After the Forbidden City and Imperial Garden, we visited the Summer Palace. I imagine the grandeur of the Summer Palace is much more extraordinary when in the midst of summer. But the scenery was still picturesque. The lake had a thin layering of ice on the surface that added an interesting depth to all my photos.
It was blistering cold, however the sun came out which helped. We had ~2h at the Summer Palace to roam on our own. Our tour guide said we would need weeks to fully explore the area. The lake itself is >500 acres. In the warm months, it was a place of respite for the Emperor and Empress. They would spend much of their time at the Summer Palace instead of the Forbidden City.
The Summer Palace origin dates back to the 1100s. It was named a World Landmark in the 1900s. Even in the bitter cold, locals were playing games and enjoying the beautiful scenery. We even saw a man writing calligraphy in the sidewalk. He was creating a portrait of a bystander in the picture below….it’s not the piglet! He was using water instead of ink. It was very entertaining. It made me think of my father-in-law who is quite talented in calligraphy as well.
There are pavilions, temples, gardens and bridges to best enjoy the landscape. We didn’t even cover 1/3 of it in the time we had there.
So to recap, on this day trip with Viator, we saw the Forbidden City, Imperial Garden, Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven. The Temple of Heaven was my favorite stop and the topic of my next blog post.
I did a 2-day tour with Viator. Lunch was included on both days. The first day was ~$55 US. All entry fees were covered in this price. I thought we covered a lot and I was pleased with our guide. I loved that our group was small (4 people) and talkative. I would recommend traveling to these locations in the cold weather because it’s less crowded. Just wear layers!
Cheers and Happy Holidays!