On my last day in Beijing, I visited the Summer Palace with some friends from the Hostel. It was as to get to on the metro and was definitely worth the visit! We bought an all-inclusive ticket so we could see everything inside the grounds; the temples, scenic spots and Suzhou street.
Being February, it was cold and some trees were bare. I still found th
e views awe-inspiring and the walk around the gardens enjoyable. The air was crisp even though the day wasn’t the clearest and the lake was frozen over, although it had begun to melt in places.
The walk up the steps to the temple was completely worth-while. The views at the top were incredible; you could see lake, gardens and palace grounds as well as the city. The temples were used by empresses in ancient dynasties. They’re amazingly well preserved and impressively crafted. One of them had a shop set up selling souvenirs opposite one of the ancient Buddha statues next to which people were praying – again, only in China!
The palace gardens are extremely picturesque and definitely taking the time to walk around. Everything is steeped in history; from the battles between ancient dynasties to the French attempting to conquer the palace and leaving ruins behind them.
The river running through Suzhou Street was predominantly frozen. Some Chinese started to walk on the ice with their children, running and playing without looking particularly bothered that the ice was melting in places. We walked along the shops selling the same kind of souvenirs, as well as places to dress in traditional Chinese costume and restaurants. Many of these were closed when we visited due to the Spring Festival, so we didn’t stay long.
We found a restaurant near the main entrance/exit to refuel before I had to head back to the hostel, collect my things and head to the airport. I had a great time in Beijing and am already planning my next trip. There’s so much to do and see around the city that I am looking forward to!