Sunday, April 5, 2015

Fall in Love in Summer Palace, Beijing

Summer Palace is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China. It is a royal garden for royal families to rest and entertain themselves. It is like a "retreat" place for the Imperial family...my family! hahaha kidding :) 

The entire garden is about 300.59 hectares and it is dominated by the famous Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake. Expect to see a lot of bridges, lakes, pavilions, towers, and corridors.Though repetitive, it never gets boring because the ambiance is very light, romantic, and grand at the same time. In fact, Summer Palace is my second favorite place in Beijing, next to the Great Wall of China of course! because the place is so relaxing and everything seems picture perfect! :) Imagine nature and art and the old and new in one grand place....simply marvelous!

Getting there is easy and accessible to tourists. Here's how:

1. Select how much time you'll spend there - I've read in several blogs that you need at least half a day to be able to go around the entire place and I regret not allocating enough time for Summer Palace huhuhu. I suggest you go there after lunch because it's nice to stroll around the area in the afternoon when the sky turns yellow, pink, and orange :) We went there a bit late and only got to spend 1-2 hours :( 

2. Ride the Subway - Take subway line 4 and alight at Beigongmen (北宫门) North Gate area and exit from Exit D. Walk to the west and follow the signs going to the North Gate which is the Beigongmen Gate. 
On your way to the entrance, you will see several pictures of the different pavilions and attractions of Summer Palace on almost all walls...then you'll know you're in the right way! haha :)
Once you reach the end of this long road...turn right and you'll see the Summer Palace sign (see picture below).
It will lead you to the North entrance! Yey! :)

3. Pay Entrance Fee- There are 2 kinds of tickets sold. First is the entrance fee of CNY 20 or about Php 147, which gives access for you to go around the garden area or the entire complex. This is the rate we paid because we didn't enter any Hall anymore since we were on "tipid" mode haha.

The second one is the "through ticket" which allows you to have access in some paid attractions. It will cost you CNY 50 or about Php 367 per person (adult). 

Furthermore, fees will vary depending on the season. November to March is their off-peak season while April to October is their peak season. 
Students enjoy 50% off the original fee but I am not sure if student-tourists can also avail this discount. 

Children under 1.2 meter high are FREE of charge! 
So many tourists haha!
Look at that breath taking view! This is the reason why I suggest you visit Summer Palace in the afternoon... ;) 


I super love autumn trees! 
Lakas maka Jetsetter hahahaha :)
4. Plan your route- Since Summer Palace is sooooo huge, you may want to plan your route depending on what attraction/s you want to visit. This is best if you want to maximize your time and avoid getting lost inside the garden! BTW, in China, most tourist spot maps are for sale :O so to avoid paying extra, plan ahead or take a photo of the map instead haha! wise tourist :P 

There are 3 main entrances--East (main gate), North, and New Palace (South gate). You may follow the following routes after deciding which gate to enter/start. 

Note: this is not my itinerary, just saw this from the internet :)

Starting from New Palace Gate (south gate) Loop Line Route: New Palace Gate – Walk north along East Dyke – the former Court Area (the East Palace Gate, the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity…) – Long Corridor – Longevity Hill – Marble Boat – Ferry Boat  and back to New Palace Gate (loop line)

Starting from East Palace Gate Route: East Palace Gate – the former Court Area (the East Palace Gate, the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity…) – Long Corridor – Longevity Hill – Marble Boat – Ferry Boat – New Palace Gate

Starting from North Palace Gate: North Palace Gate – Suzhou Street – Marble Boat – Longevity Hill – Long Corridor – the former court area – East Palace Gate
This is the Long Corridor and it's soooooo.....long! hahah kainis! :)
Of course we didn't forget to take our OOTD pics ;)
...kaso blurry!!! grrr.. thanks WoojieBear!! :\
Aside from the autumn trees, I also love the unique bridges found inside the garden.
I highly suggest you allocate half of your day in Summer Palace. It's really nice and I've been to a lot of pavilions, temples, and gardens in the past 4 years of travel and I still think that Summer Palace is still worth visiting in Beijing. It is not over rated in my opinion :) because it will be your "mini break" from the busy and crowded city in Beijing.
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