The Mid Autumn festival or moon festival is a type of celebration. It is the second most important holiday in China where people reunite with their families. People travel back to their families to worship and appreciate the brightest and rounded moon on the night of the festival. Many festivities are arranged all over the country for people to enjoy. A few of the best Places To Visit During Moon Festival are listed below.
The Beihai Park (北海公園/北海公园)
The Beihai Park (北海公園/北海公园) in the Imperial Garden, Beijing is one of the best places to visit during the Moon festival. Years ago, it was the Royal Palace where the emperors resided alongside the beautiful Taiye lake.
They saw the divine beauty that the moon was at the night of the festival. Its reflection in the Taiye lake was a sight to behold.
Today, it is a park that has numerous scenic areas and structures that show how brilliant Chinese architecture is. It arranges multiple activities for the visitor to see and take part in during the festival.
Dajue Temple (大觉寺/大覺寺)
Dajue temple (大觉寺/大覺寺), one of the oldest temples in China, built in the year 1068 during the Lao dynasty is known as the ‘Temple of Enlightenment.
It is a place where people go to relax having a cup of green tea while admiring the Full moon. The park has ancient trees, fragrant yulan flowers to add to its soothing environment.
The temple has 5 main buildings, beginning at the main gate followed by the Mahavira Hall, Amitabha Hall, Sarira Pagoda and the Longwang hall where they used to store all the sutras.
Summer Palace (颐和园/頤和園)
One of the places that have been preserved for their history and has a collection of picturesque lakes and magnificent palaces is the Summer Palace (颐和园/頤和園).
It is also included in the World Heritage List. It has over 3000 ancient buildings holding more than 40,000 relics dating back decades in history. The Longevity hill is about 60 meters with contrasting sides to it.
The front is filled with fabulous halls and pavilions while the back is quiet with the marvellous beauty of nature. If you’re planning on blowing off some steam during the festival it is one of the best places to visit. Taking a stroll alongside the lakes and taking in the peace and calm at night will make you forget all your worries and give you a palliative sensation.
Shichahai (什刹海/什剎海) is a lake in the Xicheng( 西城区/西城區) district of Beijing, it is very famous due to the lack of water bodies in that area. This place is the perfect blend of the metropolitan city and ancient customs.
You can see the change in the place from quiet to busy in a day. It has a variety of boutiques, restaurants and scenic routes which seem very calming during the day but by night when colorful lanterns light up and visitors are seen exploring the place becomes eventful.
The best experience you will have at this place will be having a delicious meal on a boat with the lanterns floating beside you.
The calm lake and hearty dinner make an ideal combination in a soothing getaway.
Kangxi Grasslands (康西草原)
If you’re looking to participate in activities that make your heartbeat fast then Kangxi grasslands (康西草原) are the place for you. It is the largest grassland of Beijing with a Guanting reservoir to its west and the Haituo mountains to the north which gives a perfect view to take in while you’re on your getaway.
While here you can go horse riding, camel riding, fishing and skating. In this time of metro trains and cars, experiencing horseback riding, feeling the wind on your face as you cut through it, the smell of freshly cut grass is pure bliss. It not gets your heart racing but makes it relaxed at the same time.
Foodies can enjoy a Mongolian meal here at night prepared by local people for the visitors along with a stay in a yurt. For their entertainment, Mongolian songs and dance is arranged during the night around a bonfire.
Temple of the Moon (月坛/月壇)
A place to visit to witness the rich culture and heritage is the Temple of the Moon (月坛/月壇) or Yuantong Temple (圆通寺) settled west in the ancient imperial city. It was initially a place where the emperors of the Qing and Ming dynasties offered sacrifices to Chang’e and the Goddess of the Stars.
Later on, in 1955 it was opened for the public to visit. The park is divided into the north garden and the south garden. Other than the beautiful gardens and ancient architecture people get a glimpse into the Chinese culture.
Elephant Trunk Hill (象鼻山)
One of the major tourist attractions in Guilin (桂林), China is the elephant trunk hill (象鼻). It is the symbol of the city. Just as its name suggests, it an elephant-shaped hill where the hole between the trunk and body of the elephant is called the moon cave.
