Chengde Mountain Resort, located about 3 km away from the downtown area of Chengde, was the majestic summer retreat for the emperors in Qing Dynasty (1636~1912). Many people call it Chengde Summer Palace as well. Now it is known as one of the Four Greatest Classic Gardens in China, together with Summer Palace (Beijing), Humble Administrator's Garden (Suzhou) and Lingering Garden (Suzhou). Covering an area of 5,640,000 square meters, it is the largest one among the four gardens. Moreover, it is also recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO.
The construction of Chengde Mountain Resort started from 1703 during the reign of Emperor Kangxi and ended in 1792 during the reign of Kangxi's grandson - Emperor Qianlong. Namely, it took 89 years to build this big garden. There are 72 beautiful scenes in Chengde Mountain Resort, 36 named by Kangxi and 36 named by Qianlong. For historians, Chengde Mountain Resort is the interpretation of the prosperity of Kang-Qian Flourishing Age in Chengde. Some of them said that this palace symbolizes the history of Qing Dynasty.
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The layout of Chengde Mountain Resort and surrounding environment represents the landscape and landform of China, with waterscape in southeast, mountain views in northwest and plain area in central parts. The main scenic area is divided into two areas – the Palace Area and the Garden Area while the Garden Area is divided into the Lake Area, the Plain Area and the Mountain Area. Many highlights of Chengde Mountain Resort are located in the Lake Area, including 8 lakes and many featured architectures which show a style of Jiangnan classic gardens. The Plain Area are mainly grass and woods while the Mountain Area is composed of four ravines from south to north. Among the mountains, there are towering ancient pines and lush forests.
There are many worth-visiting attractions in different areas of Chengde Mountain Resort, here we list the most recommended ones for your reference. If you are in a tight schedule, just focus on the highlights, including the Main Palace, Jinshan Mountain, Yanyu Tower, Shuixin Pavilions, Rehe Spring, etc.
Location: Palace Area
The Main Palace, located in the center of the Palace Area with subsidiary buildings placed on both sides, make full use of the natural environment and show the style of the royal palace. The Main Palace of Chengde Mountain Resort has been converted to a museum. Now it collects and displays 30,000 cultural relics, 21 important inscriptions, more than 28,400 historical classics, books and materials. It is quite interesting to appreciate the various luxuriant vans designed to meet Emperor Qianlong's aesthetical taste. You can wander through the exhibit of the articles of the emperors' daily use to imagine the living environment of the emperors and their family members.
Location: Lake Area
Jinshan Mountain is located on the east side of Chenghu Lake in Chengde Mountain Resort, and it is built like Jinshan in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu. In this attraction, you can enjoy two of Kangxi 36 Scenes – Yunceng Palace and Tianyu Palace. In the south of the mountain, there are stone steps leading to the water stream. On the hillside is Yunceng Palace, on the upper hill is Tianyu Palace and on the peak is God Palace. The God Pavilion was dedicated to Emperor Zhenwu in the middle floor and the Jade Emperor on the upper floor. Ascending the pavilion with wooden ladders is like being on the wonderful peak of Zhenjiang Jinshan.
Location: Palace Area
Yanyu Tower (literally translated as Fog Rain Tower), built in 1780, imitated the Yanyu Tower in Nanhu Lake, Jiaxing, Zhejiang. This whole building, stretching from south to north, is supported by red pillars and covered by blue tiles. In the middle of the upper floor is a plaque inscribed with Emperor Qianlong's writing "Yanyulou". The east of the building is the emperors' Study Room, where the emperor read. Climbing to the highest point of Yanyu Tower, you can get a bird's-eye view of Nanhu Lake and Rehe Spring, Yongyou Temple from a distance. When summer comes, the lake is dotted with lotus flowers and fog, creating a unique scenery.
Location: between Pavilion Area and Lake Area
Shuixin Pavilions (literally translated as Water Heart Pavilions), are three pavilions on the bridge between the Pavilion Area and the Lake Area. The pavilions were firstly built in 709 during Kangxi's reign and then listed in Qianlong 36 Scenes. On the north and south sides of the pavilions are two archways. These five buildings floating on the water is a great view for travelers. Standing on the pavilions, you can enjoy a poetic view made by featured eaves, green hills, rippling blue waves, lotus leaves and flowers and the peaceful surroundings.
