The Tangshan Hot Springs are situated about 30 kilometers north of Beijing proper on the road leading to the eastern range of the Western Hills. The springs can be reached by regional bus from downtown area.
Tangshan Mountains are made up of two solitary peaks with screen-covered slopes: Greater Tangshan Mountain, with its needle-like crags; and Tangshan Mountain, with its peculiar rock formations. Both are famed for their hot mineral springs.
To the east of Lesser Tangshan Mountain is a park shaded by luxuriant green and dotted with pavilions. Flowers and plants flourish in this ideal spot for relaxation. To the south of Lesser Tangshan Mountain there are two hot springs. The eastern source bubbles out of the earth at extremely high temperatures and is called Boiling Spring (Feiquan), while the western source, the Warm Spring (Wenquan), is more suitable for bathing. Although the two springs are only three meters apart, their water temperatures vary as greatly as their names suggest. The spring waters are rich in minerals useful in the treatment of skin diseases.
In the Qing Dynasty, during the reign of Emperor Kangxi, a square pool three meters deep surrounded by a carved stone balustrade was built at the spring source. The crystal clear waters of both springs flow into this pool, and small pear-like air bubbles burst continually from the water surface.
To the north of the pool is an imperial lodge built up by Emperor Qianlong. Graceful pavilions, villas, temples and a large lotus pond, all enclosed by a long protective wall, form a haven of tranquility and seclusion at he foot of the mountain. Carved on the cliff face of the northern summit is the inscription, “Sharing the Refinement of Jiuhua Mountain” in Qianlong’s own handwriting.
Behind the imperial lodge is a lake fed from mountain springs. The lake is surrounded by a stone wall and maple trees. The maple leaves turn a rich red in autumn, forming a vivid contrast with the dark green cypresses.