When I finally saw the Summer Palace in Beijing, China, My impression is that nature is the function of this place. The summer palace has varied scenery and a more natural feel with lakes and trees. Bus transport is available and all the taxis know this destination. I went to Summer Palace using the subway line from Zhangzizhonglu station to Xiyuan station. From the subway station just walk about ten minutes westward to reach the entrance of the main East gate.
The Area surrounding the Summer Palace is very vast, scenic as it was Imperial family’s summer retreat. I walked around the pavilions, mansions, temples, bridges, with set of corridors, glittering kunming lake, which was all very stunning. The Summer Palace in Beijing, is said to be the best preserved imperial garden in the world, and the largest of its kind still in existence in modern China. It’s hardly surprising that, during the hot Beijing summers, the Imperial Family preferred the beautiful gardens and airy pavilions of the Summer Palace to the walled-in Forbidden City. Dowager Empress Cixi took up permanent residence here for a time, giving rise to some wonderful tales of extravagance and excess.
Some facts about Summer Palace from Wikipedia:
“The Summer Palace started out life as the Garden of Clear Ripples in 1750 (Reign Year 15 of Qianlong Emperor). Artisans reproduced the garden architecture styles of various palaces in China. Kunming Lake was created by extending an existing body of water to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou. The palace complex suffered two major attacks—during the Anglo-French allied invasion of 1860 (with the Old Summer Palace also ransacked at the same time), and during the Boxer Rebellion, in an attack by the eight allied powers in 1900. The garden survived and was rebuilt in 1886 and 1902. In 1888, it was given the current name, Yihe Yuan. It served as a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi, who diverted 30 million taels of silver, said to be originally designated for the Chinese navy (Beiyang Fleet), into the reconstruction and enlargement of the Summer Palace.
In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value.” It is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park.”
Clouds Gathering Temple
The Summer Palace is definitely worth the trip to the outskirts of the city. You might want to do it after having spent a few days in the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Beijing as the beauty of nature and the lakes do have a soothing effect.
It’s a great place to visit but be prepared for:
1. HUGE attendances on weekends and especially on holidays – you will queue and take a lot of time getting anywhere.
2. WALKING: Wear comfortable shoes as the grounds cover several square kilometers.
3. FOOD & DRINKS: – They cost more here, and there are lots of packet noodles, not much more for budget travellers; take your own.
The Summer Palace blew me away. You cannot see the whole thing in a day, so pick your parts – plan on a full day here to see the parts that you’ll want to see the most.