Used as an imperial garden by several dynasties, the Summer Palace became a pleasant refuge that the Qing dynasty used to escape the hot summers of the Forbidden City.
Covering more than 290 hectares, the Summer Palace is dominated by Lake Kunming, which occupies one-third of the land. Around the tranquillity transmitted by the lake, there are countless temples, palaces and gardens that are captivating.
What to see
The Summer Palace is very extensive and can take several hours to discover each of its corners. These are some of the most interesting points:
- Buda Fragrance Tower: After a dizzying climb up the steep stairs, the views from the top of the tower make the climb worthwhile.
- Garden of Virtue and Harmony: The three-storey building used as a theatre, was the stage on which the court opera company performed their shows to entertain Empress Cixi. At certain times you can see some performances and traditional dances.
- Suzhou Street: This recreation of a commercial street that was built under the orders of Emperor Qianlong consists of small shops that offer some traditional and tourist products.
- Garden of Harmonious Pleasures: The beautiful Chinese buildings are reflected in the water while the wild nature surrounds everything in this special corner.
- Great Gallery: The grand covered corridor that runs 728 metres from the Summer Palace is formed by wooden beams decorated with over 14,000 paintings showing scenes from Chinese history and mythology.
The most pleasant place in Beijing
The Beijing Summer Palace is one of the most extraordinary places in the city and should be booked for several hours during your visit. The beautiful buildings blend with nature to offer visitors a peaceful refuge as enjoyed in the past by several imperial families.
1st April to 31st October: 6.30 am to 6 pm
1st November to 31st March: from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
Adults: ¥ 20 (US$ 3)
Students: ¥ 15 (US$ 2.20)
Adults: ¥ 30 (US$ 4.50)
Students: ¥ 10 (US$ 1.50)
The ticket includes: Wenchang Gallery, Garden of Virtue and Harmony and visit to the Incense Buddha
Bus: lines 303, 330, 331, 332, 346, 374, 375, 384, 393, 394, 437, 469, 481, 634, 704, 712, 716, 718, 726, 732, 737, 801, 808, 817, 826, 834, 952 and 992.