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Beijing: Summer Palace or Temple of Heaven (or both)?

Beijing: Summer Palace or Temple of Heaven (or both)?

Feb 13th, 2010, 06:58 AM
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Beijing: Summer Palace or Temple of Heaven (or both)?

Our trip has unfortunately been cut short by a day, so now i'm trying to figure out how to amend our itinerary.

Summer Palace:
It seems like people can enjoy a whole day here! Any tips on how to do a quick overview -- what not to miss, etc.

Temple of Heaven:
Same question -- how to make the most of your time here.

I'd really like to figure out a way to see both! (hence the questions about how to make the most of our time at these places).

But which would you choose if you can only have time for one...

dina4 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 07:42 AM
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You still have 2 days (instead of 1 day), right? 1 day Great Wall, then Summer Palace on the way back, you might even be able to rush to the Temple of Heaven late afternoon, which is not my choice. Go early to the TofH another morning.
Shanghainese is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 07:45 AM
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Thanks so much for your reply, Shanghainese.

Yes. We still have 1 and 3/4 days.

Any tips on how to make the most of our time at the Summer Palace or T of H?
What not to miss?

Thanks again!!
dina4 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 08:33 AM
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For T of H I would definitely walk around the park a bit (even for just an hour). The locals practicing dance and other arts is not to be missed.
Alisonv is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 08:35 AM
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For the Summer Palace in haste, enter through the Bei Gong Men (north gate) or Dong Gong Men (east main gate) and stick to the buildings clustered around the lake's north shore, climbing for a view across the site from the Tower of Buddist Fragrance. Exit via Bei Gong Men and straight into metro for quick ride back to town.

You can reach the east gate of Tian Tan with two changed of metro, or stay on line 4 to Cai Shi Kou and then take a brief taxi ride east to the west gate of Tian Tan. Main sights the altar itself at the south end, and the circular Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests further up the north axis.

If forced to choose one, then Tian Tan ('Temple' of Heaven, although the meaning of 'Tan' is actually 'altar'). It's easier and quicker to reach, and although it has less to see, many consider the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests to be the most sublime achievement of Ming architecture (while others say it's the altar itself). You can easily combine this with a visit to a second altar, that of agriculture (Xiannong Tan), just to the west, which also has the massive Hall of Jupiter to rival the main halls at the Forbidden City, interesting displays on Chinese architecture, and far fewer visitors.

Peter N-H
PeterN_H is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 09:05 AM
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Try to go to the Temple of heaven in the morning. This will give you the best opportunity to see everyone doing all sorts of activities. Do try to get to them both. The Summer palace can easily be done after viewing the Great Wall in the morning.
Gpanda is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:06 PM
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As I told you on another thread, we only had one full day and until noon the second day.

We went to the Badaling section of the Great Wall then came back to the Summer Palace doing something like Peter suggest. Had a late lunch then went to the Forbidden City and did a little shopping after that.

The next morning we were at the park early, the Temple of Heaven wasn't open yet. After a walk around the park, we went in the Temple. The Temple complex really doesn't take that long to see, probably no more than an hour.

Summer Palace: for us the main sites were along the lake. We simply made a loop from the East Gate up through the court buildings and the Long Gallery to the Marble Boat and back along the lake. Spent between one and two hours.

Entering from the East Palace Gate see: Court Area- Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, Hall of Virtue and Harmony, Hall of Jade Ripple, Yiyun House, Hall of Joyful Longevity, Long Gallery.

Along the lake area see: Front-Lake Area- Western Bank Seventeen-Arch Bridge, Nanhu Island, Bronze Ox, Marble Boat.

Then if you want to spend more time check out some of the Front Hill Area- Hall of Dispelling Clouds, Tower of Buddhist Incense. Baoyun Pavilion, Hall of the Sea of Wisdom.

Get a map of the Summer Palace and plot your course. There are some good internet sites that have pictures and something about each of the places so you can pick the ones of interest to you.

As for the Temple of Heaven, our favorite spot was on the the Imperial Walkway Bridge between the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest at the North end and the Imperial Vault of Heaven at the South end. It was a blue bird day when we were there and I have some great pictures looking each way. We were there just as they openned the gates and there was almost no one there yet. Go early both days for the best experience!

Have fun, you will be able to see most everything you want.
cwn is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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so much great information.
i really appreciate it!
dina4 is offline  
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