A Guide To Visiting the Summer Palace, Beijing: The Best 7 Things To Do and See
Updated On: July 12, 2022
The Summer Palace in Beijing integrates numerous traditional passageways and pavilions into the Imperial Garden designed by the Qing emperor Qianlong between 1750 and 1764 as the Garden of Clear Ripples. Using Kunming Lake, the retired reservoir of the Yuan dynasty’s finances and Longevity Hill as the basic framework, the Summer Palace integrated political and organisational, residential, spiritual, and recreational roles within a landscape of lakes and peaks, following the Chinese philosophy of suspending the works of man with nature.
Wrecked during the Second Opium War of the 1850s, it was rebuilt by Emperor Guangxu for use by Empress Dowager Cixi and renamed the Summer Palace. Although wounded again during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 it was restored and has been a public park since 1924. The major feature of the Administrative area, the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity is approached through the huge East Palace Gate. The connecting Residential spot contains three buildings: the Halls of Happiness in Longevity and Yiyun, all built up against the Hill of Longevity, with fine views over the lake. These are linked by roofed corridors linking the Great Stage to the east and the Long Corridor to the West. In front of the Hall of Happiness in Longevity, a wooden landing gave access by water to the Imperial family to their quarters.
The remaining 90% of the park supplies areas for enjoying beliefs and spiritual meditation and is adorned with playground buildings including the Tower of the Perfume of Buddha, the Tower of the Revolving Archive, Wu Fang Pavilion, the Baoyun Bronze Pavilion, and the Hall that Dispels the Clouds. Kunming Lake includes three large islands, approximating the traditional Chinese extended mountain garden element, the southern of which is merged to the East Dike by the Seventeen Arch Bridge. A crucial feature is the West Dike with six bridges in different styles along its length. Other necessary elements include temples and hermitages in Han and Tibetan kind found on the north side of the Hill of Longevity and the Garden of Harmonious Pleasure to the northeast.
The Summer Palace is covered at the most elevated level by the 1982 Law of PRC on the Protection of Cultural Relics (amended 2007), which is coloured in the Regulations on the Execution of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Cultural Relics. Certain conditions of the Law on Environmental Protection and City Planning are also appropriate for the protection of the Summer Palace. These laws handle legal effectiveness at the nationwide level. The Summer Palace was contained by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China in the first set of National Priority Protected Sites on March 4th, 1961.
At the municipal level, the Summer Palace has expressed a Municipal Priority Protected Place by the Beijing Municipal Government on October 20th, 1957. The Limitations of Beijing Municipality for the Protection of Cultural Relics (1987) support the municipal defence of key heritage sites. In 1987, the security limits of the Summer Palace were specifically noted and ordered to be launched in the Message of the Beijing Municipal Government to the Municipal Bureau of Construction Planning and the Bureau of Cultural Relics on approving the Report exploring the Delimitation of Protection Zones and Construction Control Spaces of the Second Group of 120 Cultural Relics beneath Protection. The Master Plan of Summer Palace on Protection and Management is under formulation and will be delivered to the World Heritage Committee as shortly as it is complete. Meanwhile, building in the surrounding areas has even been placed under restrictive supervision.
The Beijing Summer Palace Management Office has been accountable for the inheritance management of the Summer Palace since it was established in 1949. Now among its over 1500 staff, 70% are professionals. Beneath it, there are 30 sections accountable for artistic heritage conservation, gardening, security, building, and protection. Regulations and crisis plans have been specified. At present, the guard of the Summer Palace is operating well. Under the prevalent protecting framework made by the main and local regimes, the saving and management of the Summer Palace will be carried out in agreement with stringent and regular conservation methods and schedules. Scientific management and protection are taken out based on the details gained from increasingly genteel monitoring.
How to Get to the Summer Palace?
The Summer Palace is found in the western suburbs of Beijing, 15 kilometres from the downtown site, and 23 kilometres from Tian’anmen Square, which is about 55 minutes drive. It’s 37 kilometres from Beijing Capital International Airport, which is a 47 minutes drive.
There are some interests around The Summer Palace:
- The Old Summer Palace is bordering to The Summer Palace – their exits are 5.4 kilometres separated, which is 10 minutes drive.
