The Fall is finally here so everywhere i looked i saw that beautiful yellow color of the Gingko 银杏 (yínxìng) trees. There are only a few weeks to capture it before the winter arrives and all the trees will remain bear (usually from mid October to the first week of November but this year- 2013- the temperature are higher so there is still time!) so I planed a Fall Photography day:
starting from Diaoyutai Ginkgo Avenue at the early morning, to the Sanlitun north street avenue , to Fragrant hills - Xianshang park. It was a very long day and quite heavy as i was carrying both my digital and 120mm film camera, i wouldn't recommend you do the same.
Diaoyutai Ginkgo Avenue
Pinyin: Yínxìng dàdào Diàoyútái yínxìng dàdào
location in Google maps: 39.915209,116.334325
location for Taxi : 西城区三里河路钓鱼台国宾馆东墙外
Diaoyutai Ginkgo Avenue is a famous location for Beijingers at the fall. all the Ginkgo trees turn to beautiful yellow around the middle of October and then start to shed their leaves in the first or second week of November. The avenue has two parts to make sure to first go all the to it's end and then choose the right spot for you. when you think about big Yellow trees you probably think about the golden hour at sunrise or sunset, but beware - the Avenue is a Meca for all photographers and Photography groups so any time after 08:00 in the morning you can expect to find dozens if not hundreds of people taking pictures from one side of the avenue to the other - where you can find the other groups...
Sanlitun north street avenue
Pinyin: Sānlǐtún běi lù
location in Google maps: 39.941536,116.455341
location for Taxi : 东直门 和 笋立屯 路口
located just on the north side of Sunlitun street (intersection of Dongzhimen and Sunlitun) this Avenue is on the side of a main road. the Ginkgo trees are on the bicycle lane so take care. and if you're wondering - the picture is strait off the camera, no tweaks.
Fragrant hills - Xianshang park
Pinyin: Xiāngshān gōngyuán
location in Google maps: 39.990914,116.19175
location for Taxi : 香山公园
Fragrant hills is the most famous park in Beijing - in other words that means you can expect to see thousands of people from all across China. the best way to get their is by subway even if you own a car simply because of the traffic jam of 30-45 minutes in the entrance to the park. even after you crossed that the parking lot is small and in the beginning of the long street that leads to the park.
Subway - just get on the line 4 and get of at the north part of it - Beigongmen station. from there you can take a bus for 1 yuan or a taxi for 30 yuan. the distance is 10 minutes with no traffic - and 40 with traffic to the west gate. also if the taxi driver asks if he can put you "close" to the entrance - just say NO... it's not close at all. the street that leads to the park is a tourist trap with food/stores/presents shops for 1 Km.
The ticket is 15 yuan and from the west gate ( not the north one) I hiked through all the park from one side to the peak and down, on foot. so i can tell you this:
there is definitely no need to do that. the best place to see all of the view is from the peak but the view is not that interesting. there are some wish trees and in any case you
can use the cable car to get there! i found that the most beautiful part was if you enter from the west gate and take the right turn towards the small coffee shop and up the mountain for 20 minutes or so. in that area there's a small area with Ginkgo trees and after that (up the mountain) there's a nice view. more than that is more of the same and you are walking behind people all day on some very challenging stairs.
all and all I would think that this will be the last time i will visit - although the park is very nice and has some spots it also has too many people and is very commercial ( and i visited on a Monday morning that was considered to be mild)