The Most Common Questions About Summer Palace and Answers

Having a question on Summer Palace? Look For an Answer Here

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We have collected some of the most frequent questions from people who travel with us. Hopefully, this article of definitive answers will clear a few things up for those planning to visit the “imperial garden” in Beijing.

1. Is the Summer Palace Worth Visiting?

Located in northwest Beijing, the Summer Palace reportedly hosts the world’s best-preserved and most extensive imperial garden. In 1998, UNESCO placed the Summer Palace on the World Heritage List, calling it a “masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design.” Top attractions include Kunming Lake, The Long Corridor, Longevity Hill, The Marble Boat, and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony. Visitors can take boat tours, see traditional Chinese performances, and bask in the gardens, among other pleasures. The short answer is: Yes

2. How Old is the Summer Palace, and When Was it Built?

The beginnings of the Summer Palace date back to 1153, making it more than 850 years old. Today’s completed Summer Palace was built in waves such as the creation of Kunming Lake in 1271.  During the mid-1700s, the Qianlong Emperor erected a palace on Jar Hill and the Western Lake.

3. Who Built the Summer Palace?

The palace was commissioned by Emperor Qianlong to honor his mother’s 60th birthday.

4. Why was the Summer Palace Built?

The imperial family used the Summer Garden as a retreat from the Forbidden City in Beijing.

5. How was the Summer Palace Built?

Emperor Qianlong invested vast sums in 1750 to create the palace, and various restoration projects have occurred due to war and damage.

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6. How Big is the Summer Palace?

Including the gorgeous Kunming Lake, the Summer Garden covers approximately 1.1 miles or 742.8 acres.

7. When was the Summer Palace Destroyed and Why?

Anglo-French forces ravaged the Summer Palace during the Opium War of 1860 and rebuilt on its 1750 foundations in 1886.

8. What was the Summer Palace Used For?

The Summer Palace was used by the imperial family as a retreat to escape excessive heat of the walled Forbidden City located in central Beijing.

9. Why is the Summer Palace Important?

The Summer Palace remains a highly preserved testament to Chinese architecture, horticulture, and forward-thinking philosophy about harmonious natural immersion. It stands as an internationally-recognized symbol that earned a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

10. Is the Summer Palace Open on Mondays?

Yes. The Summer Palace is generally open on Mondays. In China, museums are closed on Mondays except for public holidays.

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11. What Time Does the Summer Palace Open and Close?

From April 1 through Oct. 31, the Summer Palace opens at 6:30 am and closes at 6 pm. From Nov. 1 through March 31, the facility opens at 7 am and closes at 5 pm.

12. How Far is the Summer Palace from Beijing, and How to Get There?

The Summer Palace is about 9 miles from Beijing and under a 13.5-mile commute. Visitors can travel via Subway Line 4 or 10.

13. How Do You Get to the Summer Palace Via Subway?

Subway Line 4: Travel northwest and get off at Beigongmen Station. Take Exit D, walk west to the North Gate.

Subway Line 10: Travel to Bagou station at the end and secure a taxi to shuttle you to the South Gate.

14. How Do You Tour the Summer Palace?

Many visitors choose to stroll through the Summer Palace and enjoy the breath-taking sights. Boat tours are available, and much of the facility is wheelchair accessible.

15. What are the Top Things to do at the Summer Palace?

Leisurely enjoyment of the Summer Palace generally involves 2-3 hours of strolling through the lush gardens, touring historic architecture and picturesque lake views. There are art exhibits, tours of the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, Hall of Jade Ripples, and boat excursions, among others. Many visitors choose to plan on a half-day experience.

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16. Which Entrance is Used to Enter the Summer Palace?

There are three primary places visitors can enter the Summer Palace, the East Gate or “Main Gate,” North Gate or “Beigongmen,” and South Gate generally referred to as the “New Palace Gate.”

17. How Much Time Does it Take to Tour the Summer Palace?

Visitors can experience the Summer Palace in 2.5-3 hours. If you want to additionally experience the Old Summer Palace, planning a half-day trip may be prudent.

18. What is the Old Summer Palace?

Located to the east of today’s Summer Palace, the “Garden of Perfection and Light” was built in 1709 during the Qing Dynasty. Visitors often tour both locations with the Old Summer Palace blending traditional Chinese and Western architecture and scenery.

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