Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Beijing's Historical Temples Tour I (Self Guided), Beijing

Chinese temples are of unique beauty and have withstood many dynasties, beginning with the Qin Dynasty. Because the temples have always been connected to the imperial families, many of them were destroyed by 1949 when the last dynasty ended. Nevertheless, a great number of beautiful temples with great history still stand in Beijing. Take the following tour to discover the most famous temples in the city:
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Beijing's Historical Temples Tour I Map

Guide Name: Beijing's Historical Temples Tour I
Guide Location: China » Beijing (See other walking tours in Beijing)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 3
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Author: nataly
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Temple of Confucius
  • Yonghe / Lama Temple
  • Temple of Earth
1
Temple of Confucius

1) Temple of Confucius (must see)

The Temple of Confucius was constructed in 1302 and later expanded to occupy 20,000 square meters. Today holds the distinction of being the second largest in China. It is located close to the Imperial Academy on Guozijian Street. Between 1981 and 2005, this temple housed part of the Capital Museum’s art collection.

As you enter the temple’s complex, you will find four courtyards that are aligned along the central axis. Some of the prominent structures that extend from south to north of the temple include the Dacheng Gate, Xianshi Gate, Chongshengci and the Dacheng Hall.

On each side of the front courtyard, you will find positioned 198 stone tablets with an inscription of names of Jinshi or advanced scholars from the Qing, Ming and Yuan dynasties. Ancient Chinese historical documents can be found at the Qing and Ming dynasty’s 14 stele pavilions made of stone.

Don't miss out on the drums made of carved stone. These drums were made during the Qianlong period between 1736 and 1795. In the Hall of Great Perfection, you will find an ancient Chinese musical instruments collection. Confucius’ shrine is also in this hall.

The temple ground features a variety of attractive carvings. Pay a visit to this beautiful and interesting temple on your trip to Beijing.

Why You Should Visit:
Great place to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the temple & complex. Plenty of places to sit out of the heat or to explore the intricacies of the temple decorations within.

Tip:
The temple's gift shop has gorgeous paper cuttings and prints that you're less likely to find elsewhere.
You can combine this visit with the Yonghe Temple, as they are less than 100m from each other. Also in front, you have the beautiful Dadu Museum of Art.

Opening Hours:
Temple & Mansion of Confucius: 8am-5:30pm; Cemetery of Confucius: 8am-6pm
2
Yonghe / Lama Temple

2) Yonghe / Lama Temple (must see)

Located in the north east part of Beijing city, Yonghe Temple is popularly known as the Lama Temple. This monastery and temple attached to Tibetan Buddhism’s Geluk School is one of the most important and largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and is constructed in Tibetan and Han Chinese style.

Construction of this temple started during the Qing Dynasty in 1694 and originally the building was used as the residence of court eunuchs. Later on, it was converted to Prince Yong’s court. He was the son of Kangxi Emperor and the future Yongzheng Emperor. When he ascended the throne in 1722, Yongzheng converted half of the building into a monastery for Tibetan Buddhism monks retaining the other half as the imperial palace. This temple houses his coffin since 1735 when he died.

Qianlong Emperor, his successor, elevated the temple to the imperial status by symbolically changing the turquoise tiles to yellow tiles, usually reserved for emperors. Monks from Tibet and Mongolia started using this monastery as their residence and ever since this Lamasery has grown to be the national center of Lama Administration.

Yonghe Temple has successfully survived the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s-70s, largely due to the protection of Zhou Enlai, then Prime Minister of China. In 1981, the temple was reopened to the public. Today it attracts a lot of tourists from all parts of the world.

Why You Should Visit:
While the temple is quite beautiful in itself, the ability to see the largest Buddha carved from a single piece of wood is a big highlight here.
As a plus, there's none of the shouting and camera shoving activities you tend to see elsewhere, as tourists tend to be more respectful.

