If you have a half day spare in Beijing and wanting to ‘get your Chi on’, I would suggest visiting the Lama Temple, formerly known as the Yonghe Gong Tibetan Lama Temple. A cheap subway ride to the Yonghegong Lama Temple station on the Beijing Subway line 2 and 5 is probably the fastest way to get there.
Simply exit the station, turn left walking south for about 500m and there it is on the left! The entrance is lined with beautiful ancient trees (see above) and the cutest little public bins (yes bins) you have ever seen.
This place gives one real insight into China‘s history. Topped with ornate yellow-tiled roofs, Yong He gong was built in 1694 and originally belonged to the Qing prince who would become the Yongzheng emperor. As was the custom, the complex was converted to a temple after Yongzheng’s move to the Forbidden City in 1744.
Completely worth the approx. 25 Yuan, it is not on the normal tourist track so you can expect to see more of the locals and perhaps even some monks if you’re lucky! The smell of incense brings a relative calm to the bustling Beijing atmosphere and there are these little statue fountains where legend has it that they symbolise the centre of the universe; at the bottom is hell, in the middle the earthly dwellings and at the top, paradise. Some throw coins and it is said if you hit it paradise you might make it there!
- Cherylyn Antao