2012 Fragrant Hills Red Leaf Festival 

Written by Oct 16, 2012 03:06
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On Oct. 12, 2012, 24th Fragrant Hills Red Leaf Festival kicked off. This year’s red leaf festival will last from Oct. 12 to Nov. 11, 2012, 31 days in all, which is the longest in history. It is estimated that 1.5 million tourists will visit Fragrant Hills Park during the red leaf festival.

As its name indicates, 2012 Fragrant Hills Red Leaf Festival will be held in Fragrant Hills Park in Haidian District, Beijing. Here is some useful information about the park:

Opening Hours: 06:00 to 18:30 (Fragrant Hills Park)
08:00 to 16:30 (Biyun Temple)
Cable Car: 08:30 to 17:30 on weekdays during the red leaf festival
08:00 to 17:30 at weekends during the red leaf festival (The operating hours will be adjusted according to the number of tourists)

Entrance tickets: CNY 10 for the Fragrant Hills Park and CNY 10 for the Biyun Temple during the red leaf festival

When to appreciate the red leaves

From mid October to late October, tourists can see green, yellow and red leaves together
From late October to early November, all leaves turn into red. It’s the best time to see the red leaves on the Fragrant Hills.

From early November to mid November, red leave start to fall from the trees in the autumn wind. All roads are covered by the red leaves. What a beautiful picture!

where to appreciate the beauty of the red leaves
fragrant hills park map

No.1 Tranquility Green Lake

The lake is very close to the East Gate of the Fragrant Hills Park. Tourists just need to walk around 5 minutes to the lakeside. Arriving at the lakeside, tourists can climb the steps to reach the small hill to the south of the lake. There is a place called Qing Wei Liao Ruins. It was built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong but was ruined by the joint Anglo-French Forces in 1860. Standing at the ruins, tourists can have a bird-view of the red leaves.

No.2 Rising Cloud Pavilion

Located at the eastern slope of Xunlu Slope, the pavilion is surrounded by the red leaves trees. Here tourists can appreciate the red leaves as well as the mountains.

Usually there are four routes to appreciate the red leaves:

No.1 East Gate – Tranquility Green Lake – Cuiwei Pavilion – Shuangqing Villa – Fragrant Hills Temple – Langfeng Pavilion – Heshun Gate – Yutai Gate – Xianglu Peak

Note: Ancient emperors take this route to view the Fragrant Hills Park.

No.2 Energy – saving route
Entering from the East Gate, tourists can see two maple trees. Keeping walking toward south for 5 minutes, tourists will arrive at the Tranquility Green Lake where they can see red leaves spreading the mountains. Here is also a location to take pictures.

No.3 Cable car route
Tourists can take Fragrant Hills Cable car to reach the Xianglu Peak directly. During their 17 minutes journey, tourists can have a bird’s eye view of the red leaves, which is totally different from the scenery seen on the horizon.

No.4 A round trip on the Fragrant Hills

At the Qing Wei Liao Ruins, tourists can also see Diamond Seat Pagoda in the Biyun Temple and as well as the Glazed Pagoda. Or they can see the panoramic view of the Fragrant Hills from south to north.

Transportation Tips:
Public buses: No. 318, 331, 360, 634, 714, 696 and 698

Photography Tips:

How to shoot pictures of red leaves: If your picture is over exposed, the saturation becomes low and details get lost. If you take front light pictures, generally speaking, you needn’t adjust the exposure compensation value. If you take back light pictures, you have to adjust the exposure compensation value according to the environment. Under such circumstance, better use manual mode to take pictures.

No.1 Try to shoot picture with the application of different light directions.

Many people prefer to use front light because it makes metering very easy. But it give no three-dimensionality to your pictures. Side light and back light are much better. See these two pictures of red leaves.

backlight 2

No.2 Close shot is much better than long distance shot and medium shot.
close shot

distant shot

No.3 Don’t forget the background in your pictures.

Check this picture. The green background and the red leaves make a strong contrast.

No.4 Do not ignore the “vitality” in your pictures.

Red leaves burn their lives and finally fall from the trees.

No.5 Blue sky makes your picture better.
blue sky

More places to appreciate red leaves:

No.1 Hongluo Mountain
How to go there: take No.916 or 936 bus from Dongzhimen, Beijing to Huairou District and then change mini bus to Hongluo Mountain

No.2 Badaling
Best time to go there: Late September to late October 16, 2012
Entrance ticket: CNY 25
How to get there:
1. take red leaf special line from Deshengmen, Beijing to the entrance of the red leaf ridge in Badaling. It takes about 50 minutes and costs CNY 12 (60% discount if you have Beijing Transportation card)
2. take No.919 bus from Deshengmen to Badaling. Remember there are six No. 919 lines. Do take buses that stop at Badaling.
3. take train from Beijing North Railway Station to get off at Qinglongqiao Railway Station and then go to the scenic area.

No.3 Beigong Forest Park
Best time to go there: early October to mid November
Entrance ticket: CNY 5 (Dec. 1 to Mar. 31) and CNY 10 (Apr. 1 to Nov. 30)
How to go there: take No.310 bus to get off at Xinzhuang or No.385 bus to Beigong Forest Park directly.

No.4 Miaofeng Mountain
Entrance ticket: CNY 40
How to go there: take No.892 bus near the Pingguoyuan subway station
Bus schedule: for reference only
06:00 Jiangou Village (Miaofeng Mountain) to Pingguoyuan subway station
09:30 Pingguoyuan subway station to Jiangou Village
11:00 Jiangou Village to Pingguoyuan subway station
14:00 Pingguoyuan subway station to Jiangou Village
16:00 Jiangou Village to Pingguoyuan subway station
17:40 Pingguoyuan subway station to Jiangou Village

No.5 Mutianyu Great Wall
Best time to go there: mid October to late November
Entrance ticket: CNY 40
How to go there: take No.916 or 936 bus from Dongzhimen to Huairou and then change Tongtai line to Mutianyu.

No.6 Olympic Forest Park
Best time to go there: late October to early November
How to go there: take subway line 8 to the south gate of the Olympic Forest Park.

No.7 Jinhaihu Scenic Area
Best time to go there: early October to early November
How to go there: take No.918 bus from Dongzhimen to the scenic area directly

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Comments (4)


Sep 19, 2013 05:10 Reply

Mr.KRUIJSEN from Netherlands said:

Hallo everyone, i am a journalist and I want to speak to someone who travels every year to this festival and loves the autumn. Contact me please akruijsen@gmail.com


Sep 11, 2013 01:22 Reply


Enjoy nice trips to china during chinese new year


Aug 10, 2013 20:37 Reply


Thank you for sharing what I also found to be a great and exhilarating experience. I go every year now. Those are great photos too!


Oct 19, 2012 03:40 Reply

Mrs.IVAN from chia said:

mavellous. it is so beautful.if i have time i will go there to have a look.

Oct 20, 2012 21:37
STEVENLEE replied:

Wish you a nice trip. Don't forget to share wonderful pictures with us.

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