Private Summer Palace Tour with Historian
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.
Tour Participation Requirements
Special Medical Restriction
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.
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.