Western and Southern Suburbs is in Beijing and consists of the administrative districts Mentougou District (门头沟区; Méntóugōuqū), Fangshan District (房山区; Fángshānqū) and Daxing District (大兴区; Dàxīngqū).
Public bus service from central Beijing to Mentougou largely starts from Pingguoyuan (final western station of Beijing Subway Line 1). Buses 336 and 931 run from Pingguoyuan (苹果园 Píngguǒyuán) to Hetan (河滩 Hétān) in Mentougou District. From there bus lines to most places of interest in the area can be taken. However, for trips from Beijing city, renting a taxi for a day might be easier and less time intensive. A Suburban Railway Line to Mentougou is in planning.
There are five railway stations in Daxing District. Huangcun (荒村 Huāngcūn) railway station is served by several trains from Beijing, the fastest being no. 4487 from Beijing West Railway station, taking 21 minutes. Trains from Beijing Railway station take approx. 30 minutes (no. 4401, 4405, 4419, 6451). Access to Daxing District also comes via Beijing Subway Line 4. This line connects the Northern Fifth Ring Rd with the Southern Sixth Ring Rd, running straight through Beijing's city center.
- Tanzhe Temple (潭柘寺 Tánzhèsì), (Take bus 931 from Pingguoyuan Stn (Line 1) to Tanzhesi bus stop), . Buddhist temple dating back as far as the Western Jin Dynasty (more than 1,600 years ago). It is one of the oldest and largest temples in Beijing. The site is especially beautiful to visit in April when the surrounding Magnolia trees are in full bloom. ¥55 (students and seniors ¥30).
- Jietai Temple (戒台寺 Jiètáisì), (Take bus 931 from Pingguoyuan Stn (Line 1) to Jietaisi bus stop), ☎ +86 10 69806611, . 08:00-17:30. Though not as popular and well-visited as Tanzhe Temple, this smaller Buddhist temple is definitely worth a visit. It was originally built about 1,400 years ago, but its most famous features have been added later during Ming and Qing dynasties. A special attraction of this site are the huge pine trees, some of them being hundreds of years old. ¥45 (students and seniors ¥22).
- Mt. Lingshan Scenic Resort (灵山自然风景区 Língshān zìrán fēngjǐngqū). At 2,300 meters tall, Mt.Lingshan is the tallest mountain in Beijing.
- Cuandixia (爨底下), (Pingguoyuan Stn (Line 1). Leave by southwest Exit A, walk towards west around 200m until bus stop 892/929. Then take the public bus 892 to Zhaitang (about 2:20 hours. 16-18RMB cash, 6-8RMB with yikatong subway card) 6km away from Cuandixia, and then take a private taxi to Cuandixia, don't pay more than 10RMB per person, 3 people can cost 20RMB or you can walk 6km from Zhaitang to southern entrance to Cuandixia. There is supposed to be direct bus 929支 leaving from Pingguoyuan at 12:40, and one in early morning, but by information from conductor sitting in different 929 in 3/2014 was this bus discontinued. Be aware there are many buses 929 driving to many different places, so ask the bus driver if he drives to Cuandixia or Zhaitang always. You can go to Cuandixia also directly by private taxi from Pingguoyuan subway, taxi for 3 people can cost 150RMB (1st offer 260RMB), always ask if it's including 35RMB ticket or not since it makes quite big difference.). A beautiful ancient mountain village. It is very small, only around 70 traditional court yards. It is renovated nicely and seems rather authentic. Go in the weekdays if you want peace and quiet, as many Chinese tourist from Beijing are said to go there on weekends. To visit village you must pay also ticket - 35RMB for adult, 18RMB for student if you enter through southern end 6km from Zhaitang. If you make deal with black (private) taxi drivers they can enter from North (30km detour through Baiyu instead of 6km) and you can avoid paying for ticket, but money you will save will go instead to taxi driver so make your math and bargain accordingly. In general it should be cheaper than 6km taxi+official ticket, you can go as low as 40RMB per 30km ride + free "ticket" (normally 10+35RMB through official entrance), maybe even lower depending on your bargaining skills and amount of people and this