Unwind in this diverting lake and pleasure park dating back to the rule of Kublai Khan.
‘North Ocean’ in Chinese, Beihai is mostly a large lake, its green edges dotted with diverting temples and gardens. Families and young couples come here to stroll among the cypress trees or ride pedal boats on the lake in summer, whilst clusters of elderly Chinese can often be heard singing songs together, sometimes accompanied by a lone violinist or accordion player.
The park is overlooked by a 36 metre high White Dagoba on an islet in the lake. It's well worth clambering up the steps to this bell-shaped temple for commanding vistas of the city. For an extra fee, you can enter the shrine itself to view the Buddhist sutras on display there, and sneak some terrific views of the Forbidden City rooftops.