Not to be outdone by the horticulturalists over in Japan, Beijing also has some spectacular classical gardens that make for a great way to spend a day among the greenery!
Beihai Park is perhaps the most well-known of Beijing’s public parks and gardens. It is located very close to the Forbidden City and as such most tourists will explore the cultural relics before heading over to Beihai Park for a spot of sightseeing beside the lake. Many classical Chinese gardens are built beside the water. Water is a key element in maintaining peace of the soul in Chinese culture. I was once at Beihai Park in the snow, and while the below zero temperatures were not very enjoyable, I still had a good time walking around the fairly large gardens here, including checking out the frozen lake! There were no boating opportunities that day, although usually in the summer months you can take a tour on a boat and that way you can check out some of the highlights of the park, including lots of intricate Chinese architecture and decoration.
The Hou Hai back lakes in Beijing have long been known as a way to relax by the water in the Chinese capital. Located in Xicheng district, the gardens here are intricately manicured and is a firm favourite spot for the locals to go about their fishing business. There are also ample opportunities to go boating on the lakes and waterways. There are lots of cafés and bars adjacent to the gardens in which you have some cha and watch the world go by. The whole area in Hou Hai has a very relaxing ambiance, even by night.
Black Bamboo Lake (otherwise known as Purple Bamboo Park, depending on which translation you prefer) is another incredible classical Chinese garden located in the Haidian district of Beijing, and is arguably the most scenic park of them all! The park consists of 3 lakes that span over a huge area and the prominence of stone and water is really evident here, with spectacular semi-circular bridges crossing the water, which in good weather can provide a sexy reflection on the water itself! The park is so-called due to the prominence of bamboo in the area – up to 50 different types – and is a common place for young romantics to come and wile away the evenings.