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Summer Palace

 Brief Introduction

The Summer Palace, Yiheyuan in Chinese, is the most celebrated imperial garden in China. The garden came into existence early in the 1750s and had once been a summer resort for the emperors. It is acclaimed as a museum of gardens in China, for a visit to this garden bestow on sightseers a glimpse of representative scenes all over China.

 Summer Palace in Beijing  Summer Palace Map

The Summer Palace (Yiheyuan), located in the northwestern outskirts of Beijing, is the largest and most famous imperial garden in China. The palace features hundreds of architecturally distinct buildings, halls, pavilions, pagodas, bridges and corridors dispersed among magnificent and elegant gardens. It has an area of 290 hectares (717 acres), three quarters of which is water. The palace has three unique areas: Court Area, Longevity Hill Area and Kunming Lake Area.

Beijing Summer Palace - Stone BoatThe garden was originally named the Garden of Clear Ripples (Qingyi). It was a summer resort for the emperors in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). In 1860, the garden was burnt down by the Anglo-French Allied Forces. In 1866, Empress Dowager Cixi rebuilt the garden using embezzled funds from the imperial navy and named it the Summer Palace (Yiheyuan). In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion, the Eight-Power Allied Force ransacked the palace. After another reconstruction in 1903, the garden was restored to its original beauty and magnificence. As the grandest garden in China, it was added to the World Culture Heritage list in 1998.

 Court Area

Court area of Summer Palace in BeijingThe East Palace Gate (Donggongmen) opens into the Court Area. Inside is a group of typical courtyard houses connected by porches. The center building is the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity (Renshoudian) where Emperor Guangxu, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, held court and conducted official business during his stay at the garden. Now, an exquisitely carved screen, a bronze dragon and bronze phoenix are on display. To the northwest are three halls: the Hall of Jade Ripples (Yulantang) where Guangxu lived; the Hall of Virtue and Harmony (Deheyuan), the biggest theater in the Qing Dynasty; and the Hall of Joyful Longevity (Leshoutang), a splendid residence of Empress Dowager Cixi. To the northeast is the Garden of Harmony and Enchantment. This was where the emperors spent their leisure time fishing.
Court Area Attractions:
East Palace Gate & Hall of Benevolence and Longevity 
Hall of Jade Ripples, Garden of Virtue and Harmony & Hall of Joyful Longevity

Pagoda of Many Treasures, Summer Palace of Beijing Longevity Hill Area

The Longevity Hill Area faces the Kunming Lake in the south and is backed by the Rear Lake (Houhu) in the north. In the front hill, grand halls are built along a north-south axis. The halls are the Hall of Dispelling Clouds (Paiyundian), Tower of Buddhist Incense (Foxiangge) and the Hall of the Sea of Wisdom (Zhihuihai). The Hall of Dispelling Clouds, with red pillars and yellow tiles, is the most splendid building of the whole palace. The grand Tower of Buddhist Incense, towering 41 meters (134.5 feet), is the symbol of the Summer Palace. The Hall of the Sea of Wisdom on the top of the Longevity Hill is a Buddhist hall. The outside of the hall is decorated with glazed tiles. There is a Suzhou Market Street (Suzhoujie) at the Rear Lake. With waterway passing through and shops perching on banks, the street looks like the very scene of 'Water Country' in the south region of the Yangtze River.
Longevity Hill Area Attractions:
Longevity Hill & Long Corridor
Hall of Dispelling Clouds, Tower of Buddhist Incense & Hall of the Sea of Wisdom
Back Lake, Suzhou Market Street & Garden of Harmonious Interests

 Kunming Lake Area

Summer Palace of Beijing - Kunming LakeAlong the south bank of the attractive lake, a 728-meter-long corridor (Changlang) is the longest and most famous corridor in China. It serves as a link between the Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake. Around 14,000 impressive paintings of historical figures, landscapes, birds and flowers adorn this corridor, making it into a fantastic gallery. There is a Marble Boat at the west bank. This boat was built in 1755, in the hope that the governance of the Qing Dynasty would be impregnable under any circumstance. The south part of this natural lake is modeled after the West Lake in Hangzhou. A western bank divides the lake into two parts. Six graceful bridges act as connecters of the entire western bank, among which the Jade Belt Bridge is a favorite of the Emperor Qianlong and Empress Dowager Cixi. The spectacular Seventeen-Arch Bridge (Shiqikong Qiao) connects the eastern bank and Nanhu Island. The bridge is 150 meters (492 feet) long and eight meters (twenty-six feet) wide. 564 stone lions with different expressions and gestures on the balusters are strikingly life-like.
Kunming Lake Area Attractions:
Bronze Ox & Marble Boat
Seventeen-Arch Bridge & Nanhu Island 

