Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan)

Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan)

Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan)
4
Ancient RuinsPoints of Interest & LandmarksParks
About
Located only a few hundred meters from the existing Summer Palace, these ruins used to be a grand palace and park built under the Qing emperors in the 18th century, but was later destroyed by French and British troops during the Second Opium War (1860-1862).
Duration: 2-3 hours
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Admission tickets
from $8.00
All you need to step foot in the door.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles908 reviews
Excellent
366
Very good
394
Average
132
Poor
11
Terrible
5

PANDAGO CHINA TOURS
Beijing, China1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Friends
The old Summer Palace (Beijing) trip was amazing. The place is friendly for all ages, with the availability of necessary services such as toilets, restaurants, shops, and amazing garden spots. Different transportation such as buses, boats, and shared bicycles was a good call since the place is huge.
The historical ruins were the highlights of my visit as I am obsessed with history. It was amazing witnessing what was like in the old centuries.
Written June 10, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KodoDrummer
Buenos Aires, Argentina65,247 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Solo
From the relics, it is obvious that a summer palace of royals used to grace these grounds. I was surprised by the crowds on my early morning, weekday visit. The gardens are beautiful and well maintained.
Written May 27, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

gauravmaheshwari
York, UK52 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2014 • Solo
A must watch for anyone interested in visiting the historic sites or natures splendour. Western style ruins, lakes, flowers and gardens. Get ready for the long walks. Enough is already said about this monument in the reviews... my recommendation, if you are interested only in ruins, enter the park from east entrance of the park and come back that way. The metro station is at the south entrance, however its a much longer walk to the historic monuments from this side.
Written June 29, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

gpd34
Newark-on-Trent, UK62 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2014 • Solo
I'm a regular visitor to Beijing but had never actually made it to the old Summer Palace before which I am glad I put right on this trip
The gardens are extensive but what everyone goes to see are the ruins after the devastation caused by the British (I am British) over 100 years ago
Certainly a very powerful experience and one which I will not forget. I was the only western tourist there at that time and felt ashamed- and fascinated
Written January 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Annie Evett
Brisbane, Australia95 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2018
Old Summer Palace is little more than expansive parkland with small parts cultivated into well manicured gardens.

To full enjoy the Lotus flowers in full bloom, go in the morning as the begin to close after midday. We too two took carts trips round huge acerage gardens which appear to be under construction and mostly grasslands.
Man made lakes boast tiny boats to take tourists around for a closer look of the lotus.

The old Summer Palace is little more than ruins after being sacked by the British. We enjoyed the marble maze and spent time in the middle turret pondering what the view may have been 100 years ago.

This is a place you can go by yourself, but there are plenty of tours who will show you about and give you a fuller history lesson.
Written November 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kcinsz
Shenzhen29 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
If you're British, like me, or French, it will sadden you on seeing these ruins of our invasionist past, but preserved as they are, a much better visit than the new one. The lakeside views are wonderful away from the hustle bustle of modern Beijing
Written January 1, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nigel G
Singapore, Singapore8,598 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2018 • Business
Lord Elgin certainly has much to answer for. To the Greeks their Marbles, to the the Chinese, their Summer Palace (now the Old Summer Palace). To heritage - shame. The dark side of Colonialism.

The vast expanse of these ruins pays tribute to what was once the most impressive retreat in all China. Away from the heat of the Beijing summer the hideaway of the Xing dynasty - extravagance surely but a tribute to an architectural style that was surely unique in style and scale.

Man made lakes offer good opportunity to travel by boat across the centre of the palace grounds . Near to the destination of the boat is a pavilion displaying a very large model of the palace complex in its heyday. Only here will you gain a true perspective of what once was! There is a small additional charge to enter the pavilion - discount for seniors. Continue in the direction of the 'ruins' - passing the lake on the right of the footpath taking note of the resident black swans that have been there for as long as the palace existed.

The footpath divides and walking to the left takes you to the 'ruins' of the main palace. European in style, it stands as it has since that fateful day in 1860 when the palace was burnt to the ground. On the way there is a coffee shop - a welcome stop. From here you have a convenient footpath to the exit - not exactly well signposted but your GPS will help enormously.

