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Making the most of autumn in Beijing

By Morag Hobbs (People's Daily Online)    13:47, November 01, 2019

Summer is over, but there’s no reason to be upset as that means autumn is upon us, arguably the best season of the year.

Beijing’s autumn is notoriously short, so parks around the city fill up fast with people coming to see the season’s spectacle – a show of changing colours as the trees turn from crisp green to deep red. There are plenty of places in the city center to catch the golden Gingko leaves, but I’m heading just outside of the fifth ring road to see the season on a larger scale.

Despite parks like Xiangshan getting so busy you need tickets a week in advance, there are still areas lesser-known and frequented by the Beijing crowds, and Baiwangshan, or Baiwang Mountain Forest Park, is one such place. Situation 3km from the Summer Palace to the city’s North West, it costs 6rmb to enter and offers hiking trails and beautiful views of the city and surrounding forests.

Red leaves in Baiwangshan Forest Park (Photo/Tanja Herko)

I love coming to Beijing’s parks at this time of year because everyone is out and about, enjoying the last of the good weather and golden hues. You never know what you’re going to find around every corner. As I stroll around the park today, I stumble across a group of people practicing a few songs on traditional instruments, adding to the atmosphere. It feels a world away from busy Chaoyang District, just an hour away on the metro.

Chatting to other visitors, it seems that I picked the right park to come to. “Baiwangshan is a place that fewer people know. It’s like a private place for Beijingers to enjoy the view of the leaves. Today is warm, so I came here to see if I could catch the tail of autumn,” said one visitor.

The hike up is steep, but worth the view from the top. Walking through the maple forest, the deep reds and oranges are already on display, and a crowd has gathered to pose for photos with the fiery foliage.

“I like the fiery colour so much; it’s like a natural decoration! Every year I look forward to the red leaves festival, just like a celebration,” an onlooker tells me.

Several parks around the city are now putting on their very own natural display, and due to an unexpectantly warm October, the season may last a few more weeks! If you live in Beijing, get out and see the changing season and enjoy nature while you can. It’s closer than you think.

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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