia.
Located just to the north of the beautiful Jinhaihu Lake, this village in Pinggu District is named after the "general's barrier", the only part of the Great Wall built with rocks in Beijing. It is the eastern furthest part of the Great Wall in Beijing, built 600 years ago during the Ming Dynasty. As well as the part of the Great Wall, there is a former ancient village, a gold mine, mountains, gorges, a river and a lake. Cherry picking is available from May to July.
How to get there: Take Bus 918 at the Dongzhimen bus stop to arrive at the terminal in Pinggu, then change to bus No 9.
This village at Badaling Township, Yanqing County, 1.5 kilometers from Badaling Great Wall, is the former site of a Ming Dynasty military camp 450 years ago. The ancient city has a great number of Ming and Qing dynasty cultural relics, and is under Beijing city-level cultural protection. The central street is built from granite slate, and the town's god temple, Temple of Guan Yu, ancient post house and courtyard houses are currently being renovated. The village turns a beautiful shade of red in the autumn when the leaves change.
How to get there: Take Bus 919 at Deshengmen to arrive at Badaling.