Summer Palace in Beijing Tour Guide:
After the surfeit of ceremonies and court life, emperors escaped to the serenity of the Summer Palace, a vast but outstanding imperial residence with lavish gardens, a magnificent lake, pavilions and boathouses and much more. Follow suit and escape into the tranquil environs of the Beijing Summer Palace, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site and an outstanding example of Chinese garden design.
Explore the grounds and the magnificent architectural landmarks all around. Beginning from the Old Court section, which houses the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, where the Emperor and Empress held court and handled state matters, continue on to the private residences section of the grounds, to which none other than the Emperor and his family and attending servants were privy.
Visit the Hall of Happiness and Longevity, the residence of the Dowager Empress Cixi and the Hall of Jade Billows, the residence of Emperor Guangxu, before continuing on to the Hall of Listening to Orioles, where the Dowager Empress revelled in her favourite Peking opera. A stroll along Suzhou Street transports you to the famous Jiangsu canal town, after which the street is styled, with entertaining shops and eateries along winding walkways.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the banks of the scenic Kunming Lake or take a walk along the Long Corridor, where the Emperor strolled while enjoying the views of the parallel lake and magnificent paintings from Chinese mythology and other subjects while staying sheltered from the inclement weather.
Hop onto a ferryboat for a scenic cruise across the lake or for a more personal adventure, rent a pedal boat and cruise under the six scenic bridges, which include the graceful Seventeen Arch Bridge and the Jade Belt Bridge, a spectacular marble bridge with an archway shaped like a camel’s hump specially designed to accommodate the Emperor’s dragon boat.
A major highlight of the lake is the 36-metre long unsinkable Marble Boat commissioned by Dowager Empress Cixi. Pavilions and caves, and the Buddhist Temple of the Sea of Wisdom at the peak of the Hill of Longevity are other features of the Summer Palace.