Summer Palace Beijing ChinaThursday, December 11, 2014
Walk with Cham in Summer Palace
Our last day was first spent in Summer Palace. I read in reviews that this tourist attraction is a must-see when visiting Beijing and since this is located at the northeast suburb of Beijing we took off first thing in the morning.
Summer Palace is considered to be the best preserved imperial garden in the world. It was the luxurious garden of the royal families, their rest house especially during summer thus the name. It has two main parts- the Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake that has an area of 300.59 hectares.
November - March
7:00 am - 5:00 pm
April - October
6:30 am - 6:00 pm
How to go to Summer Palace
There are buses that stop directly at Summer Palace but we preferred taking the subway. We took Subway Line 4 got off at Beihongmen Station, left from Exit D, walked to the west and we found the North Palace Gate of the park.
Another (and I think better) option is from the Beigongmen Station get out of the station from Exit C2 and walk west to the East Palace Gate. This might be a better option since the East Palace Gate is considered the entrance of the Palace.
|Our entrance- North Palace Gate|
November - March
Entrance Fee: 20 CNY (P144)
Combination Ticket: 50 CNY (P360)
April - October
Entrance Fee: 30 CNY (P216)
Combination Ticket: 60 CNY (P432)
Take note that there are entrance fees in some landmarks. A map is available but with a corresponding fee of 10 CNY (P72)
|My ticket and map|
North Palace Gate
This should be the exit gate but for our route it became our entrance.
|North Palace Gate|
|Checking the 10 CNY map|
Because we entered at the North Palace Gate it was as if we were walking backwards. Here are the succeeding sites we saw.
The Suzhou street is located in the back lake which runs over 300 meters. It resembles a South China area called Suzhou (we've been to Suzhou the last time we were in Shanghai) It looks like the smaller version of Suzhou. The street has shops and street foods.
|Bridge at Suzou Street|
Four Great Regions
A massive complex of buildings forming a Tibetan - style temple.
|Four Great Regions|
Summer Palace has a vast area of lake called Kunming. It is the most attractive lake in Beijing so it's highly recommended to go boating here especially during summer.
|Kunming Lake with lovely foliage|
|Of course I had to take a picture|
However because of the pre winter season, the lake was dense and very cold so it was not advisable to go boating.
|Lake? What lake?|
Banana Plant Bridge
Before going to the banana plant bridge we saw an archway.
|Papa sitting on the Banana Plant Bridge|
Also known as Clear and Peaceful Boat, is 36 meters long that is made of stone slabs. It was built to symbolize that the Qing Dynasty was solid as rock and will never fall.
The 728-meter long corridor is the longest corridor in Chinese classic garden that stretches from east to west.
|Entrance of Long Corridor|
It was built by Emperor Quianlong for his mother who loves to watch operas. It was called so because during those times people compared good singers to singing orioles. Now it is transformed into a restaurant.
|Hall of Listening to Orioles|
For a cheaper option, there are food kiosks that scatter everywhere which sell popcorns, noodles, chocolates and drinks.
If you want an oriental experience try one of the Teahouses.
|Hello there! I don't know though what building this is|
Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha/ Buddhist Incense
The most famous attraction in the whole of Summer Palace.
|Gate of the Tower of Buddhist Incense|
The tower is a three story 41 meter high octagonal structure with four tiers of eaves. It is built on the mountain side of Longevity Hill for worshipping Buddha.
|Tower of Buddhist Incense|
A separate fee of 10 CNY (P72) is needed to be able to enter the famous tower. And because we were a bit in a hurry we skipped exploring the tower and instead took a picture with it outside the entrance door.
|This is the closest I could get|
Perceiving the Spring Pavilion
The pavilion stands on an islet in Kunming Lake and is connected to the shore by a bridge. During spring the trees flourished and turns pink signaling the start of the spring season.
|Perceiving the Spring Pavilion|
During the time we were there the trees were colored yellow. It's super beautiful!
From the pavilion you can see the Tower of Buddhist Incense. The view was hazy because of the fog so going here during this season is not advisable. The tower is more vibrant during summer.
|the foggy Summer Palace|
Hall of Benevolence and Longevity
Formerly called the Hall of Diligent Government. This is the place where the emperor and empress held court and administered state affairs.
|Hall of Benevolence and Longevity|
In front of the hall is a sculpted bronze beast called Kylin which was believed to guard against destruction of fire. It has a dragon head, lion tail, deer horn and cattle hoof.
A modernized souvenir shop can also be seen.
East Palace Gate
The front entrance to the Summer Palace (but was our way to the exit).
|East Palace Gate|
Outside the palace we saw a group of people wearing red. These are volunteers so tourists will be guided. How clever! Good thing they're there, we asked them for directions going to the subway then they gave us a strip of paper with the English written directions. Kudos to you, volunteers!
|Volunteers in RED|
The Summer Palace was a bit of disappointment mainly because we went there during off peak season where the lake was filled with fog. Although walking around the enormous garden was like a retreat. The surroundings are serene and the zen ambiance is perfect for soul searching. Allot a 3-hour wandering, we never got to see some areas (it was so big!) because we [as usual] were running out of time.
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