TanZhe Si (TanZhe Temple) is an ancient Buddhist temple dating back 3rd Century BC, located in the Western Hills about 45km West of Beijing.
It is easily accessible by public transportation (subway and bus) as explained clearly on this page – ignore the taxi drivers at the subway exit and the bus station: they will charge 30Y and tell you the bus will come much later than it actually does; the bus costs only 6Y and is much more fun!
Although there are tourists that come here, most are actually Chinese: the day I went I saw only 8 other Western tourists (and they didn’t take the bus). But – especially on a weekday – it’s not crowded at all, and actually much more authentic than the Lama Temple within the city, and more of a real “working” temple as well. The site is huge, and should be explored at leisure – but if you do have time left, there is also JieTai Si, 10km back along the road to Beijing; I skipped this though, preferring to take my time at one beautiful temple rather than rush through two.
Take a scarf or something for the bus though: these regional buses are air-conditioned and I caught a cold!over 6 years ago