Entrance Charge
of the palace:
April 1-October 31
November1-March 31
Combined Ticket:
April 1-October 31
November1-March 31
A combined ticket includes entrance charge for the palace and charges for several famous parks in the palace  
Opening Hours:
April 1-October 31
November1-March 31
Inside scenic spots:
April 1-October 31
November1-March 31
Bus Route:
209, 330,331, 332, 346, 394, 718, 726, 732, 737, 801, 817, 826 to Yiheyuan (Summer Palace, 颐和园)

Recommended Beijing Tour Itineraries:
Beijing One-Day Tours: 5 itineraries for you to choose.
Beijing Two-Day Tours: 2 itineraries to visit Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Badaling Great Wall, etc.
4-Day Beijing Travel: to the most popular attractions in Beijing.

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Comments and Questions

China is a great plase.I went to China 3 years ago.I'm from The USA.

Reply5/24/2018 5:53:34 AMDick

Hi, if I take a taxi from my hotel Beijing Holiday Inn Focus Square to Summer Palace, what is the estimated fare on a Sunday morning? How about on the way back on Sunday evening?

Are there any guided tours in English inside Summer Palace? If yes, how much is the fee?


Reply5/3/2017 9:48:33 AMClara,   Singapore

Kathleen ( Canada ) :5/4/2017 3:59:42 AM

It should cost CNY60 or so taking a taxi to go there.
As I know, the night period is from 23:00 to 5:00 the next morning. The price may rise 20% per km.

It is said that you can go to the Summer Palace by boat from Zizhuyuan park. We want to go in the morning. Do we need to pre book? If so where? What are the boat times? Thank you.

Reply4/23/2016 4:38:04 AMJohn Keith

Vivian ( Australia ) :4/24/2016 9:57:28 PM

Yes, you can take a boat to the palace from Zizhuyuan Park. You needn't book the ticket in advance. Just buy the ticket at the north gate of the park upon arrival, and board the boat from the nearby Ziyuwan Wharf. The boats are available from 9:00 to 16:00. Have a nice trip! :)

Hi, how long does the metro take from Xisi to Beigongmen?
thank you

Reply6/12/2015 10:48:18 AMLoraJM,   United Kingdom

Juno :6/24/2015 4:44:57 AM

It takes around half an hour.

Hi .
Can you book tickets online for the summer palace,beijing

Reply9/8/2014 8:46:41 PMHugh Lynch,   China

Beijingtrip :9/11/2014 3:27:39 AM

Dear Hugh Lynch.
We are sorry that we cannot book the entrance ticket to Summer Palace for you. But we can tell you that it is easy to get a ticket on the spot. Don't worry!

hi where do u find who designed and constructed the summer palace

Reply10/20/2011 6:43:54 PMbernadette,   Australia

Carl :10/21/2011 5:44:51 PM

I think from the Chinese history.

brookeee :10/22/2011 9:53:11 PM

what do u see in the summer palace ?

Peter :10/23/2011 7:14:15 PM

the ancient palaces, beautiful gardens, lakes, hills, and bridges.

1) May I ask where do the buses No.330, 331, 332,690, 696,683 stop at?
2) If I take the subway, I will arrive at Bei Gong Men but I would like to start my tour at the East Gate.
3) How much is the boat fare in Kunming Lake to see the 17 Arch Bridge?

Reply9/3/2011 3:23:22 AMJasmin,   Singapore

Lily :9/4/2011 8:20:45 PM

1. the buses stop near the east gate of Summer Palace.
2. so you can take the buses instead of the subway .
3. CNY 20 - 50 per hour for a boat, but you need to pay CNY 400 as deposit, which will return to you after you finish the boat tour.

Does bus 120 go to Summer Palace? If so , how to take this bus 120?


Reply3/22/2011 10:44:00 PMcindy,   Malaysia

Fred :3/23/2011 10:17:00 PM

no, bus 120 do not go to Summer Palace
you can find the buses to Summer palace here:

What time is the last bus that leaves from Summer Palace?

How far is the walking distance from summer palace to the bus station?


Reply3/22/2011 1:18:00 AMcindy,   Malaysia

Fred :3/22/2011 9:56:00 PM

at 23:00.
you can see the entrance when you get off the bus.

I have been there. It is ginormous!!!

Reply8/2/2009 7:09:00 AMvanessa,   Hong Kong, China

John D. ( United States ) :10/19/2009 9:47:00 AM

It is quite large. If it sparks your interest one could easily spend multiple hours there because it is infact, quite massive
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