Spirit Way

Top choice in Beijing

A highlight of a visit to the Ming Tombs is to walk the Shen Dao, or Spirit Way, a funerary avenue that plots a sombre course to Cháng Líng, the earliest and largest of the tombs. A feature of imperial tombs since at least as far back as the Han dynasty, the way starts at the Great Palace Gate, passing through the Stele Pavilion containing China's largest stele, to the royal guard of honour: 12 pairs of carved animals, mythical beasts and officials.

The ticketed section of the Spirit Way is about a 1.5km walk. You can keep walking another 4km to Cháng Líng on the regular road between fruit orchards, crossing a couple of old bridges, or you can pick up the 872 bus, which calls at Dìng Líng before its terminus at Cháng Líng.

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