It’s hard to believe that Beibinhe Park doesn’t attract more attention, considering it’s home to the ‘world-famous’ Beijing Strange Stone Museum – the BSSM, as it’s even less commonly known. Haven’t heard of it? No, neither had we. But don’t mock too much – if you live in the Gulou area, Beibinhe is your nearest quiet, secluded park. The only problem is it’s so secluded most people have never found it.
After (eventually) locating the BSSM within the park grounds, it at first seems like something of a misnomer, appearing to be less ‘museum’, and more ‘rocky area’ – albeit a perfectly pleasant one. However, on further inspection, tucked away to the east of the park, you’ll find a large hall filled with an impressive variety of ornamental stone species collected from all over the country.
Even if you don’t have a burning passion for geology, there’s plenty to enjoy at Beibinhe Park. It’s shady and quiet, isolated from the noise of the Second Ring Road, and a popular spot for local pensioners – around every corner you’ll find people enjoying table tennis, playing mah jong and exercising on the public gym equipment.
The real gems of this area are the platform pathways along the Hucheng River, just across the road from the park. Set below street level, the platforms expand the space on the riverbank and provide a peaceful place to meditate, take in the surprisingly green scenery and stroll along the river without any of the distractions of the surrounding city.
By Imogen Beecroft