Footsteps of Empress Cixi: Cruise and Summer Palace
Footsteps of Empress Cixi:
Cruise and Summer Palace
Cruise along a stretch of river favoured by the notorious Empress Cixi. Explore
the gardens, pavilions, temples and halls of the UNESCO-listed Summer
Palace and learn about the life and legacy of the colourful empress.
WHY THIS TOUR?
For nearly a half-century Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) used her cunningness and connections to rule China from behind the throne. Even today, many still blame her for wastefully spending money on the Summer Palace, an elaborate pleasure garden built at a time when China faced grave threats from within.
This scandalous and colourful woman even has a stretch of the Changhe River named after her. The river is the only imperial waterway in Beijing, with a history of more than 700 years. Empress Cixi was particularly fond of this part of the waterway, using it to reach the Summer Palace, and subsequently it became known as the ‘Waterway of Empress Dowager Cixi’.
09:00 - 13:00
14:00 - 18:00
Meet your driver and guide at the hotel and set off to the pier at Purple Bamboo Park. Board the boat for the same cruise along the stretch of river taken by the Empress Cixi over a century ago. During the journey to the Summer Palace, take in the sights, both ancient and modern, along the riverbank.
The cruise ends at Kunming Lake, the central lake in the Summer Palace. This man-made reservoir provided water for the city and the irrigation of surrounding fields for 3,500 years. On arrival, disembark from the boat and spend some time exploring the peaceful gardens.
The UNESCO-listed Summer Palace is an imperial garden was used as a summer retreat for Qing dynasty emperors. Built between 1750 and 1764, it is an outstanding masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is skillfully blended with artificial features such as exquisite pavilions, halls, bridges and temples to form a site of outstanding aesthetic value. Dowager Empress Cixi took up permanent residence here for a while, giving rise to some wonderful tales of extravagance and excess. Throughout the tour hear the life, legends and legacy of this fascinating historical figure.
At the end of the tour, the driver and guide will take you back to the hotel.