Escape to a Tibetan Buddhist temple, a peaceful refuge from the busy streets belowTry an exquisite vegetarian restaurant whose chef is a former Buddhist monkAmp up your travel wardrobe at a local boutique and shop handmade Chinese toysTour a temple built for scholars, then relax at a teahouse overlooking the Confucian shrineIn this capital of the most populous country on the planet, a 15-minute ride brings you to a peaceful refuge at the Lama Temple. Built in 1694 by Qing Dynasty emperor Kangxi, an extreme makeover in 1744 turned this into an all-lacquered Tibetan Buddhist temple. Mao’s most worldly deputy, Premier Zhou Enlai, protected the religious shrine known here as Yonghe Gong during the Cultural Revolution. Exchange a few renminbi for a handful of sandalwood-infused incense sticks, then follow crimson-robed Gelugpa monks from the main Hall of Harmony and Peace to our favorite Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses, where the towering 26-meter-tall Buddha of the Future was carved from a single piece of sandalwood. Next, head north along Yonghegong Street toward King’s Joy, an exquisite vegetarian restaurant where the chef is a former Buddhist monk. Continue on to Guozijian Street and Lost and Found. The buttery-soft leather club chairs and sleek 1950s-inspired black-walnut tables here can be ordered online, so focus instead on adding a well-cut linen frock to your travel wardrobe. Craving more culture? Head to the Temple of Confucius where, for 600 years, China’s best and brightest came to take their civil-service exams. Today, you may very well see high school students from around the country, here to pray for high scores on their gaokao (higher-education exams). Finally, cross the street to Liuxianguan Teahouse to gaze back at the Confucian shrine’s crimson walls and sloping saffron roofs as you sip Yunnanese pu-erh and snack on candied kumquats. ​The Lama Temple is just a 15 minute cab ride away. You’ll find the Temple near where North 2nd Ring Road meets Hepingli West Street. From here, head down Yonghegong Street, and turn left before you reach Beixin Hutong.​​LAMA TEMPLE: 12 Yonghegong St.; 86-(0)10-8419-1919;​​​​KING'S JOY: 2 Wudaoying Hutong, ​​Yonghegong; 86-(0)10-8404-9191;​​LOST AND FOUND: 42 Guozijian St.; 86-(0)10-6401-1855;​​​​TEMPLE OF CONFUCIUS: 13 Guozijian St.; 86-(0)10-8401-1977​​LIUXIANGUAN TEAHOUSEL: 28 Guozijian St.; 86-(0)10-8404-8539