- Zhongguancun Science Park comprehended as “China’s Silicon Valley”, is 5.5 kilometres out from The Summer Palace, which is 14 minutes drive.
- Beijing Olympic Park is 8.7 kilometres from The Summer Palace, which is around 16 minutes drive.
- Xiangshan Park is almost 20 minutes drive, being 12 kilometres away.
You can get to The Summer Palace by taxi: If you don’t like groups and want a rather quick and direct path to get there, taking a taxi is a good choice. If passengers are needed to stop to wait or the taxi crosses below 12 kph due to road situations, there is an extra charge every 5 minutes. The distance from the Forbidden City to The Summer Palace is 46 minutes drive. The hustle hour is from 7 am to 9 am and from 5 pm to 7 pm. During these years, the traffic in Beijing will be very heavy. If you plan to go, you must regard the traffic hold. You can use currency, mobile payments, or a Beijing Transportation Smart Card for cost. Most taxi drivers can’t speak English. It is useful if you have your destination written in Chinese.
By Subway: Corresponded with a taxi, it’s the economical way to take the subway to travel. If you don’t have much baggage and enjoy exploring, taking the subway is a good choice in China.
By Bus (Not Recommended): Taking a bus in Beijing is not the best option. It is packed and time-consuming. You can use a sightseeing bus, which is more suitable for travellers than standard city buses. Sightseeing bus line 3 runs from The Summer Palace’s Beigongmen and the Forbidden City’s Shenwumen.
What is the Ideal Season to Visit Summer Palace?
The best months to visit the summer palace are September and October. The autumn here is calm, neither too cold nor too hot. Spring is nice. Summer is usually hot and rainy, but a good season to enjoy the prosperous soul as well as the best time for boating on Kunming Lake. If you want to see some pretty pictures of Summer Palace, winter is the time when the snow covers the bowers, buildings, and bridges – peaceful and pure.
Attractions to Visit and Activities to Do in Summer Palace.
The Long Corridor: Said to be the most extended covered painted walkway in the world, the Long Corridor was created around 1750 by Emperor Qianlong. It was planned to provide his mother with a location to view the park scenery without being exposed to the details. Decimated in 1860, the existing version was overhauled by Empress Cixi. The rays are illustrated with over 14,000 beautiful pictures featuring landscapes, sets from standard Chinese operas and diverse recorded and legendary figures.
The Marble Boat: At the end of the Long Passage on the beach of Kunming Lake is the Marble Boat. The authentic boat was created in 1755. Its upper decks were made of wood painted to look like rock but this inflexible part was wasted in 1860. Empress Cixi had the upper decks reconstructed in European technique and added two paddle spins to the sides. The boat may originally have been created in answer to the Chinese expression. Taken directly, this idiom means that water can both hold and sink a ship. Taken figuratively, regardless, it implies that the people can either help or overthrow their rulers. By making a rocking boat, the rulers of the Qing Dynasty were expressing their belief in the lasting stability of their rule.
The Seventeen-Arch Bridge: The Seventeen-Arch Bridge touches the coast of Kunming Lake with Nanhu Island. It’s the palace’s biggest bridge and was built in 1750 as part of the original park. The bridge is adorned with over 500 unique stone lions. 17 angles were operated so that no point which side one begins measuring from, the ninth turn will always be in the centre. This was accomplished because the number nine was considered influential and auspicious by the Qing rulers.
The Bronze Ox and Kunming Lake: Near the Seventeen-Arch Bridge is big. Cast in 1755, the ox was seated after Kunming Lake following a practice which credits oxen with overflow managing powers. Kunming Lake is an artificial lake modelled after Hangzhou’s fabled west lack which acts as the garden’s centrepiece. Boat rides on the lake provide especially amazing views of Longevity Hill.
The Garden of Virtue and Harmony and the Grand Theater: The Garden of Virtue and Harmony is truly a group of four squares with various buildings scattered around. The most important structure is the Grand Theater, located in the second square. This three-story stage was used to serve Peking opera, which Cixi enjoyed. Near the location is another hall, understood as the “make-up room.” This room is now a museum including various Peking Opera-related exhibits as well as a Mercedes-Benz said to be the first car ever imported to China.
