Tag Archives: China Imperial Palace

Summer Palace: A Beautiful Rest House for a Powerful Queen

The Summer Palace was the rest house specifically restored for the powerful Empress Dowager Ci Xi — the first woman who ruled the empire. She made the last two emperors (during her reign) as her puppets that succumbed to her every desire.

In this place, Emperors and their consorts visits this place during the summer to relax and escape the heat in Beijing, hence, the name Summer Palace.

My Mom and Brother in the Summer Palace--sorry for the pics... my Mom and my brother are my models 🙂

The Summer Palace has already been there even before this dragon lady (Empress Ci Xi) came up to power, but, this was unfortunately destroyed and was burnt to ashes by foreign conquerors.

The Emperor, the Empress’ son, asked that this magnificent structure be rebuilt to its former glory. This will serve as a gift for his mother-Empress Dowager Ci Xi, who was before became very attached to this place when she was still a lowly concubine. And also this will serve as the Emperor’s political strategy to get the Empress off the main imperial palace and to get rid of her constant interference in political affairs. But, unfortunately, a lot of political issues came up…this pushed the finishing of this beautiful palace in a halt for years.

After a few years, even though the empire is still in chaos, and where the Chinese Navy just lost another war, the Empress Dowager Ci Xi ordered the restoration of this palace. She ignored the needs of her people and instead invested the big sum of money for the Summer Palace that is still standing there until today. We might say that the Empress is selfish, but without her insistence of creating this legacy, we, the people of today will not be able to see how grand and beautiful this place is.

In fact, this palace is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since December 1998 and named as one of the beautiful palace garden ever created. It shows the unique Chinese garden landscape design and its beautiful architectural concept.

The Palace has a big man-made lake sitting down the slope of the mountain; where the main halls of this palace is located. To get to the main halls, you need to walk the long corridors that is winding, passing through the side of the lake and some palace halls. While walking in this long corridors, you have the chance to feel that you are one of the royalties… Looking at your right is the stunning lake which makes your heart flutter in happiness. It makes you feel happy and relaxed at the same time.

The truth is, that this Summer Palace had also a lot of history embedded on its walls, much more history than the Great Wall (in Badaling). This was created during the Jin Dynasty (2 dynasties earlier than the Ming) but as I said before, was destroyed, but was restored by the 3rd to the last emperor of China. Which was unlike the Badaling Great Wall, it was only made during the Ming Dynasty.

My Family and I weren’t able to climb up to the beautiful three-storey old hall, because, once again, our tour guide doesn’t want us to go. Anyway, as we traversed the long corridors, I already had a glimpse of how beautiful this place is. One which is unforgettable and the history which surrounds it makes it more wonderful.

Inside the boat that rides passengers going to the main hall. Look at the roof and its details!

You have 2 ways to go and see this beautiful site. Either you ride the ferry boat, which is also designed like an old-style Boat with colors just like the ones seen in the palace — Green, blue and red. Or you can opt to walk down the long corridors–which I suggest since you will pass by a lot of halls with history embedded on it.

My Mom and my brother in one of the halls: I think this is where the Emperor (the niece of the Empress Dowager) was put into house arrest and wasn't given food or drink until he died.

Tips and Suggestions:

  1. It is better to visit this place, not in a tour group, since they will only give you a limited time to enjoy the place.
  2. Bring water. Although there are vendors inside this Palace, it is better if you have your own, since they might just pester you
  3. Make sure to use walking shoes or slippers, don’t use high heels, you will be walking a lot
  4. wear comfortable clothing
  5. bring your camera and take a lot of pictures

We used Sinohotelguide again for our tour, it costs $28USD per person (P1204.00) but I suggest going here with a private your guide or on your own.

For you, who are still thinking whether to tick this off from your itinerary, please, remember what I said above. This is a beautiful place and worth every cent of your hard-earned money.

This is a 1 hour drive from Beijing City Center.

HOW TO GO HERE–DIY? (From TravelChinaGuide)

By subway Subway Line 4: get off at Beigongmen Station (Beigongmen means the North Palace Gate of the Summer Palace); or get off at Xiyuan Station, get out of the station from Exit C2 (southwest exit) and walk west.
By bus Take bus 209, 330, 331, 332, 346, 394, 683, 690, 696, 718, 801, 808, or 826 and get off at Yiheyuan Station.

Take bus 469 or 539 and get off at Yiheyuan West Palace Gate Station.

Take bus 209, 319, 320, 331, 332, 333(内), 333(外), 394, 432, 438, 498, 628, 664, 718, 801, 826, 特6, Yuntong 106, Yuntong 114, or Yuntong 118 and get off at Yiheyuanlu Dongkou Station (The Eastern End of Yiheyuan Road).

Take bus 303, 331, 346, 375, 384, 393, 498, 634, 683, 696, 697, 718, 801, 808, 特5 or 特10 and get off at Yiheyuan North Palace Gate Station.

Take bus 74, 374, 437 or 952 and get off at Xin Jian Gong Men (Yiheyuan New Palace Gate) Station.

Ticket Fees and Prices: (Price quoted in Chinese Yuan, Philippine Peso and US Dollars)

Entrance Fees:                              Nov.1 – Mar.31, 2012                                     April 1- Oct. 31

  • Entrance Fee                      20 CNY (P140.00) ($3.25)                   30CNY (P210.00, $5)
  • Combination Ticket
  • Dehe Garden,
  • Wenchang Hall,                     50 CNY (P350.00) ($8.13)                  60CNY (P420.00,$10)
  •  Tower of Buddhist Incense,
  •  Suzhou Street and Danning Hall)
Opening Hours 7:00 am -5:00pm    6:30am- 6:00pm

note: I apologize for the photos. I don’t have photos without my mom or my brother in it, since we are traveling in a group tour so we opted to maximize our time by taking photos with a person in it for souvenir.. 🙂 I promise that for my next travels, I will always take photos of the landscapes only.

