Yanxi Lake (雁栖湖) is a huge pristine body of water that finds itself the setting of some of the best water bound adventures in the whole of Beijing in spring, early summer and into the autumn. Surrounded on three sides by mountains, visitors are treated to views of the Great Wall to the north, red-roofed temples to the west and the north China plains to the south. From March through the golden turn of the leaves in October, the lake nestles in stunning natural scenery that will not fail to take your breath away.
Located in Huairou district, just north of Huairou town, Yanxi Lake is not merely a gorgeous scenic spot, but also somewhere for Beijingers to escape the heat and smog of the metropolis to come for some thrills and spills water borne action.
Among the activities open to visitors at the lake are jet skiing, speed boating, yachting, paddle boats, banana boats, aqua bikes, aqua planning and pirate ships. And if the water borne stuff wasn’t enough, the nearby amusement park complete with bungee jumping, BMX biking, and a dance floor and sculpture park, will make sure there really is something for all the family!
And just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, as of June this year, the purposely built garden for most of the outdoor shots of the new remake of the Dream of the Red Chamber TV series will be open for public viewing on days when they’re not filming. Visitors will get the chance to loiter in among the same alcoves as Xue Baochai and Li Daiyu and even have a go at inventing their own rhyming couplet.
How to get there:
By Car or Bike: Cycle along the Jingcheng (京承) motorway slip road until you reach the exit for Huairou (怀柔). Head towards the Huairou Kaifang Roundabout (怀柔开放环岛) and take the 3rd exit towards Fengning (丰宁), then take a right onto N111 and head 8km north to Yanxi Lake.
Bus: Take either route 916, 916 Express (快) or 916 Branch (支) to Huairou bus station and then hire a taxi.
Tickets: General entrance ticket: RMB 25. Activity tickets: Rock climbing: RMB 40, jet skiing: RMB 30, Bungee: RMB 120.
Accommodation: For those wishing to stay overnight, there are a variety of small hostels and larger hotels. Follow the signs to check out some of the small inns near the park entrance.
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