Archive for the ‘Beijing Attractions’ Category

Tips for visiting Summer Palace

Friday, April 19th, 2019
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Plan your Beijing Tour? Summer Palace was a royal palace in later Qing Dynasty, only secondary to Forbidden City ( now the Palace Museum ).

Summer Palace is actually not just a royal palace where once Princess Dowager Cixi and the emperors lived and handled court affairs, accepted laudation and received foreign diplomats during their stay in Summer Palace.

It also epitomizes classical Chinese architecture, in terms of both garden design and construction. It is the largest royal garden in Beijing, now a good retreat for holiday makers.

Summer Palace Tourist map from willgoto

Tip # 01: How to schedule your visit
Normally it takes about 2 or3 hours to walk around Summer Palace itself. With your time on the city transportation included, you are advised to allocate at least half a day here. Summer Palace presents itself with different views for different seasons.

Winter sees people skiing on the Kunming Lake; Spring time finds people breathe under fresh trees and flowers; Summer time often sees Summer Palace set in a foggy day like a beautiful “water and mountain” Chinese scroll painting and Autumn is the best time walking around Summer Palace, clear and blue sky with comfortable weather.

Tip # 02: How to get to Summer Palace
Summer Palace has three major entry gates:
1) East Gate ( Main Gate ), also called “East Palace Gate” 东宫门
2) North Gate, also called “Beigongmen, or North Palace Gate” 北宫门
3) South Gate, also known as “New Palace Gate” 新建宫门

By Subway
1. Subway Line 4:
Take subway line 4 to the northwest direction and get off at the last but one station — Beigongmen Station ( or North Gate 北宫门) and exit from Exit D and walk to the west, soon you will see the north gate ( Beigongmen Gate )to Summer Palace 颐和园 (entrance fee:RMB30) on your left side.

2. Subway Line 10
Take subway line 10 to Bagou station at the end of Line 10, and then get a taxi from outside the station to the South Gate, or also known as New Palace Gate (新建宫门). Or you may just walk for about 1.5km from Bagou Station to the New Palace Gate.

Get off Bagou Station, follow your nose, you will meet a river, then turn right and walk along the river bank till the New Palace Gate of Summer Palace.

If confused upon which way to go upon leaving the subway, just follow the crowd.

Public Bus:
Buses via the East Gate ( Main Gate) to the Summer Palace (颐和园正门, 东宫门)Bus 330、331、332、346、394、712、718、726、732、737、801、808、817、826

Buses via the North Gate to the Summer Palace (北宫门)Bus 303、330、331、346、375、384、393、634、716、718、737、801、808、817、834、Express 5

Buses via New Palace Gate ( or South Gate) to the Summer Palace (新建宫门)Bus 374、437、481、952、704、992

Taxi Fare
A taxi from Beijing city center will cost about RMB 80 and take about 50 minutes without much traffic.

As you finish your tour and exit, you will find some taxi drivers are reluctant or even refuse to use the meter, only do a set rate, and most don’t want to go all the way back to Beijing at all, so this can be troublesome.

Tip # 03: Buy a correct entrance ticket
There are two kinds of tickets – 1) Entrance ticket for the garden-like complex 2) through-ticket both for the complex itself also for the pay attractions inside the Summer Palace complex. Also the ticket prices are divided onto two categories – Low Season ad Peak Season.

Ticket Price

Ticket Types Unit: (RMB ¥)
Low Season
Nov – Mar
High Season
April – Oct
Entrance Ticket RMB ¥20 RMB ¥30 Entrance Tickets don’t include the admission to some paid attractions inside the compound of Summer Palace
Half Price
Entrance Ticket
(for students)
RMB ¥10 RMB ¥15
Through Ticket
(Including the admission to some paid attractions inside the compound of Summer Palace)
RMB ¥50 RMB ¥60
Admissions to the paid attractions  inside the Summer Palace Garden of Virtue and Harmony RMB ¥5 RMB ¥5
Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha RMB ¥10 RMB ¥10
Wenchang Gallery RMB ¥20 RMB ¥20
Suzhou Street&Hall of Serenity RMB ¥10 RMB ¥10

Note:
1. You are advised to buy entrance tickets instead of through-tickets.
2. Once you enter the park of Summer Palace and are also interested in some of the paid attractions inside the park, you may purchase a separate admission ticket one by one on the spot.
3. Students enjoy half prices.
4. Children under 1.2m high are free of charge.
5. Basically there is no limit to the purchase of entrance tickets due to the fact that the park is sprawling and spacious.

