Archive for the ‘Beijing Attractions’ Category

How to visit Summer Palace (Tips, Photos & Map)

Sunday, August 7th, 2022
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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 in later Qing Dynasty, 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.com

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 for visiting Summer Palace. 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

Add: 19 Xinjian Gongmen Road, Haidian District, Beijing 北京市海淀区新建宫门路19号
Tel: 62881144 Fax : 62881077

Tiananmen Square – Summer Palace 40-minute by drive

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 40 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 towntown at all, so this can be troublesome.

Tip # 03: Opening Time:

High Season (From April 1 to Oct. 31)
Open: 6:00
Tickets stop selling at 19:00;
Close: 20:00

Low Season (From Nov. 1 to Mar. 31 next year)
Open: 6:30
Tickets stop selling at 18:00;
Close: 19:00

Tip # 04: Buy a correct entrance ticket

Three kinds of tickets
1) Entrance ticket for the huge park itself.
2) Combo ticket both for the park and also for the pay attractions inside the park.
3) Free Tickets: Foreign tourists aged 60 or above can exchange tickets with their passports; Children under the age of 6 (including 6 years old) or under the height of 1.2 meters (including 1.2 meters) with valid documents are free of charge.

Note: also the ticket prices are divided onto two categories – Low Season ad Peak Season.

Summer Palace Admission
30 yuan (peak season)
20 yuan (off-season)

Summer Palace Combo ticket
60 Yuan (peak season)
50 yuan (off-season)

The pay attractions inside the park: 5 yuan for De He Garden; Wenchang Hospital 20 yuan; 10 yuan for Foxiang Pavilion; 10 yuan for Suzhou Street

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

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 difficulty, you can hire a wheelchair free of charge from your 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.

All the toilets in Summer Palace are are equipped with wheelchair accessible facilities.

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.

Inquiry:010-62881144, ext 6618

Summer Palace offers English guide , the price are listed below:

180 yuan, an hour and a half

240 yuan, two hours

320 yuan , two hours and a half

within five people , include five peoples ; for each travel group plus one people , pay 10 yuan 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 ( North 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 viewed from Longevity Hill in Summer Palace

 Tip # 08: Boating on Kunming Lake

Taking a boat ride starting from the Marble Boat across the lake and pass by the beautiful 17-Arch Bridge is a fun way to have more stunning views.

Ferry Boat Ride:30 yuan (Between Marble Boat and Bronze Cattle Dock)
Operating Time: 8:30 – 16:30

Pleasure Boats ( rowing on the lake): 60 yuan per boat per hour with 400 yuan as deposit) , a kind of paddle boat ( Max 4 people)
Operating Time: 8:30 – 16:30

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.
People coming through the famous 17-arch bridge

Tip # 10: Prepare for a 2-3-hour outdoor sightseeing

Visiting Summer Palace needs 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.

Tip # 11: Skating at Summer Palace

Plan your Beijing winter tour? Skating is one of Beijing’s traditional pastimes in winter.  There are a few lake-turned skate rinks with a total skating area of 1000,000 square meters in Beijing. 

Back to the starting point of the skating service center.

Summer Palace is  a big draw for first time visitors to Beijing. The Kunming Lake Skate Rink in Summer Palace is the largest in Beijing totaling 700,000 square meters. See Skating at Summer Palace for more information.

Tip # 12: 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 # 13:  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:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Beijing Winter Tour
Great Wall Tour
China City Tours
China Tour

Chinese version of the travel guide

颐和园旅游小贴士

Further Readings


Best Time to Visit Beijing
How to plan a trip to Beijing

Women Summer Dresses & Fashion Beijing, China
Winter Skating in Summer Palace.
Sunset over 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.


Qianmen Street (Tips, Photos & Map)

Friday, June 3rd, 2022
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Qianmen Street, aka Qian Men Da Jie 前门大街 in Chinese, is an 845-meter long street running south from Zhengyangmen Tower on the southern edge of Tiananmen Square, along the Beijing central axis. It is one of the last remnants of the commercial centres of the old Beijing.

Qianmen Street Map ( google)

Now it has been transformed into a modern commercial pedestrian street, the most second visited traffic-free street after Wangfujing Street in Beijing.