Location: Lake Area
Rehe Spring (literally translated as Warm Spring), located in the northeast corner of the Lake Area, is the main source of water for the lakes of Chengde Mountain Resort. Rehe River is the shortest river in China, with a total length of about 700 meters. Originated from Chengde Mountain Resort, it gushes from the ground, flows through Chenghu Lake, Ruyi Lake, Shanghu Lake, Xiahu Lake… and flows out from Wukong Gate in the south of Yinhu Lake and finally into Wulie River along the long embankment. Rehe Spring is the origin of Rehe River. The average temperature of Rehe Spring is about 8 °C in winter, so it never freezes even when the surrounding is covered with thick snow.
Many travelers want to stay in the Lake Area longer because of the most spectacular natural scenery and featured architectures. More than feasting on the scenery on walk, you also have a boating experience. In fact, Chengde Mountain Resort is too vast to travel the whole garden by walk and taking a boat is a good way for relaxing. As your boat moving on the water, you can enjoy an amazing stroll of landscape open in front of your eyes. There are two kinds of boat for your choice. One is electric boat, another is paddle boat.
The electric boat is big to carry more than 50 people. Travelers can have a trip with stops in Gold Pavilion, Yanyu Tower and Rehe Spring. It takes CNY90 per person. The paddle boat is charged according to the travel time, CNY50 per boat per hour. One paddle boat can carry 4 people in total.
After your trip in Chengde Mountain Resort, you are strongly recommended to visit its outlying temples – Outer Eight Temples - listed in World Cultural Heritage sites with Chengde Mountain Resort. Outer Eight Temples is the general name of eight temples (most are Tibetan Buddhist temples) located in the northeast part of Chengde Mountain Resort. Its majestic scale and architecture reflects the achievements of architectural art in the Qing Dynasty. From these temples with the integration of Chinese, Mongolian and Tibetan features, you can appreciate of majesty of Potala Palace, the splendor of Tashilhunpo Monastery, the Elegance of Manjusri Bodhisattva of Mount Wutai, thousand-armed Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, etc. It is not only a museum of Chinese national art, but also a symbol of national unity.
Generally speaking, it is available to visit Chengde Mountain Resort all year round and different scenery can be admired in different seasons. The most recommended time for a Chengde Mountain Resort tour is April to October when the weather is most comfortable and the natural scenery is most beautiful.
In spring (March ~ May), various kinds of flowers will be blossomed gradually. Especially in April when the leaves present on light green and the flowers are in full blossom, you will enjoy the most alive world in Chengde Mountain Resort.
Summer (June ~ August) is a popular season to visit Chengde Mountain Resort. Just as its name suggests, Chengde Mountain Resort was built for the royal families to escape from the heat. The average temperature in the garden is about 4 °C lower than the outside temperature. The lotus flowers are a big highlight of a summer trip to Chengde.
In autumn, Chengde Mountain Resort becomes a colorful world. The hills take on the most beautiful hues of yellow, orange, red, etc. and many photographer visit Chengde to catch the precious opportunity for a perfect shot of alluring nature and buildings.
In winter (December ~ next February), it is really cold in Chengde. The temperature in January usually falls to below 0 °C. It is the off season for Chengde Mountain Resort, but you can enjoy a much quieter environment. If you travel in winter, always remember to keep warm.
Chengde Mountain Resort is located near the downtown of Chengde City, so you can reach it easily by public bus or taxi if you are already in Chengde.
Chengde Puning Airport to Chengde Mountain Resort: It is available to take a flight to Chengde from Shijiazhuang (1hr 10min), Xian (2hr), Tianjin (1hr), etc., and all the flights will land on Chengde Puning Airport. The distance between the airport and Chengde Mountain Resort is 27 km (about 30 minutes' drive). You can also take an airport shuttle bus to get to Huoshenmiao Bus Station and then walk about 660 meters to Chengde Mountain Resort.
