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Beihai Park is in the center of downtown Beijing, just north of the Forbidden City and west of Jingshan Park. It was the pleasure palace of Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing emperors, and the park is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved ancient imperial gardens in China. The park covers about 710,000 square meters, more than half of which are taken up by lakes. It reflects not only a classic combination of the grandiosity of Chinese northern gardens and the refinement of the southern gardens, but also perfectly integrates magnificent imperial palaces with solemn religious constructions.
Don't miss: White Dagoba, Nine-Dragon Screen, Beihai Botanical Garden
Best time to visit: March to October
Admission: 10 yuan (March to October); 5 yuan (November to February)
Getting there: Take Bus 13, 107, 111, 118, 701, 814, 823 to the North Gate; Bus 101, 103, 109, 812, 814, 846 to the South Gate; or Bus 5, 810 to the East Gate.