Sunday, May 8, 2016

Gubei Water Town

by Regin Reyno

Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

We took the bus from Donzhimen bus station in Beijing that day. For just 2 RMB or so, (not really sure because we just swiped our transit card) we travelled for about an hour until we reached Miyun. Then from Miyun, we transferred to another bus going to Simatai Village-another 1 hour travel passing by wonderful country-side scenery. And, again, we just swiped our transit card. 

With a distance of 145 km from Beijing, Gubei Water Town is a respite; a break from city life, a perfect destination on a weekend. It is a replica water town located at the foot of Simatai Great Wall in Gubeikou, Miyun Country. It represents the towns in Northern China thousands of years ago. It is also similar to Wuzhen water town in Zhejiang, China.

It was a beautiful mid-spring day. Flowers are still blooming and rich green foliage are now covering the once bare vegetation because of the recently concluded Northern China winter. That day, temperature was perfect. The bitter cold of winter is gone and at the same time, the irritating heat of summer hasn’t arrived yet. So we were in our comfortable clothes, walking and enjoying the beautiful water town.

We were greeted by a magical place where its like you are instantly transported to a different planet. Traditional Chinese houses, cobbled streets, marvelous oriental gates, the absence of cars, traditional tea houses, laid-back bars, awesome mountain view, outdoor cafes- and most of all, waterways or canals. Its emerald green water crisscrossing the town is a beauty to behold.

The view and ambiance is fantastic. We felt really relaxed, like time stood still. And, unlike other China tourist destinations, this one is not crowded. 

After traveling for almost 2 hours, we felt really hungry. We ate at a traditional Chinese restaurant and had Northern Chinese cuisine. That was so good. And, now we’re ready to explore more of the place.

Living and working in busy Beijing, this kind of destination is really appreciated. Quite town where you can just sit at an outdoor cafe, relaxing, chatting and just watch the world pass by. It also gave us an idea on how the Northern Chinese lived back in the day. We were able to experience their kind of community thousands of years ago. 

The water town offers boat rides, as well. With those canals, it has a Venetian feel. We even teased the boatmen challenging them to sing opera while rowing. 

It has a square, church, and martial arts temple.

My favorite spots are the church-where you can have a bird’s eye view of the town, and an outdoor cafe with a view of the Simatai Great Wall-where we had a rest after hours of wandering. 

Drinking your favorite beverage while chatting with a view no less than the Great Wall of China, a river by your side-and oh, a beautiful sunny spring day; these are the reasons why we travel.

We capped off our trip by going on a spot overlooking the city to view the glowing Northern China sunset over a pagoda. 

                                                              Here's our video of the trip

How about you? Where's your favorite weekend getaway?


Transportation from Beijing: Take the public bus 980 at Dongzhimen Station and get off at Miyun West Bridge Station. Then take the bus Mi 38 or Mi 51 to Simatai Village, and walk to the destination.

Buses going back to Beijing is until 4:30pm only
Taxi costs 400-600 RMB, so I advice you to sleep there at least 1 night

Accommodation: There are two 5 star hotels and a lot of inns in the water town

Admission Fee: 150 RMB

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