Forbidden City: A once Forbidden Palace

It is nice to walk in a place once forbidden. This a city, a kingdom, which was always there but is not accessible for the common people. The place is characterized by common people as Heaven on Earth…

Got this from TravelNLife photos. Sorry, I don’t have good pictures for the entrance 😦

Words cannot describe how beautiful this place is. It made me think, what if I will be the emperor or even the empress of this wonderful place, what will happen? and what will I feel? Anyway, walking and standing in this great forbidden palace made me feel that I’m  one of them. It makes you go back to the pages of history itself! It has centuries of history written on its walls and hallways which makes you ponder more on how beautifully preserved this palace is. No words can ever describe my lovely experience in the Forbidden City.

The experience of walking in the old passageways makes me feel like I’m one of the royalties. Not only that, it gave my hollow imagination a chance to make me an empress in just one day. I just imagined walking its corridors in a red silk clothing while guards and eunuchs follow my every step. I imagined sipping tea while looking at the grandeur of each of the halls and knowing that I’m rich and I’m powerful….. (screech…. Imagination o..v..e..r)…Back to reality!… the real deal is that being an Empress is a hard job! and the politics inside and outside the palace is just head-spinning chaos… so I better stop imagining those stuff and just enjoy being a common person who has her own privacy and freedom to travel!

Well, one of the things the empress cannot do is that she cannot travel! Poor her!!! I cannot fathom being locked out for all of my life! Although who wants to travel in a war-ridden country which has full of enemies?!  if I will be her, I’ll just stay at home and be pampered by her eunuchs..

The Forbidden city is a PALACE. a grand and humungous one! With over 9000 rooms!  My tour group took 2 hours just to pass-by the grand halls. Remember, we just passed-by the halls or structures in the middle, we didn’t actually explore the whole thing but it took us 2 hours (2 grand hours of Walking), maybe if you wanna tour everything and see everything, it will take you 5-8 hours to finish this thing off!

The Forbidden City gives you a glimpse of how grand China is during those period and you will just pop the word “Wow” because the history of China and of this place is just amazing! It made me envy of such rich history of China, it made me think of what will happen if Philippines have also royalties in the past.

Well, the forbidden city is really a place to visit! It is a must see! if you have been to China and wasn’t able to see this, I’m telling you to go back and to see this sight! This is really wonderful! The biggest palace in Asia I’ve ever seen! Much bigger than Korea’s Gyeongbokgung palace and much more lively!

We booked our tour with Sinohotelguide for $28USD or P1027.00 which also include tour in Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. But you can always do it on your own.

Downside is: There is a lot of people! It is really crowded!! No pictures taken without other person being there. All pictures have strangers on it. This is the downside! However, it is still a beauty, so go there in the afternoon, when it is near closing time. We went there in the morning, it seems that tour groups go there in the morning And it became really crowded. You can always see a lot of tour groups and their flags waving in the air.

Just look at the crowd!!!
My brother in one of the halls

Tips:
1. Go late in the afternoon
2. Don’t go there during Chinese holidays
3. Watch the Last Emperor of China to feel something about the place
4. Hire a tour guide or go there by yourself
5. Wear Comfortable clothing, especially shoes! You will be walking for hours there! We just pass through, we did not roam around the area but it took us 2 hours
6. Bring a lot of water with you! I didn’t see any stores inside the area
7. Don’t visit during Summer, it is really hot! we went there in Spring but it was already humid.

Suggestions:

1. Don’t be part of a group tour if you walk pretty slow or you have difficulty in walking, since they will just pester you and say “Hurry up! Hurry up!” My mom and dad wasn’t able to visit this place because our tour guide walks really fast and my dad cannot catch up with her… So my dad just decided to stay behind, since my mom is a martyr, she just followed where my dad is.

2. You can visit the place by yourself and just get a geo-tour (you get a headset which has an information regarding the place; the information is recorded in the machine)

How to D-I-Y a Visit to the Forbidden City (Source: TraveChinaGuide)

  • Admission Fee: 40 CNY (Nov 1. to Mar 31, 2012); 60 CNY (Apr 1 to Oct 31)
  • Admission fee for the Treasure Gallery and Clock and Watch Gallery: CNY 10
  • Opening Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (Nov. 1, 2011- Mar 31, 2012) Last entry is by 3:40pm. 8:30 to 5:00pm (April 1-Oct 31, 2012) Last entry by 4:10

How to get here:

By Subway:

  • Subway Line 1: get off at Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East Station, walk north through the Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace), and then you’ll find the Meridian Gate (south gate) of the Forbidden City.
    Subway Line 2: get off at Qianmen Station and walk north through the Tiananmen Tower.

By Bus:

  • Take bus 101, 103, 109, 124, 202, 685 or 814 and get off at Gugong (Forbidden City) Station.
  • Take bus 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 52, 120 or 802 and get off at Tiananmen Xi or Tiananmen Dong Station, walk north through the Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace), and then you’ll find the Meridian Gate (south gate) of the Forbidden City.
  • Take bus 9, 17, 44, 48, 59, 66, 803, 808, 特4, 特7 or Tuanjiehu Special Line and get off at Qianmen, Qianmen Xi, or Qianmen Dong Station, and walk north through Tiananmen Square and you’ll find the Forbidden City in front of you.