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Summer Palace, Beijing

19 Xinjingongmen Road
China 100091
Tel: 86 10 6228 1144
view web site ›'s insider take:

Once a warm-weather retreat for the Qing dynasty's imperial court, the Summer Palace (just ten miles outside the city, but about a 40-minute taxi ride in traffic) is a lovely place to escape the urban smog. The main draw is the expansive, beautifully landscaped property, dominated by the large, man-made Kunming Lake. The grounds are dotted with delicate pavilions and ornate halls; don't miss the Long Corridor, a 2,300-foot covered walkway that's hand-painted with mythological scenes. Arrive early to avoid crowds, or dodge them with a stroll around the water, as the Qing Empress Dowager Cixi might have done in the 19th century. The recently opened hotel, Aman at Summer Palace, allows residents day and night access to the palace and gardens.

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