I spent a morning at the Summer Palace lost and confused, and still had a fabulous time. If you can get your hands on a map and perhaps some history before making your way to this gorgeous oasis, you’re practically guaranteed to have an even better day! The Summer Palace was one of my favourite places to wander through, so I wanted to share some of my pictures with you. Please note the unbelievable smog that almost prevents you from seeing across Kunming Lake: it’s hard to believe people can live in a city this polluted. As a Canadian, this was such a wakeup call to let me know how lucky I am to live surrounded by nature.
Beijing’s history is of the sort that it’s almost impossible to comprehend. Growing up in North America I’ll admit First Nations tribes have incredible pasts, but the rest of it (aka my own culture) just never wowed me. I was actually a professed history hater, whereas today, I kind of regret not majoring in history. European history is unbelievable enough, and is so evident through the structure of the cities and buildings still standing. China, however, is on a whole nother level. The Summer Palace, admittedly, was only built about 250 years ago, but Chinese culture as a whole is so rich and deep and goes almost incomprehensibly far back. My biggest regret about my China trip is not learning more about the history before I went; I read up on more recent things (i.e. Mao and communism) but didn’t know enough about ancient China.
Exploring places like the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace would have been much more impactful if I had a grounding in what they were and who they were for, but the beauty was still enough.
The Summer Palace is pretty affordable at 30CNY for basic entrance and 60CNY for a few extra spots within the grounds. It goes up a bit in the summer, but it’s worth it!