Tip # 04: Opening Time:
High Season (From April 1 to Oct. 31)
Open: 6:30
Tickets stop selling at 18:00;
Close: 20:00

Low Season (From Nov. 1 to Mar. 31 next year)
Open: 7:00
Tickets stop selling at 17:00;
Close: 19:00

After the tickets stop selling, the visitors are not allowed to enter, and to leave on time.

Tip # 05: Tips for People with Walking Difficulty
Summer Palace is a huge landscape park. If you can’t walk too far, or have some walking diffuclity, you can hire a wheelchair free of charge from the entrance gate with a deposit of 500 yuan.

Alternatively, you can take the boat from the marble boat after walking along the long corridor and back to New Palace Gate if you enter the park through the gate. And you don’t have to retrace.

Tip # 06: English-speaking tour guides in Summer Palace
As for English-speaking tour guides in Summer Palace, you have the following three choices:

1. Hire the official tour guides attached to Summer Palace at East Palace Gate (the main gate) 东宫门.
2. Hire recorded audio guides at any of the three major gates to Summer Palace. You can return the audio guide at any gates.
3. There are some self-employed English-speaking tour guides by the entrance gates who will actively come up to you and ask you to buy their service. Not advised to use their service.

Summer Palace offers english guide , the price are triplex,

180 yuan, an hour and a half

240 yuan, two hours

320 yuan , two hours and a half

within five people , include five peoples , plus one people , 10yuan extra

Tip # 07: Choose the right entrance gate and tour route
So there are three main entrances to Summer Palace – East Palace Gate (the main gate), North Palace Gate ( Norrth Gate )  and New Palace Gate (south gate).

You should get to know the gate you will go through, especially when you take a taxi or bus. Entering Summer Palace via the different three gates, you will have three different tour routes visiting Summer Palace.

Three Visiting Routes starting from the three gates:
Starting from New Palace Gate  ( South Gate):
Walk north along East Dyke – the former Court Area (the East Palace Gate, the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity…) – Long Corridor – Longevity Hill – Marble Boat – Ferry Boat  and back to New Palace Gate (loop line).

Starting from East Palace Gate ( Main Gate)
Walk from East Palace Gate: the former Court Area (the East Palace Gate, the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity…) – Long Corridor – Longevity Hill – Marble Boat – Ferry Boat – New Palace Gate ( South Gate )

Starting from North Palace Gate ( North Gate):
Walking from North Palace Gate: Suzhou Street – Marble Boat – Longevity Hill – Long Corridor – the former court area – East Palace Gate ( Main Gate). 

Kunming Lake

Kunming Lake taken from Longevity Hill in Summer Palace

Tip # 08: Boating on Kunming Lake
Taking a boat ride starting from the Marble Boat across the lake to the beautiful 17-Arch Bridge is a fun way to have more stunning views.  Boat Ride:10 yuan.

Boat Ride on Kunming Lake

Boat Ride on Kunming Lake

Tip # 09: Familiar with its 3-part layout
The three tour routes are centered around the three main parts in Summer Palace:

The Former Court Area:  a royal palace where once Princess Dowager Cixi and the emperor lived and handled court affairs, accepted laudations and received foreign diplomats during their stay in the Summer Palace.

Long Corridor and Longevity Hill: The second part features the Long Corridor, the Hall of Dispelling Clouds, the Tower of Buddhist Incense, the Hall of the Sea of Wisdom, the Back Lake, the Suzhou Market and Longevity Hill.

Kunming Lake and Nanhu Isle: The last part is Kunming Lake, which consists of the Marble Boat, Nanhu Island, the Bronze Ox and the beautiful 17-Arch Bridge.

the beautiful 17-Arch Bridge.

