around beijing – a picnic by the silver pagodas

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I think it’s time to write a few more stories about China as we visited so many beautiful places and did a lot of fun things, despite the dangerous smog often surrounding the actual city of BeiJing. So here is one of my favourite places, Silver Mountain Pagoda Forest – or Yinshantalin – 银山塔林, where the children’s school, the British School of Beijing went with 14 bus loads for a family day out. It was a warm, clean and sunny autumn day, and just perfect for a day-long outing!

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Kids playing around the picnic area, right next to the pagodas

The ruins were once part of the great Fahua Temple with fiver towers surrounding it, and the place used to be an important Buddhist location for learning. Over the centuries many monks’ tombs were also built in the area, and they were often shaped like inverse bowls.

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Remains of one of the original five towers
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The details of the stonework are astonishing
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A monk’s tomb on the way to the peak?

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After a picnic in the ruin area we hiked up the trails to the top of the mountain where the views to surrounding valleys and over the site of the Silver Pagodas were very impressive. The hike is a good hour up and probably half the time down, but tone needs to pay attention as there are several trails and they are not marked very well.

Sadly, the pollution and fog was starting to reach this are by late afternoon so we didn’t spend that long on the mountain (it is easy to see the haziness from the Pagoda area picture above). On top there were old bells, which the girls were playing also.

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Another old bell on display on the peak landing
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The views were beautiful looking to the nearby peaks and surrounding valleys 
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VIew down to one of the valleys
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Loosing the views as the fog rises – clearly time to start heading back home!

My review of the SIlver Mountain Pagoda Forest – Yinshantalin – 银山塔林: Good/Excellent

“A great half-day/full-day destination an hour’s drive outside the city in the mountains. The area of the Silver Pagodas is great for a picnic, followed by some brisk hiking up to the mountain, or ever to the nearby village. There are toilet facilities, and one can eat in the nearby village. Pretty clean location also, which is also a plus.”

  • Location: Xihu Village, Xingshou Town, North of Xiaotangshan, Changping District, Beijing, about 60km from the city [昌平区兴寿镇西湖村]
  • Opening hours: 9am -5pm / Entrance fee: 15 RMB

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