You may spend a summer at the Summer Palace but still not see all it has to offer? Learn and see the top things in Summer Palace when you have just one day to see the ancient imperial garden. Initially built for emperors to escape the summer heat of Beijing, where three quarters of the area is covered by the lake. Generally in Chinese architecture style, more attention is paid to water and mountains, terraces and pavilions. It's said that Qianlong (the emperor of Qing Dynasty) loved the scenery in Southern of Yangtze river areas. So the ancient designers learned from the west lake, Suzhou gardens and other architectures' style for Kunming Lake and Chinese architecture gardens in Summer Palace. The Longevity Hill was built especially for Qianlong's mother with a hope she could live longer and to celebrate her 60th birthday.
The top thing to do in the Kunming Lake for the visitors is the boating in the lake in summer. Kunming Lake (昆明湖 Kūn Míng Hú), it has three quarters of the area in the Summer Palace and this is a man-made lake. Don't be afraid to pass through the seventeen- arch bridge, it is a worth visiting. Usually, people like boating in the afternoon and enjoy the sunset.
Top thing to do in Longevity Hill is to climb and see the ancient-style buildings. Longevity Hill (万寿山 Wàn Shòu Shān), it's not a man-made hill and an interesting fact is that the extra soil from Kunming Lake has been used to build the Longevity Hill. This place was used for Qing rulers to manage the official business as well as it witnessed many historical events in this place. It is about 60 m. (197 ft.) high and there are stairs leading to the top with splendid buildings on the side. When you mount the hill, you can see all the pleasant scenery included Kunming Lake at a glance.
Why recommend travelers to have a guide? The first reason is that Summer Palace is so huge that a expert guide will be very helpful. Secondly, a guide is able to introduce the Chinese legends about the statue heritages of animals and characters you may be interested, such as Qilin and Phoenix (the two comes from Chinese legends) located in the buildings. One more thing, the Long Corridor is the highlighted place in Summer Palace, which with 728 m. (2,388 ft.) and about 8,000 paintings drawing on the top. Every painting has the unique or related stories that you may interested.
Indeed, you may spend a lifetime in here as the ancient emperors did and you would never see the beauty of this special place. Don't forget your camera and sunscreen for a great day out in the in Summer Palace. If you are interested in the Summer Palace trip, please click on WindhorseTour's Beijing Highlightes 4 day Tour.