Imperial Garden in Beijing

Summer Palace

Explore Beijing's Summer Palace and its classic garden design, including the vast Kunming Lake, Longevity Hill, and the iconic Marble Boat.

out of 5

The Summer Palace, an expansive imperial garden in Beijing, China, is renowned for its classic landscape design, blending natural scenes with artificial features. The vast Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill are the central features of this former royal retreat, which includes the elaborately painted Long Corridor and the Marble Boat structure. Reflecting Chinese garden design philosophy, the Summer Palace served as a recreational spot for emperors and is now a valuable cultural relic and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill

The central features of the Summer Palace are the serene Kunming Lake and the adjacent Longevity Hill. Visitors can rent a boat to explore the lake or simply take a leisurely walk around its perimeter to appreciate the peace of the gardens and the reflections of the surrounding structures in the water. The hill offers a picturesque view of the lake and the numerous buildings, such as pavilions and temples, that adorn its slopes.

The Long Corridor

The Long Corridor stretches 728 meters and is adorned with more than 14,000 paintings depicting scenes from Chinese literature, folk tales, and historical events. This covered walkway provides not only a visual feast but also shelter from both the sun and rain, allowing visitors to enjoy the views in any weather. The corridor effectively connects different sections of the Summer Palace, making it a practical as well as a beautiful element of the garden's design.

The Marble Boat

Constructed under the reign of Empress Dowager Cixi, the Marble Boat is a unique structure that stands at the edge of Kunming Lake. This two-story structure made of wood and painted to resemble marble is a symbol of stability and longevity. It is an interesting photographic landmark due to its blend of traditional Chinese architecture with Western design elements, particularly its western-style paddle wheels.

Cultural Performances and Events

Throughout the year, the Summer Palace hosts various cultural events and performances that give visitors insight into Chinese traditions and performing arts. During peak tourist seasons, one might find traditional music performances, opera, or even martial arts demonstrations within the park's many stages and open spaces.

Walking Routes and Scenic Spots

For those who enjoy a good walk, there are a number of routes to take within the Summer Palace that lead through beautifully designed landscapes and past historical sites. The Garden of Virtue and Harmony is one such destination, with its three-story theater where Qing dynasty emperors watched Peking opera performances. The Seventeen-Arch Bridge is another scenic spot that connects to Nanhu Island and offers excellent opportunities for photographs.

Visitor Facilities and Accessibility

The Summer Palace is well-equipped to handle a large number of visitors. There are clear signs posted throughout in multiple languages, including english, and maps are available at the entrance. The area offers several restaurants and cafes that serve local Chinese cuisine along with refreshment stands for lighter snacks and drinks. Public restrooms are also readily accessible throughout the park.

Dining Options Featuring Local Cuisine

Just outside the gates of the Summer Palace, there is a selection of restaurants that offer local Beijing dishes such as Peking duck and Zhajiang noodles. For those looking for a quick snack, street food vendors can be found offering local treats like bingtanghulu (candied fruit on a stick) or savory jianbing (Chinese crepes).

Practical Tips for Visiting

The best time to visit the Summer Palace is in late spring or early fall when the weather is mild and the foliage offers a colorful backdrop to this ancient imperial garden. Since this is an expansive area, wearing comfortable shoes is advisable. Ticket prices vary depending on whether you want to access certain attractions within the palace, so plan accordingly. Arrive early to avoid large crowds and ensure you have ample time to explore leisurely.

What people say about Summer Palace


Be the first to review Summer Palace

Tell us about it! Is it place worth visiting, are you coming back?

Best places to visit in🇨🇳China

Popular on Humbo right now
The best places to visit in the worldThe 30 best food cities in the worldThe most beautiful national parks in the worldThe best places for women to travel aloneThe 20 happiest cities in the worldThe best disc golf destinations in the worldThe warmest places in Europe during winterThe 10 most expensive cities in the world
Humbo™AboutVisitedBucket listSustainable travelPrivacyTerms