Tip:
Upon entering, you can receive free incense to burn on site (don't use it all at once) or take home as a nice memento.
Across the street from the subway exit, there's a tea shop that also sells ice cream, very popular with locals!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-4:30pm
3
Temple of Earth

3) Temple of Earth

Just outside the second ring road in Beijing, around the Andingmen area, you can find the Temple of Earth. This temple is spread over 42.7 acres and is close to the famous Yonghe Temple.

Temple of Earth was built by Emperor Jia Jing of the Ming Dynasty in 1530. Here, annual ritual of offering to the heaven was held during summer solstice and was attended by Qing and Ming dynasty emperors.

As you enter the temple premises, you will find charming tree lined paths and lush gardens. It was restored and renovated over a period of time after being damaged during the Cultural Revolution. The temple is square in shape because it symbolizes the Earth. It is located to the north of Beijing because north is the direction of Earth.

Circular shaped Temple of Heaven is located to the South of Beijing. This temple symbolizes sky and heaven. To the East and West lie the temples of Sun and Moon respectively. These four temples are believed to interact in a spiritual manner. Temple of Earth has been listed by the Chinese government among the most important monuments to be preserved. Do not miss a visit to this wonderful temple on your trip to Beijing.

Walking Tours in Beijing, China

Create Your Own Walk in Beijing

Create Your Own Walk in Beijing

Creating your own self-guided walk in Beijing is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Beijing's Historical Temples Tour II

Beijing's Historical Temples Tour II

Beijing’s places of worship are some of the best links to the city's history. The unique churches, Buddhist and Taoist Temples, and beautiful Muslim Mosques all tell great tales of the history of Beijing. Many of them have been partially or completely destroyed over the years either structurally by wars, or internally by the changes of political power. Visit the most beautiful places of...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Xicheng District Walking Tour

Xicheng District Walking Tour

Xicheng District includes the largest part of the old city. In this part of Beijing, you will find fascinating Chinese architecture, the oldest standing Catholic Church and beautiful parks. Take the following tour to discover the most popular and prominent attractions in Xicheng District of Beijing.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles
Olympic Park Walking Tour

Olympic Park Walking Tour

Olympic Park was built in Beijing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2008. This complex of modern buildings boasts a unique architectural approach compared to the more traditional builings that fill the city. A multicolored rainbow illuminates the park, making it the perfect place for an evening walk. Take the following tour to discover the unique buildings of Olympic Park that represent...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Beijing City Center Walking Tour

Beijing City Center Walking Tour

Beijing has been a political, educational, cultural and economic center for centuries. Today, it is one of the greatest remnants of the Chinese Imperial past. Along with its famous City Wall and Forbidden City, this sightseeing tour will guide you through Beijing's most popular attractions in the heart of the city:

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 Km or 2.7 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Most Popular Desserts and Drinks in Beijing

Most Popular Desserts and Drinks in Beijing

No meal is complete without a sweet touch and a proper drink to wash it all down. Beijing's food scene is rich and colorful in many ways, and the dessert & drink areas are no exception. Some of the signature Beijing delicacies have gained popularity across Asia over the centuries, whereas...
Shopping in Beijing: 18 Travel Mementos

Shopping in Beijing: 18 Travel Mementos

Today, it is safe to assume that 9 out of 10 souvenirs worldwide (regardless of the country) are made in China, the workshop of the world. But how about shopping for souvenirs in China itself and Beijing, in particular? Presented here are some of the traditional Chinese-made goods, initially...
Best Street Foods to Try in Beijing

Best Street Foods to Try in Beijing

China's passion for food – long in history as The Great Wall of China itself – is clearly manifested in its street food culture. This is particularly noticeable on the streets of Beijing, teeming with numerous vendors and thick with aromas. Whether you're a vegan, vegetarian or a...
Top 10 Foods to Try in Beijing

Top 10 Foods to Try in Beijing

Centuries went by and the regional Chinese, Manchurian, Mongol and Muslim cuisines boiled together to produce what's now known and loved as traditional Beijing cooking. Whenever you're in the Chinese capital, don't leave without tasting at least some of the key local meals or your...