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Lama Temple and Nanluoguxiang Hutong

Get a taste of Tibetan Buddhism in Beijing at the Yonghegong Lama temple before strolling through Beijing's hutongs.
Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.8 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview:  Get a taste of Tibetan Buddhism, without the possibility of altitude sickness! The Beijing Yonghegong Lama Temple and the nearby... more »

Tips:  Don't be intimidated by the subway in Beijing. Everything is in English as well as Chinese, including announcements, and everything is... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Get started - Yonghegong Lama Temple subway station

This tour starts at Yonghegong Lama temple subway station. You can get here on Line 2 or Line 5 and whichever line you come on, head for exit C. If you use Line 2, turn right and head up the stairs then follow the signs. When you come out the exit, turn left and left again at the corner and walk south along Yonghegong Street. If you used Line 5,... More

The Yonghegong Lama Temple was built in 1694 and actually started life as the home of Prince Yong of the Qin Dynasty. When he ascended the throne, it became known as the Palace of Peace and Harmony which is what "yonghegong" means in Mandarin. It wasn't until 1744 that the palace became a Lama Temple.

Lama temples are temples of Tibetan Buddhism... More

3. Lama Temple - Drum and Bell courtyard

This shady courtyard is a good place to pause to get your bearings. The Drum and Bell, which are found in all Buddhist temples, are on the left and right respectively, there's an altar in the center where you'll find devotees lighting incense and paying their respects to Buddha. Once you've had a quick look around, head straight on through the... More

Yonghe Gate was built in 1694. The Buddha in this pavilion is one of the most recognizable forms of Buddha - the "Big Belly Maitreya." Statues of the "Four Heavenly Kings" are on each side.

The next courtyard (flanked by two "Esoteric Halls" built in 1744 in which monks would study Buddhist scriptures) contains a offering jar into which you can try and throw a coin for luck. Once you've tried this, head on to the Yonghedian gate.

Also built in 1694, the Yonghedian gate has statues of Buddhas of the Three Ages. Sakyamuni (Buddha of ... More

The next courtyard is small and quiet, pass straight through to Yongyoudian. This contains another three buddhas - Amitayus (the Longevity Buddha) in the center, Bhaisajyaguru (Medicine Buddha) on the right and Simhanada (Buddha of Meaningful Wisdom) on the left.

7. Lama Temple - Faiundian

The next courtyard (with two trees) is a pretty and shady break before you get to Faiundian. This large and impressive hall contains a statue of Tsongkhapa who founded the yellow sect of Lamaism which is practiced in Tibet and Tibetan regions. The hall also has desks where visitors can sit when there's a service on.

8. Lama Temple - Wanfuge

Pass through the next courtyard to reach the Lama Temple's main attraction housed in Wanfuge. The final statue of Buddha in the temple holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest statue carved out of one piece of wood. The Buddha here, carved out of white sandalwood, stands 18m above ground, with a further 8m below ground to anchor it.

9. Lama Temple - Tibetan Buddhism Exhibition Hall

Back out in the courtyard, diagonally to the left if you've just come out of Wanfuge and have it behind you, is the Yonghegong Lama Temple exhibition room. This hall has a free exhibit about Tibetan Buddhism - you can see costumes, objects of devotion and traditional thangka paintings. It's definitely worth a look. Head back to the entrance... More

When you come out of the Lama Temple, cross over the road diagonally to the right and head under the arch gateway and along Guo Zi Jian - The Imperial College Road. Along this road (about 300m along on the right) you'll find the Beijing Confucius Temple and the Imperial College itself. Entrance to both costs 30RMB for adults, and, like the Lama... More

11. Andingmen and Guluo

Cross the road when you come to the end of Guo Zi Jian, and turn left. Head south along Andingmen . It's about a ten minute walk to where Andingmen crosses Guluodongdajie (Guluo East street) and you'll see a more modern slice of everyday life in China. Turn right when you get the the crossroads with Guluodongdajie (Guluo East street) and head West... More

Nanluoguxiang runs 786m north-south between Guluodongdajie (Guluo East Street) and Di’anmendongdajie (Di'anmen East Street) with smaller hutong lanes bisecting it east/west along its length. The lane's history dates back to 1267, and the layout is typical of Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) although the area has been regenerated somewhat since then!

... More

13. The Tibet Cafe

Come full circle back to Tibetan culture with a stop off at the Tibet Cafe. Located about half way down Nanluoguxiang on the right hand side, the roof top bar is a great place to rest and people watch.

Drinks (including traditional Tibetan tea) are around 25RMB, and light Tibetan snacks and desserts start at around 30RMB.