way you support local people running taxis instead of giving money to government through official tickets to enter into village. Nobody is checking tickets later when walking around Cuandixia or leaving through southern end. In the summer months the climate is nicer than in Beijing because of the cooler mountain air. In the winter it could be cold, but the beds are heated, so it is still possible to go. Do at least an overnight trip or you will spend most of your time in the bus and not have time to enjoy the peace in the beautiful village. You can easily spend one day in the village walking around on the mountain paths. Day 2 can be spent visiting the nearby village Baiyu, and seeing the sights around Cuandixia. Day 3 can be spent on visiting more ancient villages and scenic spots a little further away. You can also jump from one village to the next and stay one night in each. But in general everything in Cuandixia can be sen during few hours, you can climb hills from both sides easily by paved path with steps very fast and walking around village also doesn't take much time. Almost every home has a restaurant and the quality is generally good and prices low. All business have cartel deal here, prices in restaurants and prices of accommodation are same everywhere, basic meals like soup cost 15RMB, vegetable dishes 15-20RMB, meat dishes start from 20-25RMB up, rice 2RMB, beer 8RMB, 248ml Artic Ocean yellow lemonade 5RMB, all quoted prices March 2014. Almost every home in the village is a guesthouse, so it is no problem finding a place to sleep. Prices are extremely high because of cartel deal, even outside high season in March 2014 is asking price for simple room on Saturday for two without shower 100RMB and they don't want to bargain lower even for Chinese people, bigger room with bigger bed will cost you 160RMB, if you take one small and one big room you can go to 200RMB. There are also rooms for 100RMB which can accommodate 4 people and rooms with big traditional heated bed for 8 people for 260RMB asking price on Saturday off season. During peak season expect even higher prices for simple room, which are basically prices of cheapest rooms in Beijing hotels so make your mind if you want to support this kind of business - ticket to enter village + cartel prices of food/accommodation. 18RMB cash, ~6-8RMB with yikatong subway card.
- The Cave of Peking Man, Zhoukoudian Village (50 km SW of city centre, take bus 917 at Tianqiao Bus Terminus and then another bus to Zhoukoudian Village). This is the former residence of the Peking Man dating back 200,000-500,000 years. The caves and some exhibition halls can be seen here. Most of the remains of the Peking Man disappear during World War II and have never been found again.
- Mt. Shangfang National Forest Park (上方山国家森林公园 Shàngfāngshān guójiā sēnlíngōngyuán). 08:00-20:00. With an area covering more than 300 hectares, this is the biggest National Forest Park in North China. There are nine caves, 12 peaks and 72 temples to discover in this park. The most famous are:
- Cloud and Water Cave (云水洞 Yúnshuǐdòng). Beautiful 613 meters long carst cave, featuring the highest (37 meters) stalagmite in China. ¥40.
- Tianzhu Peak (天柱峰 Tiānzhùfēng).
- Yunju Temple (云居寺 Yúnjūsì).
- China Printing Museum (中国印刷博物馆 Zhōngguó yìnshuā bówùguǎn), 25 N Xinghua Rd, Huangcun,黄村兴华北路25号. 08:30-14:30. ¥20 (students half price).
- Ikea, 2 Hongfu Xi Lu, Daxing District (Xihongmen Stn (Line 4)), (toll free: +86 400 800 2345, [email protected]), . Daily 10:00-22:00. Beijing maintains two Ikeas, one of the few cities in the world to be home to more than one.
- Youth Holiday Hotel (北京青年假日酒店; Běijīng qīngnián jiàrì jiǔdiàn), 6 S Guiyuan Rd, Daxing District (大兴区圆南路6号; Dàxīngqū Yuánnánlù, ☎ +86 10 6789-5716 (fax: +86 10 6789-5756). Rooms with free internet and purified water. Business center, gift shop, beauty salon, ticket office, laundry service, karaoke, fitness facilities, and massage available. Chinese restaurant and room service. Lister rates for doubles from ¥238, discounted from ¥190; breakfast ¥10.