Walk in the Footsteps of an Empress at the Summer Palace

Walk in the Footsteps of an
Empress at the Summer Palace

Follow in the footsteps of the controversial Empress Dowager Cixi with a guided
walk through the beautiful Summer Palace. Explore the imperial gardens
and learn about one of the most notorious figures of Chinese history.


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.

The UNESCO-listed Summer Palace is an imperial garden and 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. Dowager Empress Cixi took up permanent residence here for a while, giving rise to some wonderful tales of extravagance and excess.


Walk in the Footsteps of an Empress at the Summer Palace

09:00 - 12:00
14:00 - 17:00

The driver will meet you at the hotel and drive to the Summer Palace where you will meet our English-speaking historian and expert. It is located approximately 15 km from downtown Beijing, yet it is a world away from the modern megalopolis. 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. Glittering Kunming Lake swallows up three-quarters of the park, overlooked by Longevity Hill.

During the 20th century the park suffered from attacks by foreign invaders following the aftermath of the Opium Wars. Empress Cixi ordered it to be restored to its former glory and rumours say that she used funds intended for the navy. At the end of the Long Corridor is the famous 26-metre-long, double-decker marble boat which was built using this money.

As you walk, the knowledgeable guide will tell you the story of the Empress Dowager Cixi and the Summer Palace. It is a complicated story that will reveal many secrets about this fascinating historical figure.

At the end of the tour, the driver will take you back to the hotel.




  • A half-day tour with a professional English-speaking guide. Other languages are on request and may be subject to supplementary charges
  • Transportation by air-conditioned vehicle with professional driver.
  • All entrance fees for visits as mentioned in the description.
  • All applicable taxes and service charges


  • Tours, inclusions of any kind and other services that are not outlined in the tour description
  • Personal expenses such as meals, drinks, tips and gratuities, shopping, portage fees and optional tours, unless otherwise stated
  • Hotel accommodation in the destination of commencement.
  • Compulsory Christmas, country-specific festival and/or New Year dinner at included hotels
  • Single supplement charges for single travelers, where applicable
  • Any airline tickets, visa fees, additional transportation cost from and to the general meeting point
  • Supplements for transfers for customers arriving or departing from any airport or resorts located outside the general pick-up and drop-off locations
  • Hotel expenses of a personal nature, should an overnight be included: this includes mini-bar consumption, laundry, room service, any telephone or other communication cost not mentioned in the program
  • Travel insurance coverage for customers (highly recommendable)


  • This tour is operated on full private basis with English-speaking guide. Other languages are on request / subject to availability and supplementary charges may apply
  • Return transfers for this excursion apply only / are inclusive for customers staying in and inside downtown Beijing. Transfers outside these areas, including any accommodation outside the Central Business District and both Beijing’s International Airports are excluded. Supplements apply for customers who want to join this excursion outside one of these regions
  • Customers are advised that during the Lunar Festival celebrations (celebration of Chinese New Year), excursions and tours may be subject to supplementary charges and/or may see longer waiting times than normal.
  • We regret to inform you that this excursion is not suitable for wheelchair users.
  • Guests are advised that some walking is required during this excursion; we always ensure that we take the most comfortable ways from the entrance of the sight to the sight itself.
  • We will always make the effort to confirm the exact pick-up time upon reservation. For any operational issues in which are not able to confirm the exact pick-up time in advance, we reserve the right to inform you the day before the departure of the tour.
  • Please note pick-up and drop-off services may not be confirmed for customers staying at private residences, apartment complexes, or other non-registered tourism accommodations. Customers may be asked to meet at a nearby hotel for pick-up and drop off.
  • We regret to inform you that most of the museums in China are closed all day on Mondays and public holidays; wherever possible, we will try to offer alternative visits for touring options on this day.
  • We kindly ask for your understanding by following local regulations.
  • Natural elements of any kind have a destructive effect on electronic equipment. It is the customer’s own responsibility to ensure that any camera, mobile telephone or other device is properly wrapped and protected against these elements. We cannot be held responsible in any way for negligence and/or not following suggestions for any damage related to this.
  • Please ensure that you bring sunglasses, a hat /cap and sunblock with a high SPF factor when traveling with us on this tour – even when it is cloudy, the sun’s rays are still very powerful. The protection of the country’s flora and fauna is of immense importance for us. We will not pursue any activities for guests that are not in line with our animal, wildlife and environment protection principles.
  • It is the responsibility of the customer to provide us with the correct hotel information, should pick-up and drop-off services be included in the package. Any changes in accommodation outside 24 hours will be handled accordingly: changes within 24 hours may be on request.
  • In the event of no-show or change of accommodation without prior consent and confirmation from us within 24 hours may result in the applicable cancellation charges as outlined in the terms and conditions.


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