- Location: Located just 15 km away from central Beijing, in the western outskirts of the Haidian District in China.
- Attraction Type: Palace/Garden.
- Significance: It is the largest and most celebrated imperial garden in China.
- Best time to Visit: Can be visited throughout the year, but winter months are the best.
- How to Reach: Those who are coming down by air, need to land at Beijing Capital International Airport. Take Bus Nos. 907, 375, 801, 808, 732, 394, 718 to reach the Summer Palace.
- Nearest Airport: Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).
If the beauty is what you always worshiped of if tradition is what you always looked up to, if the style is what you always craved for, and if grandness is what you always dreamt of — The Summer Palace would just be for you. The largest and most celebrated imperial garden in China, the Summer Palace offers a wonderful glimpse of representative scenes all over the country. Also known as Yihe Yuan or the Gardens of Nurtured Harmony, the Summer Palace is a Key Cultural Relics Protection Site of China consisting of some wonderful collection of ancient arts, scintillating landscapes, and amazing constructions.
Located just 15 km away from central Beijing, in the western outskirts of Haidian District, the Summer Palace is the archetypal Chinese garden mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake, and covering an area of 2.9 sq. km. Though constructed mainly in the Jin Dynasty, it continued to extend in the later years. It became a luxurious royal garden for the royal families during the Qing Dynasty. It became known as one of the famous ‘three hills and five gardens’. Like most of the other gardens of Beijing, this garden also fell prey to the rampages of the Anglo-French allied force. It got destroyed by fire. It was Empress Dowager Cixi, who used the navy fund to reconstruct the garden and renamed it to Summer Palace. In 1998, the Summer Palace was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visiting Summer Palace
There are plenty to explore in the Summer Palace. As the palace is mainly dominated by the Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, artists designed the garden in such a way that visitors would get mesmerized by the amazing views of the surroundings as well as by the awesome examples of refined craftwork using the fine materials. With more than 3,000 structures including towers, bridges, pavilions and corridors, the Summer Palace would surely make you thrilled.
The Summer Palace in Beijing can be divided into three areas, viz. Court Area, Longevity Hill Area and Kunming Lake Area.
Court Area: This is where Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu rested, met officials and conducted various state affairs. Enter through the East Palace Gate, you will see the main palace building including the Hall of Benevolence and Lengevity — the office of the Emperor, the Hall of Jade Ripples — the living place of Guangxu, the Hall of Joyful Longevity — Cixi’s residence, the Garden of Virtue and Harmony — the entertainment place of Cixi, Yiyun House — once the residence of Empress Longyu and the Long Gallery.
Longevity Hill Area: This is probably the most beautiful part of the Summer Palace. Here you will see the Longevity Hill, the Long Corridor, the Hall of Dispelling Clouds, Tower of Buddhist Incense, the Hall of the Sea of Wisdom, Black Lake, Suzhou Market Street and the Garden of Harmonious Interests.
Kunming Lake Area: In this area, you will visit the Bronze Ox, Seventeen-Arch Bridge, Nanhu Island and Marble Boat.
1st November to 31st March: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
1st April to 31st October: 6.30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
1st November to 31st March: CNY 25
There are a number of hotels in Beijing that provide accommodation to all sorts of travelers. Some of those can be listed as below:
No. 125, Huguosi Street,
Xicheng District, Beijing
3 Qian Men East Street,