The beautiful 17-Arch Bridge.

Tip # 10: Prepare for a 2-3-hour outdoor sightseeing
Visiting Summer Palace needs some a little bit strong legs with a lot walking since Summer Palace is huge. Dress for the Hot or cold weather. The summer in Beijing could be humid and closed, sometimes extremely hot.

Also winter could be very cold. So well prepared for the uncomfortable weather both in winter and summer. You are advised to wear your most comfortable shoes.

It’s a long walk! Food choice in the complex is poor – typical fast food and snacks. So bring your own.

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Tip # 11: Get to know the official notice to the visitors
1. No visitors are allowed to cross, climb, smoke, swim, skate, fish, spit, foul and litter and so on.
2. No visitors are allowed to camp, cook, fish, capture animals and dig plants inside.
3. No visitors are  allowed to paint and carve on the buildings, ground, stone, facility and tree, and to pick the flowers and spoil the lawn and trees.
4. The north of pavilion of Wenchang and the east of Jiehu Bridge are fist-level fire-proof non-smoking
5.  Expect for hand-powered wheelchairs and baby carriers used by the aged, the disabled, and children, any other vehicle are not allowed to enter without any permission.
6. The professional camera equipments are not allowed to use inside without any permission.
7. Without any permission, don’t perform, sing and make a noise so as to influence and disturb other visitors.|
8. The tour guides inside must have guide qualification.

Tip # 12:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Beijing guided tours:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Winter Skating in Summer Palace.
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop line.

The Best Place to View Peach Flowers in Beijing

Friday, April 5th, 2019
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Approx. 80 km northeast of Beijing city center, Pinggu District is home to the world’s largest peach orchard with about 11,000 hectares of peach trees. Pinggu features totally 218 kinds of peach trees with 4 species of yellow peach, white peach, nectarine and peento.

Pinggu peaches are big in size, sweet in taste and brilliant in color. The local peaches are exported to over 10 countries with a total annual production of 1300 thousand kilograms. The harvest time falls on autumn – September and October when Pinggu will hold a festival known as “The Feast of Immortal Peaches” to celebrate the happy time for peach picking and tasting.

Another moment, no less important is Pinggu Peach Festival – the viewing of the magnificent sea of peach flowers in spring starting Mid-April through May. If you happen to visit Beijing in spring, a side trip to Pinggu for a glimpse of the “Sea of Peach Flower” is an amazing addition to your Beijing trip.

The best spot in Pinggu to see peach blossoms is Dahua Town ( 大华镇) which is home to the peach orchard dubbed as “Sea of Peach Blossoms”.  Of course, there are many separated peach orchards of big or small, sponsored by individual villagers. For entry into some of their peach orchards, you either need to pay a small sum of money or buy some of their peach products.

Many of the peach orchards are fenced, you are only allowed to see from their outside fences. In Dahua Town, the major peach orchard is fenced and circled with a long wooden walkway where you can easily have a glimpse of the peach flowers inside the fences. For small and privately owned peach orchards, you can enter either paying or buying to snap the pictures of the blooming peach flowers.

How to get to Pinggu or Dahua Town in particular?
For self-driving, just set your GPS at Dahua Town and drive along g the famous peach blossom sea road (highway No.330) and skip over the downtown Pinggu.

For public bus users, you may take the public bus 852 from Dongzhimen Transportation Hub for Pinggu District.  Arriving at Pinggu District Bus Terminal, then you change for the local small bus Dahua Town or the famous peach blossom sea road (highway No.330).

Once you are in Pinggu, you will have more interesting local attractions that bestow on you, such as Pinggu Glass Sightseeing Platform, Jingdong Krast Cave, Jinhai Lake and more.

Follow me to have a virtual tour of viewing the “Sea of Peach Blossoms” in Pinggu.