Qianmen Street was initially formed in Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911). By the time of Emperor Jiajing, the 12th Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) emperor, the street was dotted with guild halls built by different localities, providing houses to citizens from other parts of China intending to take the imperial exams.

Qianmen Street became even more prosperous in the early years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) with the development of activities such as lantern fairs, theatres and tea houses.

Places like the Guanghe Theater  – today threatened with demolition — and the Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant are part of Beijing’s history.

The original Qianmen Street in Ming and Qing Dynasties was burnt down to ashes in 1900 when the Allied Forces of the Eight Powers ransacked Beijing. Physically, there is nothing left for us to retrieve.

The present Qianmen Street has been rebuilt on the historical photos and the mould of the 1920s to 1930s. The 1.45-square kilometer area has been built into four zones for culture, food, shopping and entertainment. Trolley cars are back to transport and entertain tourists.

The area is home to 50 courtyards and hutongs listed as state-level heritage sites, as well as 80 famed shops that have been operating for over a century, such as the Liubiju sauce and pickle shop, Tongrentang drugstore, Ruifuxiang silk shop, Neiliansheng shoes store and Zhangyiyuan tea shop.

Follow me to explore Qianmen Street.

You may visit Qianmen Street from its northern paifang gateway, south of Tiananmen Square.

The northern paifang gateway to Qianmen Street

Here you can find the West meets the East. The Starbucks is located by the side of the norther paifang gateway of Qianmen Street, south of Zhengyangmen Tower.

Or, you may enter Qianmen Street from its southern entrance. The distance between the north entrance and south entrance is 845m in length.

The south entrance to Qianmen Street

The Dangdang Che ( Tram) is basically in service during Chinese public holidays running from north to south.

The Dangdang Che ( Tram) will be in service during Chinese public holidays running from north to south.
The Dangdang Che ( Tram)

Walking along the street.

Walking along the street.

The father and daughter are ambling down the street.

The father and daughter are ambling on the street.

KFC is mixed with the traditional Beijing elements.

KFC is mixed with the traditional Beijing elements.
KFC is mixed with the traditional Beijing elements.

The 845m long Qianmen Street is a nice place for a walk.

The 845m long Qianmen Street is a nice place for a walk.
The 845m long Qianmen Street is a nice place for a walk.

Here you can find the West meets the East. The Starbucks is located at the north entrance.

Here you can find the West meets the East.
Here you can find the West meets the East.

The time-honored Yueshengzhai Restaurant.

The time-honored Yueshengzhai Restaurant.

The famous Qianmen Quanjude Duck Restaurant.

The famous Qianmen Quanjude Duck Restaurant.

People are lining up for having a bite of Duyichu shaomai.

People are lining up for having a bite of Duyichu shaomai.

China Bookstore

China Bookstore

Changcuntang, a famous traditional Chinese Pharmacy

Changcuntang, a famous traditional Chinese Pharmacy

Qianmen Street is also an interesting area where the East and the West stay peacefully and harmoniously.

MCdonald’s on the street

MCdonald’s on the street

Walking about 80 meters from the north entrance to Qianmen Street, on your right hand, you will see the entrance to the famous Dashilan, once the commercial center of Beijing.

The Dashilan area has gathered some of China’s oldest brands, such as Tongrentang (TCM), Neiliansheng (shoes), and Ruifuxiang (silk and fabrics).

The entrance to the famous Dashilan

The two time-honored shops selling hats and shoes inside Dashilan Area.

The two time-honored shops selling hats and shoes inside Dashilan Area

Its north entrance is just behind Zhengyang Gate ( Arrow Tower ).

Its north entrance is just behind Zhengyang Gate ( Arrow Tower ).
Its northern paifang gateway is just behind Zhengyang Gate ( Arrow Tower ).

Add-on

Night View of Qianmen Street in Beijing
The Central Axis of Beijing
Qianmen Area Beijing

Tip: 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:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Beijing Winter Tour
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Tours
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


Best Time to Visit Beijing
How to plan a trip to Beijing

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

Chinese version of the travel guide:

前门大街 -北京的一条步行街

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to visit Bird’s Nest and Water Cube

Monday, May 30th, 2022
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The successful Beijing 2008 Olympic Games has left a deep impression on people’s mind in the world. For many foreign visitors, the temptation is great to visit the Bird’Nest (Beijing National Stadium ) and Water Cube (Beijing National Aquatics Center).

