Travel Note - Summer Palace: A Magnificent Indulgence for the Emperor2016-03-29 16:03:24Share:
(By Dallas Green)
Simply the most beautiful place we saw in Beijing! The size and vastness of this Summer Palace is simply amazing. The gardens are quite nice to walk through and the Marble Boat is a sight to behold.
A trip on the Dragon Boat across the lake is a nice change from all the walking necessary to see it all. I would actually trade a visit to the Great Wall and Forbidden City to see this Palace! Count minimum 3-4 hours to spend here.
Words cannot possibly describe this place. The lake, gardens and architecture are all sensational. Needs a good couple of hours minimum to explore if you are on a tight schedule and probably try and avoid the peak season. March was good but just missed the trees coming back into blossom. The trees were only starting to blossom, but the sky was blue and dry.
It was likely a little too early in the season and it still looked a bit like a barren imperial sized boating lake. We did not have a guide to interpret the park. The buildings on the main hill were interesting and the emperors quarters, humbled by the temples, gave a different perspective on the empire. It is worthwhile to visit, despite the crowds, snack stands, boat rides, but is likely better with a guide to paint a picture beyond the outside of typical imperial buildings.
China has so many historic areas to visit, and this one was amazing! I would recommend getting the ticket that covers the entry into all the sites so that you can get in to everything. And plan on spending the day, because there is so much to see!
One tip: In March 2016 it was difficult to reach the East entrance without walking on the highway, but the north entrance is next to the subway.
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