At the end of the visit no doubt you will be forced to consider many dilemmas that were to follow and eventually lead to the fall of the Qing dynasty - a feudal system that had governed China since 221BC - which ended in 1912. What happens when wealth rests with a very small proportion of the population leads to unrest - China, Russia to name but two.

Absolutely fascinating. Well worth a visit.
Written May 25, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

torrea2100
Osaka, Japan62 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017 • Family
I live in Beijing, so naturally I took the subway line 4 which drops you by the South Gate Entrance. If you want to JUST see the Ruins, GO TO THE EAST ENTRANCE. or else you will have to walk through endless lakes for about 30mn before you reach the ruins. Only after I was about to exit through the EAST GATE I saw that there was the "foreign language" audio guide. Yeah, after I just spent 1.5hrs just wandering what everything was because everything is written in chinese (I don't read or speak chinese). A total waste of time if you don't have the audio guide. I guess I just have to come back.
Also. DO NOT GO ON A HOLIDAY a.k.a Spring Festival. Crowds are insane!
Written February 1, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

shuurei
manila81 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2010 • Friends
We went to Yuanmingyuan in November 2010 during our 6D5N visit to Beijing. We got there by taxi cab, a convenient option for us rather than taking the subway since we're a party of 3. Although, the subway has a stop just outside the Park's entrance.

We had arranged for some tours, but only the Summer Palace was included and not the Old Summer Palace. I cajoled my friends in making the trip to Yuanmingyuan, since I knew beforehand that the Palace grounds are huge, hard to navigate by ourselves, and we'll tire ourselves walking.

When we entered at Yuanmingyuan, I fell in love immediately with the place. The standing structures and the ruins were simply amazing. But I must say that a passing grief came over me. How can such beauty steep in history be destroyed, pillaged and plundered? When you go there you'd see for yourself traces of its former splendor; its beauty, however, remains intact. It'll make you wonder how glorious the Palace thrived before its destruction.

The gardens are vast and walking along the lake, on a very cold day with trees swaying in the air and water gently lapping, you'd wish that you're with someone you love. It is also a perfect place to meditate, weave dreams, or cry you heart out; the beauty of your surroundings would surely lift your spirit, or make you depressed. There are a lot of places there perfect for moping. Yuanmingyuan is actually kinda romantic, I think.

For most people, the sheer vastness of Yuanmingyuan is enough to make visitors apprehensive. Yes, it is indeed vast and there seems to be no end to walking. So I suggest people to visit the place when it's not hot, like in autumn or spring. Better yet, rent an electronic cart for a fee. But it also gets very, very cold late autumn and in winter, freezing cold aggravated by the winds, so better suit up.

As for the ticket, we noticed that most people were buying the cheapest ones, but we bought the more expensive ones which include the main ruins and another garden we weren't able to visit because my friends had enough of walking. I suggest to buy the ones we bought. Although you can still see the ruins from a distance and take pictures, you'd probably need a good zoom camera and lens to capture the forlorn beauty of the ruins better. The downside is, you'd need to walk through along the other side of the fence, literally, on a slope, and believe me, you'd probably look like burglars crawling all over the place.

I'm giving this attraction a 4 stars; it should have been 5 stars only if this vast place is easy to navigate on one's own. So research a lot first before exploring the grounds without a guide.

Will I return to Yuanmingyuan when I go back to Beijing? Yes, definitely.
Written June 23, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bayouexec
Lafayette, LA148 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Friends
One of the best tours while in Beijing!

Tells the story of how the British and French landed in China in the summer of 1860 and destroyed a beautiful city.

And the thievery of items that they hauled back to their current resting place in the Louvre and British museums.

The only saving grace is...had they not done so...then Ch Mao would have destroyed all the artifacts when he ruled China...after 1949.

Both the British, French and Mao believed you had to destroy the history of a country to conquer their soul. Very sad.

Oh well!
Written October 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan), Beijing

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