Pinggu Orchard – the largest of this kind in the world

 

Selfie in front of blooming peach flowers

 

Peach blossom selfie

 

Kissing in the sea of peach blossoms

 

Senior Peach Flower Enthusiast

 

Peach flowers against sunlights

 

Peach Flower Photography

 

Flowering Peach Trees

 

Blooming Peach branches

 

Peach blossoms

 

Old branch and new flowers

 

The major Attractions in Pinggu, Beijing
Diaowo Village is an interesting place to explore the suburban life in Beijing, having a bite of the local village food, drinking, barbecuing, fishing and more. The village is located about 35km to the southwest of the Peach Orchard in Pinggu.

More major attractions in Pinggu:

1) Flying Dragon Valley
2) Bolitai Great Wall
3) Jinhai Lake 2222
4) Pinggu Glass Sightseeing Platform
5) Jingdong Karst Cave
6) Huangsongyu Reservior
7) Diaowo Village

Hassle-Free Private Tour to Visit the Glass Sightseeing Platform
If you don’t want go the daunting do-it-yourself-route and prefer an organized hassle-free private tour to visit the glass sightseeing platform and view the peach flower orchard, no worry and we have the following options:

Beijing Family Visit Springtime Day Tour
Beijing Family Visit Summer Day Tour
Beijing Family Visit Autumn Day Tour

Further Readings


Pinggu Sightseeing Glass Sightseeing Platform.
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing

How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions,  just drop a line.

The best place to view plum blossoms in Beijing

Friday, March 29th, 2019
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Finally the long, dry and gloomy days of winter have left the city of Beijing and now comes its flower season. The whole city of Beijing wakes up with flowers blooming here and there between later March and later April. if you are interested in Beijing flower viewing, today’s post will be helpful for you to plan your own Beijing spring tour.

Plums are the early flowering trees that bloom as earlier as mid March in Beijing and end in mid April. The best place to see plum blossoms is Ming Dynasty City Wall Relics Park. The park is located just south of Beijing Railway Station.

The park is the only remaining city wall relics built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in Beijing. The remnant city wall is about 1.5km in length, which is composed of the wall relics itself and the southeast corner tower of the former inner city in Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Every year the local government would sponsor a plum blossom festival at Ming Dynasty City Wall Relics Park.

Today is a bit windy and a little overcast with highest temperature at 12 degrees Celsius. It is not a perfect day for photographing, adding some difficulty to an amateure photographer like me. As a plum flower enthusiast, I cannot afford to wait for another Sunday and miss the prime blooming time for plum blossoms.

Ming Dynasty City Wall Relics Park is just a 10 minute walk from my residential block. Today it seems that the good luck follows me. When I get there at 2:00 pm, the sky is blue with much sunshine! This gives me much enthusiasm to view and examine the various kinds of plum trees with different styles and colors of blossoms.

Blossom season is the happy time for photographers, professional and amateur as well as for people of all ages on spring outings to enjoy spring flowers. You see, there are quite a few people walking on the pathways below the ancient city wall, bathing in the sunshine and taking photos of the trees.

It is said that there are about 1,000 plum trees in the park and the prime blooming time is between March 25 and April 5. So I hit the right time for plum flower viewing in Beijing.

There are over a dozen types of plum trees in the park shown in the colors of black red, res, pink, white and green. People in small groups, family or friends, gather around some blooming plum trees, talking, laughing, taking pictures and some even taking a sniff of the fragrant buds.

Below are some of the plum blossom snaps today, and hope you will like them.

The blossom season is the happy time for people of all ages to embrace the nature.

The blossom season is the happy time for people of all ages

The plum blossoms against the wall is similar to a Chinese traditional painting

The plum blossoms against the wall is similar to a Chinese traditional painting

A veteran photographer is shooting his target

A veteran photographer is shooting his target

He himself has become part of the beautiful scene. The drooping plum tree blossoms have surely aroused his attention.

a lonely plum blossom

a lonely plum blossom

A happy couple

A happy couple

One full blossom and two buds

One full blossom and two buds

Refuse to be white

Refuse to be white

Heavily blossomed tree in white

Heavily blossomed tree in white

Black red plum blossoms

Black red plum blossoms

Struggling to be out of the buds

Struggling to be out of the buds

A beautiful fork of plum blossoms

A beautiful fork of plum blossoms

Green plum blossoms

Green plum blossoms

So why hesitate?

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.