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Summer Palace

This idyllic public park was once the summer retreat of the Qing Dynasty. It houses the iconic Boat of Purity and Ease.

The Summer Palace on the shore of Kunming Lake is home to the largest royal garden in China and has many remarkable buildings. Enjoy the lush scenery and architecture and have a picnic on the lawns.

The complex was originally constructed as a vacation retreat for the Qing emperors in the 18th century. It later became their main residence. Like Beijing's Old Summer Palace, the complex was damaged by European troops during the Second Opium War and the Boxer Rebellion. However, the Chinese managed to restore this palace.

You’ll enter the park at East Palace Gate, which gives access to the park’s main complex. Here, you’ll find the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, which contains intricate bronze sculptures, engravings and ornate furnishings.

Watch the boaters on the large man-made lake. Stroll along the northwest shore to see a more unusual vessel: the Boat of Purity and Ease. This structure is also known as the Marble Boat, although it is actually a wooden pavilion on a stone base.

From the boat, it’s a short stroll to the foot of Longevity Hill, made from soil that came out of the pit for the lake. Hike up the 200-feet (60-meter) tall front slope, which has symmetrically laid-out structures on either side. Gaze up at the towering Hall of Dispensing Clouds. For a small fee you can enter the Tower of Buddhist Incense, a remarkable three-story building that contains a gilded statue of the Buddha with 1,000 hands and eyes. Descend at the rear end of the hill to find a scenic natural setting dotted with ruins.

The Summer Palace is located in the Haidian District, northwest of Beijing city. It takes at least 30 minutes to get to the palace from central Beijing by taxi. You can also take the subway to Beigongmen Station or Xiyuan Station, but this can take up to an hour. There is an admission fee to enter the palace.


Guide to Exploring around Summer Palace


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Best Lodging Options Near Summer Palace

See all 1,182 Properties near Summer Palace
Fuyuanlou Business Hotel - Beijing
Fuyuanlou Business Hotel - Beijing

Fuyuanlou Business Hotel - Beijing

A-No.1, Fuyuan Gate, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Haidian, this hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Kunming Lake and 2.3 mi (3.7 km) from Old Summer Palace. Renmin University of China and Beihang University are also within 6 mi (10 km). Beigongmen Station is 11 minutes by foot and Xiyuan Station is 12 minutes.

    Pod Inn
    Pod Inn

    Pod Inn

    Building 3, Outside Academy of Military, Sciences, No. 75 Xiangshan Road,, Beijing, Beijing
       
      2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Haidian, this hotel is 1 mi (1.6 km) from Kunming Lake and within 6 mi (10 km) of Old Summer Palace and Beijing Botanical Garden. Fragrant Hills Park and Renmin University of China are also within 6 mi (10 km). Anheqiao North Station is 8 minutes by foot and Beigongmen Station is 11 minutes.

      Garden Hotel - Beijing
      Garden Hotel - Beijing

      Garden Hotel - Beijing

      No.35 Haidian Street, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Haidian, this hotel is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Kunming Lake and within 3 mi (5 km) of Renmin University of China and Old Summer Palace. Beijing Foreign Studies University is 2.8 mi (4.5 km) away. Bagou Station is 23 minutes by foot and Xiyuan Station is 27 minutes.

        FX Hotel BeiJing ZhongGuanCun
        FX Hotel BeiJing ZhongGuanCun

        FX Hotel BeiJing ZhongGuanCun

        No.68 North 4th Ring West Road, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Haidian, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Kunming Lake, Renmin University of China, and Beijing Foreign Studies University. Old Summer Palace and Beihang University are also within 3 mi (5 km). Zhongguancun Station is 13 minutes by foot and Suzhoujie Station is 14 minutes.

          The Lake View Hotel Beijing
          The Lake View Hotel Beijing

          The Lake View Hotel Beijing

          No 127 North Street, Zhongguancun, Beijing, Beijing
             
            4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            This family-friendly Beijing hotel is located in Haidian, within 3 mi (5 km) of Old Summer Palace, Renmin University of China, and Kunming Lake. Beijing Language and Culture University is 2.6 mi (4.2 km) away. Yuanmingyuan Park Station is 8 minutes by foot and East Gate of Peking University Station is 8 minutes.

            Pod Inn
            Pod Inn

            Pod Inn

            No.58 Wanquanhe Road, Beijing, Beijing
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Haidian, this hotel is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Renmin University of China and within 3 mi (5 km) of Beijing Foreign Studies University and Kunming Lake. Beihang University is 2.3 mi (3.8 km) away. Suzhoujie Station is 7 minutes by foot and Haidian Huangzhuang Station is 13 minutes.

              Ariva Beijing West Hotel & Serviced Apartment ¥8,403
              Ariva Beijing West Hotel & Serviced Apartment

              Ariva Beijing West Hotel & Serviced Apartment

              36 Haidian South Road, Haidian District, Beijing, Beijing
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Haidian, this hotel is 1.2 mi (2 km) from Renmin University of China and within 3 mi (5 km) of Beijing Foreign Studies University and Kunming Lake. Beihang University and Old Summer Palace are also within 3 mi (5 km). Suzhoujie Station is 6 minutes by foot and Bagou Station is 11 minutes.

                Sun Service Apartment Zhongguancun
                Sun Service Apartment Zhongguancun

                Sun Service Apartment Zhongguancun

                NO1 CAIHEFANG ROAD HAIDIAN DISTRICT,15, Beijing, PEK
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Haidian, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Renmin University of China and Peking University. Summer Palace is 3 mi (4.8 km) away. Zhongguancun Station is only a 4-minute walk and Haidian Huangzhuang Station is 12 minutes.