Chinese Language Blog

5 Awesome Beijing Day Trips Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in Culture

Living in the smog-filled concrete jungle of Beijing can be a bit depressing, especially for nature lovers. Sure, there are plenty of local parks, but sometimes flying a kite and practicing tai chi just isn’t enough to satisfy the urge for some time in the great outdoors. Luckily, there are tons of worthwhile day trips at your fingertips from the Chinese capital. Hop on a bus in any direction for 1-2 hours, and you’ve got plenty of options available. The best part is that you can make it back home in time to go join your friends for dinner and drinks and make them super jealous of your adventure-filled day, while they most likely sat around hungover and went DVD shopping. Here are five awesome Beijing day trips that come highly recommended, each with a short video:

Beijing Botanical Gardens

Pretty flowers!

Pretty flowers!

If you’re one of those people who likes to stop and smell the flowers, you’d better make a trip out to the Beijing Botanical Gardens, preferably in the spring. It takes just about an hour from the city center to get there by bus, and it’s a great place to spend a day wandering around. Make sure you charge your camera before going, because photo ops abound!

The Fragrant Hills

Beijing doesn't look so bad from up here.

Beijing doesn’t look so bad from up here.

It’s actually possible to combine a trip here with your visit to the gardens, as long as you get up super early and spend the whole day out there. Take the lazy way up on a cable car, or get some exercise and hike it. If the pollution isn’t too bad, you’ll be treated to stunning panoramic views of Beijing. It may look nasty on the ground, but it’s a beautiful city from above.

Jiankou and Mutianyu Great Wall

Hike the wild Great Wall.

Hike the wild Great Wall.

This is definitely one of the best hikes available in the Beijing area. Start at the rugged, wild Jiankou Great Wall, and hike along the wall for a few hours until you reach the developed section of Mutianyu. Here, you can enjoy a toboggan ride down as a reward for all of your hard work.

Shi Du

Easy rafting out at Shi Du.

Easy rafting out at Shi Du.

Dubbed the “Guilin of the North” this scenic area along the Juma River southwest of Beijing is an amazing place to spend a day or an entire weekend if you’re so inclined. Activities here include: hiking, fishing, rafting, horseback riding, and even bungee jumping. It can get crowded on weekends, but if you can get out there during the week the place is practically empty. Cheap guesthouses are everywhere, so it’s not going to break the budget if you decide to overnight.

Red Snail Temple

Great views await you if you're willing to hike to them.

Great views await you if you’re willing to hike to them.

This Buddhist temple is an excellent place to get out and breath some (sort of) fresh air. In addition to the many Buddha statues on display, there’s a nice hike that brings you up to an amazing viewpoint, where you can take in the scenery of Beijing’s beautiful suburbs.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Keep learning Chinese with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


  1. Alexander Krasnov:

    Hello Sasha,
    I’m Alex from LTL Mandarin School.
    I noticed your blog on Transparent Language and wondered if you would be interested in writing a blog post on our blog at LTL?
    You can see the different topics we write about over here:

    Best regards,


Leave a comment: