Beijing’s northwestern suburb draws weekend crowd in search of fun, games and learning during snow season
It doesn’t seem so cold in Beijing’s northwestern suburban district Shunyi as it did in mid December. Green, yellow, red, white and black ski costumes spread the white snowfield at the district’s Lianhuashan ski resort.
“We’ve been receiving an influx of guests, who mostly come on weekends since the chill set in,” says a resort employee surnamed Xu.
The resort has upgraded all of its ski routes to satisfy the needs of skiers of all levels for the upcoming ski season.
Moreover, Lianhuashan has begun to offer night hours this year, and a children ski education zone has been established.
The resort is just one of many highlights visitors could explore in Shunyi this winter.
For those who don’t have time to experience the abundant ice and snow in northern provinces like Heilong jiang and Jilin, or simply cringe at the severely cold temperatures there, Shunyi offers a happy medium.
The district kicked off two months of winter tourism activities on Dec 17, including hot springs and a folk culture park.
More than 600 special gifts with local significance are also being offered to winter vacationers.
The event season is the second session in the past year and was hosted by the Shunyi tourism commission. The local government is eager to transform Shunyi into an international destination for fashion, leisure, shopping and tourism.
Six winter routes featuring parent-child experiences, fruit picking, health preservation, shopping and leisure have been launched to meet the needs of various visitors.
Families could warm their bodies and even sweat at the Lianhuashan ski resort, and then go to the Heyuan Jingyi hot spring to relax and enjoy the children’s buffet and recreational zone there.
Some facilities like Shunlixin and Shuiyuntian still offer the fun of fresh fruit and vegetable picking in the chilly winter.
People can also visit Qicai (seven- color) butterfly park, where children directly interact with flying butterflies and make butterfly specimens. More butterflies have been introduced this year: Now, over 20 varieties of butterflies are available for visitors to feast their eyes on.
The park greeted more than 50,000 visitors during January and February at the last festival.
“It used to be off season for us, but things have picked up a lot after we introduced winter activities last year,” says park official Hu Qun.
Horse-drawn sleds, ice bicycles and ice motorcycles have been introduced to spice up the visitor experience.
Parents and children have been the major force, and most families drive themselves to the destination, Hu adds.
The park has expanded its winter fun zone from 20,000 square meters to 30,000 this year.
The park offers the best of both worlds. Visitors can feel the warmth of spring and play with butterflies indoors, and go out to enjoy ice and snow recreation outside.
For parents who want to integrate fun with education, Hanfeng Genduyuan is the place to go.
It was just opened this September and offers traditional Chinese culture experience for children.
The facility features Han Dynasty heritage and teaches Chinese classics and provides farming experiences for visitors.
Hanfeng received more than 50,000 visitors since its inauguration in September 2016, according to an official with the facility.
Children can walk down an ancient historical street and pick up some history along the way. They can read ancient Chinese bamboo books and practice Chinese calligraphy. Other experiences feature ancient etiquette, intangible art heritage and the chance to play ancient musical instruments.
More importantly, children can get their hands dirty and do some of the farming work to appreciate food and where it comes from.
For group travelers whose number exceeds 20, they can get 10 percent off the 120-yuan ticket for each child.
Parents who accompany their children for various experiences need to pay 20 yuan.
For those with an exotic taste, the Agrilandia Italian Farm offers European charm.
One highlight in the farm is the fireplace guest rooms filled with Italian elements for winter vacationers.
Visitors can enjoy authentic Italian cuisine and learn to make pizza, cake and pottery at the farm.
Roughly 600-700 people paid visits to the farm last winter.
“They mostly came on weekends,” says Zhao Lei, an employee with the farm.
Playground, small zoo, parentchild class and piano learning sessions will be offered at the beginning of the year, according to Zhao.
Industrial tourism is also a choice that Shunyi presents.
One can enjoy a cup of just produced local Yanjing beer, smell the fragrance of the century-old alcohol Niulanshan erguotou, and take in the highly automated production process of Hyundai automobile.
For those who aim for fun from purchasing, Shunyi offers tax-free shopping experiences and a global grape wine facility. Visitors can buy things from abroad in the district.
For urbanites who want to get a break out of the crazy pace of city life, Shunyi seems to offer it all.
Beijing’s Shunyi district of various visitors.