Suzhou Street: Suzhou Street was one of the original elements of the old Summer Palace before its collapse in 1860. The road was made to duplicate the shopping streets of Suzhou. When the emperor visited, eunuchs and maids used to dress up as shopkeepers so that he and his staff could act to go shopping there. Suzhou Street was once part of the old palace that wasn’t overhauled by Empress Cixi. The road that exists today was rebuilt only recently, in 1991. It features a combination of old-style shops, restaurants and teahouses.
The Ruins of the Old Summer Palace: The destructions of the old Summer Palace are located about 5 kilometres west of the new one. The ruins of the Western Mansions and the sprays are especially famous with visitors. There’s also a labyrinth which stays largely intact. For those interested in getting a more reasonable sense of the scale of the collapse, the exhibit hall contains a sample of the old Summer Palace as it once was. Note that the ruins are believed a different attraction and require a separate admission ticket.
Top Restaurants in Beijing
Quanjuede: People in China always say: “If you don’t reach the Great Wall, you’re no hero; if you don’t eat Quanjude duck, you’ll be sorry!” It brags the original Peking duck cooking technology discovered in this time-honoured chain. You can never go bad when you select Quanjude. With branches spanning the world, Quanjuede is the most well-known Beijing duck restaurant in the world. Over a hundred years old, the art of roasting the duck and choosing the ideal spices and dishes to be paired with it is taken from one degree of perfection to the following. Its mid-range pricing has allowed making Quanjuede the quintessential duck restaurant of the city.
- Suggested dishes: Quanjude roast duck, roast duck bone soup, fried mushroom, and shrimp balls
- Open: 11:00am – 2:00pm and 5:00 – 10:00pm
- Address: 30 Qianmen Street, Dongcheng District
Dadong: Dadong is a Peking duck restaurant that has an international view and a very good reputation among foreigners. Excluding the Peking duck, it has lots of inventive dishes that link with Western dishes. It is also a family-friendly restaurant. Dadong uses global technology for cooking which CNN and other regional media outlets have praised. Dadong’s exclusive roast duck craft is different from the traditional ways, which makes its roast duck extremely crisp but not greasy. Book in advancement for this gem of Beijing cuisine.
- Suggested dishes: Dadong “super-lean” roast duck, black pepper beef, Chef Dong’s fried prawns with hot sauce
- Open: 11:00am–10:00pm
- Address: Floor 6, Wangfu Shopping Center, 301 Wangfujing road
Siji Mingfu: Siji Mingfu is a Beijing resident’s favourite, using old roasting crafts, and providing a traditional Beijing flavour. If you want to share the locals’ dining atmosphere and eat like a regional, Siji Mingfu is the option for you. All ducks are chosen carefully and hooked up to the stove over burning fruit-tree wood. The meat tastes tender and crispy.
- Suggested dishes: specially chosen crispy and tender roast duck, Beijing-style noodles with soybean paste, imperial snack mixture
- Open: 10:30am – 10:30pm
- Address: 11 Nanchizi Street(near the east gate of the Forbidden City)
Made in China: Found in Grand Hyatt Beijing, Made in China is a well-known high-end Chinese restaurant in Beijing that supplies an excellent dining atmosphere and top service. This restaurant is the high-budget selected option. This restaurant is famous for specialities from northern China, containing Peking duck and beggar’s chicken.
- Suggested dishes: Peking duck baked on fruit tree wood, sautéed spinach with sesame seeds, sweet and sour mandarin fish, beggar’s chicken
- Open: 11:30am – 2:30pm and 5:30 – 10:30pm
- Address: 1F Grand Hyatt Beijing, 1 Dong Chang’an Avenue (6 minutes’ walk from Wangfujing Street)
Xin Rong Ji: Xin Rong Ji (Xinyuan South Road) was granted the status “2021 Three Michelin Stars Restaurant”. Adjoining the Bulgari Hotel Beijing, Xin Rong Ji (Xinyuan South Road) is the flagship restaurant of Xin Rong Ji Restaurants, which opened in 2019. Xin Rong Ji is reserved for supplying diners with an excellent gourmet experience. It focuses on the choice of quality ingredients, and its cooking focuses on the ingredients’ original flavour and health. The decoration is based on a classical Chinese style with stylish elements, including a bar and an open kitchen. Its personalized service contains dish customization.
