Private Summer Palace Tour with Historian

Private Summer Palace Tour with Historian

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$ 394

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Private Guide (6 Guest Max)

    For Groups, please contact our GoTo Crew.

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      Beijing, China
      3 Hours
      Moderate
      From (USD)
      $ 394
      • Hall of Benevolence and Longevity: See the Guangxu Emperor's administrative hall, with its nine-dragon throne, and the stunning red sandalwood screen, from behind which Empress Dowager Cixi managed the state's affairs.
      • Hall of Happiness and Longevity: Inspect the residence of Empress Dowager Cixi with its four separate chambers for eating, dressing, sleeping, and reading. The chandeliers in the central hall were the first electric lights in China.
      • The Long Corridor: Stroll down this 2,500 foot-long corridor graced with 14,000 paintings along its ceiling depicting Chinese literature, folklore, and landscapes.
      • Longevity Hill: See this lovely hill rich with halls and pavilions on one side, and beautiful nature on the other. It was built with the earth dug out to create the man-made Kunming Lake.
      • Small group = more personal: Share your experience with only the people you know; enjoy the luxury of deeper interaction with your guide and a more flexible itinerary.

      Meeting point

      Please make your way to the Beigongmen station and meet your guide outside of the south-west exit, exit D. Beigongmen is found on Beijing subway line 4, close to the North Gate entrance of the Summer Palace. Please see our Helpful Hints for more info.

      Helpful hints

      As in many cities, keep your wallet or purse secured and leave the bling behind. If traveling by subway, take line 4 towards the end to Note Beigongmen. The journey time will take about 30 minutes total from central Beijing, so please leave yourself adequate time to arrive. If you are arriving by taxi, please give your driver the following instructions to drop you at the south-west exit of the station on Yiyehuan Rd.
      Entrance fee to Summer Palace is 30 rmb per ticket, payable on site.

      Getting around

      Plan to walk for approximately 2 miles at a gentle pace. This itinerary can be modified for your private group to accommodate wheelchairs and those with limited mobility. Let us know ahead of time at Hello@GoBe.com.

      Activity type

      Cultural, Private Tour, Scenic, Walking Tour

      Transportation used

      Public transportation may be used from time to time. Have local currency available for tickets. Your tour may involve walking only.

      Included amenities

      Ph.D. or MA-level scholar guide

      Tour ID

      PP-ASA-CHN-BEIJ-EN-2007

      Tour Participation Requirements

      Activity Level

      This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.

      Age restrictions

      Suitable for all ages.

      Special Medical Restriction

      If you use a folding wheelchair, we'll do our best to accommodate you with at least 7 days' advanced notice, providing you have someone along to assist you. Email us at Hello@GoBe.com. Accessibility at all venues cannot be guaranteed.

      Special comments

      Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with our guide, we ask that you call to alert us so that we can relay the message to the guide.

      She wasn't supposed to rule. She was a 14-year-old, third-grade concubine. But fate smiled on Cixi. Out of Emperor Xianfeng's one empress, two consorts, and eleven concubines, it was Cixi that bore him a son. And her influence began to grow.

      Cixi began to advise Xianfeng in state matters and when he died at the age of 30, she became co-Empress Dowager (along with the original Empress Niuhuru). Cixi made sure her 5-year-old son became Tongzhi Emperor. But she was the power behind the throne.

      When the Tongzhi Emperor died of smallpox at the age of 18, leaving no heir, Cixi again secured the selection of her four-year-old nephew, Zaitian, as Guangxu Emperor. Thus, she would continue her involvement in the country's decision making. By the time she was done, Cixi had spent 47 years as the de facto ruler of the Qing Dynasty.

      There are those who say Cixi was cunning, ruthless, and treacherous. They say she threw Guangxu's favorite concubine down a well, poisoned Guangxu himself, and squandered the national treasury on her pleasures. 

      But many officials and statesmen who dealt with her praised her intellect and the way she steered the dynasty through rebellions, incursions and wars. Cixi is considered, arguably, the most successful concubine in China's history. And her actions are credited with helping to shape modern China.

      Not bad for someone who wasn't supposed to rule.

      Trading Places

      In imperial China, statues of dragons represented emperors, and statues of phoenixes represented empresses. In front of the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity there are two pairs of dragon and phoenix statues that were used to burn incense during formal occasions. Normally, the dragons would be in the middle, and the phoenixes to the sides. But here the phoenixes are in the middle, because Cixi _ the empress – was in charge.

      You cannot participate in this tour if you have not sent your passport number and name beforehand. Context walks can be cancelled up to 48 hours prior to the walk with an 85% refund. Within 48 hours all reservations are final and cannot be refunded. Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with our guide, we ask that you call to alert us so that we can relay the message to the guide. No shows are treated as last-minute cancelations and are non-refundable. Cancellations within two business days need to be made directly with our local offices by calling them directly (or on the emergency number provided). Cancellations made via email or by calling our U.S. 800 number may not be honored.

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      Beijing, China
      Great photo opportunities
      Bring photo ID
      Bring money
      Bring water
      Wear comfortable shoes
      Wear Sunglasses
      Wear Hat

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      General disclaimer

      Your order is subject to TourTrek's Booking Ticket Agreement, including all TourTrek and GoBe policies incorporated therein.

      To book this tour for a large group, visit ourGROUPS PAGE for special discounted group rates