Bird’Nest (Beijing National Stadium )

Well, how, when to visit the two fancy Olympic sites? What do you expect from them? Any tips for visiting the two Olympic buildings?

Water Cube (Beijing National Aquatics Center).

Personally I’ve been to the Olympic Park for several times. We’ve rounded up some practical tips on helping you plan your own trip to the great architectures in the Olympic Park.

Tip 1: Subway is highly recommended

Both Bird’s Nest and Water Cube are easily accessible through subway, cheap and fast. Take Subway Line 10 and get off at Beitucheng Station. Then interchange for Subway Line 8 and get off at the next station to the north – Olympic Sports Center or the second station – Olympic Park ( Olympic Green ). Once you come out from the subway, you are inside the Olympic Park. The park is free to the public.

Check out How to take subway in Beijing for some practical information on the metro system in Beijing.

If you are familiar with Beijing public bus system, taking a bus is also advisable due to its numerous buses available:

Bus 409, 426, 645, 653, 656, 658, 660, 689, 694, 740, 740, 753, 758, 803, 839, 849, 850, 858.

Taxi is not recommended mainly due to the fact it is hard to find a parking lot. So very often your driver has to stop in a parking area a bit far from the Olympic Park and you have to walk a long distance before you get to the park.

Tip 2: An evening tour better than a daytime visit

Of course, during the daytime, you can have a close look at their true faces. But the bird’s nest is so much concrete and the water cube looks lifeless. Just too little shade and shelter provided by trees, very hot in summer!

Beauifully Lit-up Beijing National Stadium

If you come here in the evening, things are a world of difference! The Water Cube displays a different color pattern each evening, looking like a fantastic magic box.

Visiting Water Cube

It is said that solar panel inside the nest collects the sun’s rays by the daytime and light the bird’s nest by night. An illuminated bird’s-nest gives you much for thinking!

Tip 3: Outside or inside?

Many people just take some pictures from their outside; some prefer to go inside exploring. Which is better? It all depends.

The Picture of the Whole Stadium Illuminated

If you have limited time, or you are not interested in what is going on inside, then just have a glimpse. That’s all right. If you are more curious about the inner structures of the two buildings, inside visiting is high recommended if you have sufficient time.

Visiting Beijing National Stadium

Opening time and Entrance fee for Bird’s Nest:
09:00 – 18:0
RMB: 50
Water Cube: RMB30
Water Park: RM 200
Swimming only: RMB 50

Tip 4: Avoid public holiday or weekend

If you are not interested in the people-watching, just avoid coming here on public holiday and weekend. On the tourist season, tickets are hard to get. You have to line up for quite some time before you buy entrance tickets.

Water Cube

At the main entrance to the Olympic sites, there are some convenience stores for you to buy water and snack food.

Tip 5: More than sightseeing

It is estimated that every weekday there are 20,000 to 30,000 daily visitors on coming to Olympic Park. About 5000 people will go inside either Bird’s Nest or Water Cube each day!

Most of the income of two buildings comes from the tickets selling and other comprehensive management, which just meets the cost for maintaining the two buildings.

To make the two buildings more lucrative, local government and management company are going to gradually change the two sports building into a leisure center including eating, playing, entertaining, meetings and conference, hotels and sports events as well.

It is said that a trendy and high-end Olympic Theme Restaurant has been set up in Bird’s Nest. In Winter, the bird’s nest will be made a ski resort for a winter festival.

The entrance fee for the newly built water amusement parks costs RMB 200 per person. The entrance fee for the water cube still keeps at RMB 30.

Tip 6: More to see and to do in the Olympic Park

The Bird’s Nest and Water Cube are just two most important Olympic Buildings in the park. Other Olympic venues including Beijing National Indoor Stadium, the archery range, tennis courts and hockey rink in North Olympic Forest Park. 

Tip:  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:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Tours
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


How to Plan a Trip to Beijing
Best Time to Visit Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
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 Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

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

Wangfujing Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.