During the Mid-Autumn festival, 2 moons can be visible from the moon cave, one in the sky, one in the river as a reflection but appearing as though it is floating on the surface of the water.
A cruise in the river is highly recommended on the night of the festival to perceive the serene beauty of the Moon.
The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔)
The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔) is a five-storeyed pagoda in Xi’an (西安), China. It was first built in 648/649 and then rebuilt in 704. It mainly has ancient relics, sutras and figurines of Lord Gautum Buddha brought to China from India by the Buddhist monk, traveller, scholar and translator Xuanzang.
When you enter the Pagoda, you can see figures of Lord Buddha engraved on the walls by Yan Liben, a seventh-century artist. It is a sight to behold and surely a recommended place to visit during the festival.
Zhujiajiao Water Town (朱家角)
Looking at the moon in water bodies is a blissful feeling for we get to admire the beauty that is the moon in 2 places, water and the sky. One such place to visit is the Zhujiajiao water town (朱家角) in Shanghai.
The entire town is surrounded by lakes and rivers. There are 36 stone bridges for people to cross to go from one side of the river to the other. Though this town was established 1700 years ago, archaeologists have found artefacts dating back 5000 years here. Setting fish-free bridge, restaurants, strolls along the brook are places to enjoy watching the Moon.
Master of the Nets Garden (网师园)
Another iconic place to visit which is also included in the World Heritage List is the Master of The Nets Garden (网师园) in Suzhou (苏州). It is mostly known for the intricate and creative work done on nature.
This garden is an excellent example of the great architectural techniques that people in China possess. It was built in the year 1140 and was then called Ten Thousand Volume Hall. It now has multiple building where various performances are arranged for visitors during the Mid-Autumn festival.
These performances include pingtan (folk story-telling and funny performance), Ku Opera (a type of Chinese Opera), Su Opera, flute playing and classical dances.
One tour around the garden will help you understand the entire Chinese culture and traditions.
West Lake (西湖)
West Lake (西湖) in Hangzhou (杭州), China, is a freshwater lake. It has numerous gardens, artificial and natural islands, pagodas and temples. It is famous for the ‘three pools mirroring the moon’.
There are two stone pagodas deep in the lake where candles are lit at night-time which when seen look like little moons along with the actual moon which makes three moons in total. These pagodas were built in the year 1809 and have been a tourist attraction ever since.
If you’re planning on going on a ride in the lake early in the morning then the mist and sunshine make the view spectacular.
Du fu Thatched Cottage (杜甫草堂)
To add a little nostalgia to the whole experience of the moon watching people visit the Dufu Thatched cottage (杜甫草堂) in the capital province of Sichuan, Chengdu.
The history of the place states that the former resident of the place was a realism poet who was forced to live there to avoid war. He wrote 240 poems during his time there and from then reading and writing poems while watching the moon became a cultural event for scholars.
In today’s time families gather and write and listen to poems while taking in the sweet scent from the Osmanthus tree.
Ancient City Wall (城墙)
One of the changes you might not want to miss is an awesome performance at the south gate of the Ancient City wall (城墙) in Xi’an. The walls are very high and there are no skyscrapers or building around to deter the Wall’s beauty.
It was first built to strengthen the city by bringing the other states as one. When visiting places that have such rich history, it gives you an idea as to how things used to be done in ancient times when there were no resources that we have today.
Huangpu River (黄浦江)
One of the best manmade creations is the Huangpu River (黄浦江). It was made by one of the four lords of the warring states, lord Chunsen. It flows through shanghai and is 113 km long and 9 meters deep.
It plays a major role in dividing the city into two parts, namely, Puxi and Pudong. The best places to visit are the museum of international architecture on the west banks of the river and the museum of international skyscrapers on the east bank of the river.
The view every night is stunning with the nightlife of the city reflecting in the river and it becomes even better during the festival when the reflection of a bright full moon is added. People find it calming and relaxing to have a cup of tea while taking in the scenic view in from of them.
These are the places to visit if you’re going to attend the Moon Festival or the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is a great opportunity to learn about the culture and traditions of China and live like a Chinese person for some time. Along with the beautiful moon, you can also enjoy the delicacies that are specially made only for the festival.