When I went to Beijing few months ago, I didn’t really know about the tourist destination there. I did some browsing in the internet to find out what’s happening in Beijing and stumble upon Travel China Guide. The website and also my Beijing-living friend suggest to visit Summer Palace, so I put Summer Palace in my itinerary.
Summer Palace listed as UNESCO world heritage sites for being the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China. The park was built in 1750 as a retreat park for the royal families so they could rest and entertained. Then it became the main residence of royal members in the end of the Qing Dynasty.
I went there on my last day in Beijing. I chose to take the metro and stop at Beigongmen and take the exit D. I was confused at first, because the area was very quiet and I couldn’t see any tourist sign. I tried to ask some local people, but they didn’t understand. So, I just follow my feeling to walk straight, until I found the sign that lead us to the right Summer Palace path.
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On my way to the Summer Palace, I got to see some pictures of the pavilions and attractions of Summer Palace in the wall. I also passed by the Aman Summer Palace, which I hope that I could stay there because with only just a peek from the entrance, I could tell that the resort must be beautiful. After about 15 mins slow pace walk, I arrived at the North Gate.
To enter the Summer Palace, of course you need to buy ticket. There are two kinds of ticket, the entrance fee and combination ticket. The entrance fee ticket cost CNY 20 and gives you access to garden area, while the combination ticket cost CNY 50 that gives you access to paid attractions. As for myself, I only bought the entrance ticket.
From what I read in the internet, people suggested to plan the route on Summer Palace, because the complex was so huge. I have planned like this; North Gate – Suzhou Market Street – Marble Boat – Long Corridor – Hall of Dispelling Clouds – Tower of Buddhist Insence – Hall of Happiness & Longevity – Hall of Benevolence & Longevity – Gallery of Literature Prosperity – Exit from East Gate.
Long story short, I didn’t go to the following area. Since I have another place to visit after and since I don’t really want to walk in the freezing winter, I just went to the Summer Palace main area. After following the secret path behind the red temple, I made it to the lake area. My first impression was “OMG it is so beautiful!”. The lake was so huge and the scenery was unbelievably beautiful.
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My most favorite spot for photo was the lake side overlooking the Foxiangge or Tower of the Buddhist Incense. The tower was built on the hill up the lake and was the signature of the Summer Palace. Tourist could visit the tower, but since I don’t know the way to go up there and I bet we have to climb the hill, so I chose to skip that. I prefer to take lots of photos and sitting peacefully by the lake.
I wasn’t realized that I was sitting there in the cold winter for a long time, until I ran out of time. Since I have another places to go before departing soon to Kuala Lumpur, so I chose to skip another area of Summer Palace. But if you have more time and energy, don’t skip another area of Summer Palace, maybe you could find any other beautiful surprises.
Even it was just a short visit, but for me Summer Palace is really beautiful. Definitely worth to visit!