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There are plenty of scenic spots and places of interest scattered in the plains and hills around the capital, and no visit would be complete without a trip to the Great Wall, accessible in three places within easy journey time of Beijing. The Ming Tombs, another remnant of imperial glory, are often combined with a trip to the nearby wall. In addition, the Western Hills shouldn’t be overlooked, and if you’re in the capital for any length of time, this large stretch of densely wooded parkland provides an invigorating breather from the pressures of the city. Further out, the Jietai and Tanzhe temples are pretty in themselves and, unlike the city’s other temples, they’re attractively situated. Foreign residents rate them as among the best places to escape the city smoke.

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