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Summer Palace, Gardens of Nurtured Harmony Private Walking Tour in Beijing

Summer Palace, Gardens of Nurtured Harmony Private Walking Tour in Beijing

Thirty minutes northwest of central Beijing lays a large park framed by a shallow, tranquil lake and a lush, pine and cypress covered hill - the Summer Palace. A stunning example of a created environment in perfect harmony with its natural surroundings, it was constructed as a pleasure garden for the emperors and empresses of the Qing, the last Imperial dynasty of China.

During your three hour private walking seminar led by an expert in Chinese Imperial history, you will explore this idyllic setting, tracing its various transformations, from a royal retreat destroyed by foreign invaders, to a center for administration, a residence, and now a public park and World Heritage Site.

Please Note: Rate does not include the Summer Palace entry fee of 30 RMB per person, payable on the day of the tour.

  • Details
  • Description
  • Cancellation Policy
  • Related Photos

Tour/Activity Details

Length

3 hours

Time

10:00 am & 3:00 pm on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday

5 Days Minimum Advance Booking Required. Rate does not include the Summer Palace entry fee of 30 RMB per person, payable on the day of the tour. Tour does not include hotel pickup. Rate is per-group in US dollars. Please order online or call to order or for more information.

Description

More Tour Details

The largest and best-preserved Imperial garden in China, the Summer Palace was historically divided into three sections with separate functions: administration...living quarters...and leisure and recreation. Focusing on the Old Court area – the center of political activities in the Palace – you will pass through the East Gate, with its separate entrances for the ruler, the high officials and the guards.

The tour may stop by the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, where the notorious Dowager Empress Cixi (who may or may not have killed her own nephew) and Emperor Guangxu directed state activities and held court. Abutting the Old Court, you will find the residential area where the Dowager Empress Cixi made her permanent residence in the Hall of Happiness and Longevity. Cixi’s extravagance is a hallmark of the Summer Palace, with its full display coming in the form of the large Stone Boat constructed on the edge of Kunming Lake. The tour may also pass through the Hall of Jade Billows where Guangxu sometimes stayed.

The remainder of the Palace was designed for leisure activities, and your walk will focus on exploring that. Pay special attention to the Long Corridor, a 2,500 foot structure decorated with 14,000 paintings along its ceiling, each of which depicts everything from scenes of Chinese literature and folktales to famous buildings and landscapes. Also of note is the Hall of Listening to Orioles, the site of the Dowager Empress’ favorite Peking opera venue.

You may also walk along Suzhou Street, a life-sized playground modeled after an actual city in Eastern China, which demonstrates how the emperors sought to represent the essence of high taste from across their empire within the park. Weather permitting, the group will also explore the Palace from its best vantage point - a boat on Kunming Lake.

Throughout the course of this walk, you and your guide will explore the Summer Palace not only within the context of Imperial China, but also within China’s connection to the Western world, looking closely at the effects of the destruction of the Palace first by the Allied Anglo-French forces during the Second Opium War and how Cixi’s decision to rebuild her extravagant palace (using funds earmarked for the navy) played out in the context of China’s political future.

The Summer Palace’s idyllic setting belies a rich and complex history. As you meander through this vast retreat, your guide will dig deeply into 19th century China, its rulers and its relationship with the wider world. By the end of this walk, you will have a clear understanding of how China’s Imperial leaders lived, worked and played, and how they shaped China as we know it today.

5 Days Minimum Advance Booking Required. Rate does not include the Summer Palace entry fee of 30 RMB per person, payable on the day of the tour. Tour does not include hotel pickup. Rate is per-group in US dollars. Please order online or call to order or for more information.

Cancellation Policy

There are no refunds. All sales are final.

Change policy

If changes are allowed on a tour or activity, a $20.00 per reservation change fee will be applied for any change to a reservation. Please note that some tours and activities do not allow any changes. Date changes can only be made only if we can confirm availability on the new date. While we cannot guarantee any changes can be made, all change requests must be submitted a minimum of 24 hours prior to the tour departure and must be handled on an individual basis through our Reservations Center.

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Rates All rates are in US Dollars

Event Date:

October 28, 2017

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