Chengde South Railway Station to Chengde Mountain Resort: If you take a high speed train to Chengde, you will arrive at Chengde South Railway Station. It can be reached by high speed trains from Beijing, Shenyang (2 hours), Dalian (4.5 hours), etc. Chengde Mountain Resort is 14 km (about 30 minutes' drive) away from Chengde South Railway Station. Some public buses are also available to travel between them and it needs about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Chengde Railway Station to Chengde Mountain Resort: If you take a normal train from Beijing (3.5~9.5 hours), Shijiazhuang (9.5~10.5 hours) or other cities to Chengde Railway Station which is only about 2 km away from Chengde Mountain Resort, you can take a public bus or taxi to Chengde Mountain Resort directly. It takes only 10 minutes by car and about 25 minutes by public bus.
If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Chengde Mountain Resort with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.
Chengde Mountain Resort is very large and you can also charter a batter car to save your time and energy. There are battery tourist cars available in the Lake Area and Mountain Area.
Battery tourist cars in the Lake Area take you from Wenjin Pavilion to Book Store, Imperial Library and Rehe Spring. You can stop in these attractions for sightseeing. The ticket cost CNY50 per person and the whole trip needs about 1 hour.
Battery tourist cars in the Mountain also stop in three stations, including Simianyun Mountain for a distant view of the other scenic areas, the Great Wall in Chengde Mountain Resort for a panoramic view of the temples and then Qingfenglv Island to see the imperial Cold Palace.
If you are interested in the history and culture of Qing Dynasty – the last imperial dynasty of China, we suggest you watch the Grand Ceremony of Kangxi, a live-action performance in Yuanbao Mountain Scenic Area. The whole performance is based on the unique natural and humanistic elements of Chengde and draws on the royal cultural elements of the heyday of Kangxi and Qianlong, allowing the audience to experience the amazing story of Emperor Kangxi from building the summer resort to solidifying national defense.
How to Get to Chengde: You can fly to Chengde from Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shijiazhuang or take a high speed train from Beijing, Shijiazhuang and other Chinese cities.
Best Time to Visit Chengde: April to October, especially April and May in spring and September and October in autumn
Top Attractions to Visit in Chengde: Jinshanling Great Wall, Chengde Imperial Mountain Resort, Bashang Grassland, Putuo Zhongcheng Temple…
Chengde, a city neighboring Beijing, is known for the Imperial Mountain Resort and surrounding temples such as Putuo Zhongcheng Temple, Puning Temple, and Pule Temple, where the royal family members have come to visit and had a retreat here to escape the summer heat, and about 100km away from Chengde downtown is the magnificent Jinshanling Great Wall. Further away to the northwest of suburban Chengde is the vast picturesque Bashang Grassland. Usually, 2 or 3 days is suitable for visiting major highlights of Chengde. To make photography tour or landscape tour to Bashang Grassland, you need to plan at least 2 days.
For the short distance to Beijing, generally, many tourists would like take 4 to 5 days to travel Chengde after your trip in Beijing, and Beijing is usually the gateway city to start your trip in Chengde with world-renown ancient wonders such as the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and Temple of Heaven, Mutianyu Great Wall, Hutongs, etc. After your 2 or 3 days' Beijing highlight trip, soon your can start your exploration in Chengde. It's convenient to visit the temples and royal resort in the city center area and to see the unmissable Jinshanling Great Wall along your way between Chengde and Beijing. If time allows and you’re quite interested in natural scenery, the idyllic Bashang Grassland is also charming to see.
Besides Beijing, travelers can also extend the Chengde trip further to Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, Zhangjiakou, in Hebei Province and even other northern cities like Dalian and Shengyang to see more stunning heritage and nature sights in China.
China Discovery is an experienced, professional, and reliable travel companion devoted to offering high-quality and the best tour services for all travelers to China. To have a hassle-free journey and focus on the trip itself, it’s highly recommended to travel with China Discovery. So, you can enjoy convenient airport pick-up and drop-off service and transportation to all scenic spots in a safe, clean, comfortable, air-conditioned, and non-smoking vehicle. Also, we will arrange a knowledgeable local tour guide, excellent accommodation, and dining arrangements to ensure you rest well in Chengde and Beijing and get a better understanding of the culture behind the attractions. You may select a favorite from our most popular Chengde tours or contact us to design a unique itinerary according to your personal time and preference.
Top 3 Chengde tours chosen by most customers to explore Chengde in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Chengde / Jinshanling Great Wall / Beijing
Beijing / Chengde / Beijing
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