|A golden maple leaf floats on Fragrant Hills Park's entrance pool on October 15th in Beijing. (CRIENGLISH.com/William Wang)|
Monday marked the first official day of the Fragrant Hills Park's Red Leaf Festival in Beijing, drawing people to the area to witness the beauty brought on by autumn's dropping temperatures. In fact, there isn't much "festival" to speak of, as no particular activities or performances take place. Nonetheless, from mid-October to November 18th, up to a million people will visit the park to witness the foliage and its golden rust hues.
As of the festival's second day, blue skies and clear weather drew the crowds more than the autumn colors, which aren't expected to be so prominent for another five or ten days. "I didn't see any red leaves!" said visitor, Gu He, in disappointment, a camera dangling limply from her hand. "I'm not so impressed."
Zhang Hua and his parents had just completed their two-hour hike up to the peak, and for them, spotting a few red leaves on the far side of the mountain was enough. "We heard there will be more red leaves, maybe in a week, but then there will be too many tourists. It'll be crowded...we won't come back [next week]. This one time is enough for us to enjoy the scenery," he said.
Fragrant Hills Park
Entrance Fee: 20 yuan
Getting there: From subway line 4's Beigongyuan, take bus 696 to the end of the line. From there, follow signs, or the crowd, 1 km to the park.