The Summer Palace is a palace located some fifteen kilometres outside of central Beijing in China. Spanning an area of nearly three square kilometres the palace grounds constitute the biggest and best preserved royal park in the country. With its traditional Chinese landscaping and spectacular views, the park is considered the ‘Museum of Royal Gardens’. The artificial palaces, pavilions, temples, bridges and halls within the grounds have been designed to complement the natural landscape.
The Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill form the defining features of the Summer Palace. The lake spans an area of 2.2 square kilometres and is manmade. The soil dug up was used to create Longevity Hill. The hill is around two hundred metres tall and supports several buildings. Longevity Hill was previously known as Gold Mountain and Jug Hill. Its current name was given by Emperor Qianlong in 1749 when he commissioned extensive landscaping on the hill. The Summer Palace was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 and it is currently a highly popular tourist spot in Beijing. Tourists visiting the Chinese capital should definitely try and visit if time permits.
Opening hours are between 7 am and 5 pm from November to March and between 6.30 am and 6 pm from April to October. A fee additional to the entrance fee is charged for entry into certain parts such as the Dehe Garden, Wenchang Hall, Tower of Buddhist Incense and Suzhou Street and Danning Hall. There are plenty of buses that go past the Summer Palace and the nearest subway stations are the Xiyuan Station and the Beigongmen Station.
Beijing is not simply the capital of China but is also at the heart of commerce, politics, science and tourism in the country. The city is home to many of China’s iconic attractions such as the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and Tiananmen Square. Tourists looking for a good Beijing hotel close to the city’s renowned landmarks can try the Raffles Beijing Hotel. Considered one of the finest 5 Star hotels in Beijing it is within easy reach of Beijing’s best restaurants and shopping centres and is a terrific place to stay.