- Suggested dishes: Dongpo braised pork, salted bean curd pot, golden crisp hairtail, honey-sweet potato, roast spring pigeon
- Open: 11:30am – 2:00pm and 5:00 – 9:00pm
- Address: 101, Floor 1, Qihao Building, 8 Xinyuan South Road, Chaoyang District
Shanghai Cuisine: Shanghai Cuisine is a 2021 Two Michelin Stars Restaurant. The restaurant is adorned finely. The old gramophone in the corner makes space for a small retro charm, and proper table distance brings the diner a sense of closeness without imposition. The restaurant mainly serves Shanghai cuisine. Cooking with thick oil and red sauce is a feature of Shanghai cooking, which makes all types of foods taste mellow, sweet, and non-greasy.
- Suggested dishes: deep-fried fish Shanghai style, fresh and salted pork with bamboo shoot soup, pan-fried steamed buns.
- Open: 11:00am – 2:00pm and 5:00 – 9:30pm
- Address: The first base of the Yingke Center, 2A Beijing Workers’ Stadium North Road
King’s Joy Beijing: King’s Joy Beijing is certainly one of the best vegetarian restaurants in town, which was also awarded the position of 2021 Three Michelin Stars Restaurant. Yin Dawei, the manager of King’s Joy, is a fan of tolerable and healthy lifestyles, so his restaurant attracts lots of superstars, vegetarians, and businessmen. What’s more, it supplies an extremely quiet dining experience. The restaurant’s interior is comfortably glowed and loaded with intelligent sentences about vegetarianism. The dishes are created using the freshest vegetables and ingredients, commonly from close organic farms or from the certain regions they hail from. The restaurant is conveniently located close to Yonghegong Lama Temple and thus conveniently tracks a visit to the temple.
- Suggested dishes: sweet and sour lotus root, matsutake soup, stir-fried termite mushrooms, asparagus and Chinese yam, mung bean cake with jujube paste
- Open: 11:00am – 10:00pm
- Address: Dongcheng District (next to the Lama Temple),2 Wudaoying Hutong.
The Best Hotels for Accommodation
The resorts in Beijing vary from luxurious and exclusive 5-star venues to affordable and family-friendly 3-star all-inclusive hotels. regardless of your budget, you will find something in Beijing that you can be happy with.
Holiday Inn Express Beijing Dongzhimen is a 4- star hotel ideally found in the embassy spot, The hotel is about a 15-minute walk from the popular Sanlitun Bar Street. It features stylish rooms with free internet. Visitors have free access to the fitness centre and free use of the massage armchair. Featuring free parking, and oversized windows, the AC rooms offer the comfort of a great workspace and a sofa. An iPod dock and a tea/coffee maker are also supplied. A restaurant buffet breakfast is served in the stylish dining area, and also offers set lunch and dinner menus. Alternatively, visitors can enjoy a restorative beverage at the small bar, daily housekeeping and dry cleaning. Room options at Holiday Inn Express Beijing Dongzhime are twin or double
The Orchid Hotel is a 4- star hotel found in the historic Hutong spot in the heart of Beijing. It is a 12-minute walk from Houhai Lake, a famous area loaded with various bars and restaurants. It features free bicycles and free WiFi in all areas. Orchid Hotel is about 3 km from The Forbidden City. Guloudajie subway station is a 10-minute walk from this parcel. It takes 50 minutes by car to reach Beijing Capital International Airport. Using natural elements such as cloth, brick and wood, the room will supply you with a flat-screen TV with a custom media system and AC. There is also an electric kettle and tea maker. Featuring a shower, and private bathrooms.
Visitors may chill out on the terrace, or take a small stroll in the old valley. Other facilities offered contain a ticketing service and a tour desk. Room options at The Orchid Hotel are double, suite, and studio. No parking available
Grand Millennium Beijing is a 5*star hotel, is found in Beijing Fortune Plaza, near the new CCTV Headquarters. It puffs an indoor swimming pool, spa services and 4 dining options. Free WiFi throughout the whole property. Visitors staying at the hotel can enjoy a highly-rated breakfast during their stay including Asian, American and Buffet dishes. Room options at the hotel are Double, Suite, and Twin. Also, the hotel offers the following activities which are: a fitness centre, sauna, foot bath, yoga classes massage chair.