This morning, you will take an early high speed train to Chengde (about 1.5hrs), the private backyard garden of Beijing. Upon arrival at Chengde train station, your local tour guide and drive will meet you and escort you to start your Chengde discovery tour!
On the way to Chengde, you will drop by Two-Pagoda Peaks where two giant rocky peaks stand together with two similar ancient pagodas on the flat tops. Formed by water and wind erosion, the twin stone pillars have existed over forty million years. And, the two brick pagodas were confirmed to be constructed during Liao Dynasty over 1,000 years ago, one is well-preserved with a golden statue of sitting Buddha and another one is already in ruin. Whether you take a leisure hike or cable car to visit this spot, you must wonder about how the Khitans completed such work in the ancient time without obvious access up to the summit.
And then, drive about half an hour to Chengde Mountain Resort, a famous royal summer resort of Qing Dynasty that has been evaluated as one of China’s Four Famous Gardens & one of Three Greatest Ancient Architectures and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site with Eight Outer Temples around. Built between 1703 and 1792 for a total of 89 years by Kangxi and Qianlong Emperors for temporary stay during autumn hunting, the resort is a huge complex consisting of scenic areas of palaces, administrative and ceremonial buildings, gardens and different natural landscapes. Many emperors of the Qing Dynasty spent nearly half a year staying here, processing government affairs and enjoying summer holidays. Kangxi and Qianlong Emperor even named 36 scenic spots each to express their great affection for it.
You will enter from Lizheng Gate to firstly visit the Palace Area. Take your time to visit Chengde Mountain Resort Museum (former Zheng Palace), Songhezhai and Wanhesongfeng Hall to trace back to previous royal offices and living quarters. Next, walk to enjoy peaceful green lakes embraced by many shoreside lush trees and ancient buildings, which will refresh your mind and offer you a pleasant summer retreat like Chinese ancient royals. Have a leisurely stroll along the lakes and visit Yanyu Tower to view elegant Jiangnan-style architectures with handwriting of Qianlong Emperor. Plain Area is where the ancient emperors held horse racings and met and feted the nobility of the minority and religious leaders and foreign envoys. You can walk through vast grassland and dense forests in Wanshu Garden and see the Mongolian yurts and Liuhe Pagoda, a nine-storey Buddhist stupa built by Qianlong Emperor to repay thanksgiving of his mother which imitated the shape of Great Bao’en Temple in Nanjing.
After about 3 hours’ sightseeing, go to your hotel for rest.
Nightlife ideas: go to enjoy the evening show of "Grand Ceremony of Kangxi" which fully demonstrates the historical scene of the heyday of the Qing Dynasty, and expresses the brilliant life of Emperor Kangxi.