Top 10 destinations for mid-autumn day

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-9-19 9:40:11

The Mid-Autumn Festival, the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, falls on September 19 this year according to the Gregorian calendar. On this traditional Chinese festival, besides eating moon cakes, enjoying the full moon with family and friends is also a must. Want to enjoy the moonlight in a unique and interesting way? Let show the best places to enjoy the moon this year.

No. 1 Beijing Planetarium (北京天文馆)

Beijing Planetarium, situated at the Xizhimenwai Avenue of Xicheng District, is a national-level natural science museum. Built in 1957, the museum is the first planetarium in China and was the only one in Asia at that time. There are two astronomical observatories in the courtyard, one of which is equipped with a huge telescope measuring 13 centimeters in diameter. Visitors can observe the moon, planets, nebulae and star clusters. On Mid-Autumn Day evening, to watch the full moon through a telescope is surely a special and unforgettable way to enjoy the festival.

No. 2 Marco Polo Bridge (卢沟桥)

In his world-renowned book "The Travels of Marco Polo", the Italian traveler wrote, "Over this river there is a very fine stone bridge, so fine indeed, that it has very few equals in the world." The bridge here refers to Lugou Bridge, or known as Marco Polo Bridge to Westerners, which is situated in Beijing's Fengtai District. Originally built in 1189, the bridge is 266.5 meters (874 feet) long, 9.3-meters (30.5 feet) wide, and supported by 281 pillars on which stand numerous stone lions. At the extreme of the bridge there is a stone stele bearing the inscription "The Moon over the Lugou Bridge at Dawn" in the handwriting of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) of the Qing Dynasty. Since then, the bridge has been a renowned scenic spot to admire the exquisite stone sculptures and the glorious full moon.

No. 3 China World Trade Center Tower III (国贸三期)

China World Trade Center Tower III, completed in 2009, is a super-tall skyscraper located in Beijing's central business district. Standing 330 meters high, the 80-story building is the third phase of the China World Trade Center complex, and currently the tallest among the 22 completed skyscrapers in the downtown area. On Mid-Autumn Day, standing on the 80th story of the building, you can take a bird's eye view of the entire neon light-covered city and have a closer look at the full moon.

No. 4 Temple of the Moon (月坛公园)

Temple of the Moon, or Yuetan Park, is nestled to the west of the ancient imperial city. Built in 1530, the altar was the place where emperors of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1636-1911) Dynasties offered sacrifice to the God of the Moon and the Gods of the Stars. In 1955, the temple was renovated and opened to public as a park. Covering an area of 8.12 hectares, the park consists of two parts: north garden and south garden. Besides beautiful plants and ancient architectures, strolling around the altar, visitors can experience a closer view of Chinese history, especially regarding the culture of Mid-autumn Day.

No. 5  Kangxi Grassland (康西草原)

Kangxi Grassland, situated to the west of Badaling Great Wall, is about 80 kilometers away from downtown. Covering an area of about 22 square kilometers, it is the largest grassland in Beijing. With Guanting Reservoir to the west and Haituo Mountain to the north, the grassland is a wonderful place for people to go out and get some fresh air. Besides enjoy the moonlight, there are various interesting activities you can try out in the grassland, including horse riding, camel riding, boating, fishing and skating. Visitors can also have a taste of Mongolian lifestyle, complete with a night's stay in a yurt, Mongolian song and dance, milk tea, airag (a fermented milk drink), Mongolian cheese and roast rabbit and goat.

No. 6  Kunyu River (昆玉河)

The Kunyu River waterway runs about 10 kilometers from Bayi Lake near Yuyuantan Park to Kunming Lake at the Summer Palace. The river cruise on Kunyu River is one of the three most popular boat tours in Beijing. The boats depart from Bayi Lake, passing China Millennium Monument, Yuyuantan Park, China Central Television Tower, Jinyuan Mall, Linglong Park, and finally arrive at the Summer Palace. When the Mid-Autumn Day evening comes, taking a boat tour under the amazing full moon, you will escape from all the hustle and bustle and find yourself in a shelter of serenity.

No. 7  Shichahai (什刹海)

Close to north-south axis of the city, Shichahai is located in Xicheng District. As the only open water scenery in the ancient capital, it is composed of Qianhai (Front Lake), Houhai (Back Lake) and Xihai (West Lake). Besides ancient temples and historic sites, the area also features various hutongs, restaurants, clubs, cafes and boutiques. As sunset approaches, the bright lights, traditional lanterns and numerous visitors transform the area from a quiet escape to a bustling place with excitement and energy. Wandering along the lakeside, taking a ride in a pedicab, or having a drink with friends in a chic bar, you will surely find your preferred way to enjoy the night.

No. 8  Summer Palace (颐和园)

The Summer Palace is regarded as the best-preserved imperial garden in the world, and is the largest of its kind in modern-day China. Situated in the northwestern outskirts of Beijing, the palace occupies an area of 290 hectares and consists mainly of Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake. In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace an "outstanding expression of the creative art of Chinese Landscape Garden Design, incorporating the works of humankind and nature in a harmonious whole." Walking along the lakeside under the charming moonlight, you will forget the time and get an authentic taste of ancient Chinese culture.

No. 9  Dajue Temple (西山大觉寺)

Dajue Temple, also known as the Temple of Enlightenment, is nestled at the foot of Yangtai Hill in Beijing's western suburbs. Founded around the year of 1068 during Liao Dynasty (907-1125), the Buddhist temple has a long history of nearly 950 years. It features ancient trees, charming Yulan flowers, and a tranquil and serene environment. When evening comes, sitting in the quite courtyard and savoring a cup of green tea in the hazy moonlight, your troubles and worries will disappear immediately.

No. 10 Beihai Park (北海公园)

Beihai Park, located to the west of the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park, is the oldest and best-preserved ancient imperial garden in China. It was the former royal palace for successive dynasties. The park has an area of 68 hectares, half of which is covered by the Taiye Lake. On the Mid-Autumn Day evening, rowing a boat in the glistening water, with glorious full moon up in the sky, artificial hills, pavilions and corridors flowing around, your body and soul will be relaxed and at peace.

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