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Summer Palace
Location: Haidian District, at the northwest suburb of Beijing (15 km away from city center), Beijing Municipality 

Opening time: 07:00-17:00 (Nov.1 - Mar.31, low season of tourism)
                           06:30-18:00 (Apr.1 - Oct.31, peak season of tourism)
Cruise information: 
- Docks: Bafang Pavilion (八方亭), Wenchang Pavilion (文昌阁), Jade Ripples Hall (玉澜堂), Hall of Dispelling Clouds (排云殿), Shizhang Pavilion (石丈亭), the Statue of Bronze Ox (铜牛), the Marble Boat (石舫), South Lake Island (南湖岛)
- Boats available: rowing boat, battery boat, water cycle, dragon-shaped boat, large-scale pleasure boats as well as chartered boats.
Time for boat chartering: 08:00-17:00 (day time); 18:00-22:00 (night time)
How to get to Summer Palace:
- Subway: take Line 4and get off at Bei Gong Men (北宫门 North Palace Gate); or get off at Xiyuan Station (西苑站, Exit C2) and walk for 500 meters westward until see the Gong Gong Men (东宫门 East Palace Gate, the main entrance of Summer Palace).
- Bus: 74, 209, 303, 319, 320, 330, 331,332, 333 (both inner and outer ring routes), 346, 374, 375, 384, 394, 432, 437, 438, 469, 498, 539, 628, 664, 683, 690, 696, 704, 716, 718, 726, 732, 737, 801, 808, 817, 826, 904, 905, 907 and 952.
Best time for visit: September. Snow landscapes in winter  are also some of the most gorgeous.
Recommended time for a visit: from 1.5 hours to half a day, not less!

Summer Palace

The Emperors' Summer Imperial retreat place and largest garden in China

The Summer Palace, also called "Yi He Yuan" (颐和园) literally meaning "the Garden of Restful Peace" in Chinese, is one of the most visited scenic spots together with the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven or Great Wall in Beijing city. Immense garden at a few kilometers away from the city, the Summer Palace holds its name to perfection as this was where emperors and the imperial family used to retreat at summer time, away from the heat that was burning the Forbidden City. This ancient royal garden is beautifully composed of palaces, temples, gardens, pavilions, lakes and corridors fully radiating the natural beauty and the grandeur of imperial gardens. As the largest garden in China, the Summer Palace is today the center of interests of all tourists coming to visit Beijing and its many cultural and historical relics. Looking like a part of Heaven after visiting the turmoil of Beijing city center, the Summer Palace is the place where to have a rest to discover the amazing architecture of the park invented hundred of years ago during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

History around the Summer Palace

The Summer Palace started to be constructed in 1750 under the orders of Emperor Qianlong (1735-1796). Originally called "The Garden of Clear Ripples" (清漪园Qing Yi Yuan) the garden was considerably enlarged and embellished after the gigantesque work of the 100 000 laborers who worked on this imperial retreat for years. Like during many other historical events, the garden burned down with the invasion of Anglo-French troops in 1860 during the Second Opium War (1856-1860). That was just after the reconstruction of the garden under Empress Dowager Cixi's reign in 1888 that the garden was renamed the "Summer Palace". Being a place inspiring peace and harmony, the Summer Palace progressively started to be the permanent residence of the Imperial family that constructed pavilions and other small parts of the actual park that we can visit today. Burnt down a second time in 1900 after the Boxer Rebellion (1898-1901) and reconstructed another time, the Summer Palace was opened to public in 1924. This was only in 1998 that the great beauty of the garden was revealed after the recognition of the site as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage as well as a National 5A Tourist Spot of China.

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