Here is our long awaited (or not) follow up blog post to what else we were up to in Beijing during our May 2010 trip to China. Day 1 was the Temple of Heaven, Day 2 we headed out to Badaling to see the Ming Tombs and the Great Wall of China. Next up on our list of historic sites was the Summer Palace and the Winter Palace (Yuan Ming Yuan) on Day 3 of our time in Beijing.
The Summer Palace was pretty packed when we were there, with many other Chinese tourists and school children seeing this historic site. Much like the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace historic site also includes a huge national park area with many smaller buildings and temples that surround the main Summer Palace itself. We hiked around the area and tried to see all that we could see during our morning visit.
After spending the morning there and grabbing a quick bite to eat at the Summer Palace, we jumped on the subway and headed over to Yuan Ming Yuan – the Winter Palace.
Once we arrived I absolutely fell in love with the Winter Palace. Maybe it was the contrast with the overly touristy Summer Palace, but everything we saw just screamed tranquility – now that’s an oxymoron for you!
The gardens and waterways truly spoke to me and brought me back to the time of old Beijing before the Winter Palace was destroyed. Reading up on the history of Yuan Ming Yuan later after the fact also made me appreciate what I saw even more. The ruins of the once-great palace really should be a stop on any tourist’s trip.