Visiting the Ancient Imperial Retreat of Chengde Imperial Mountain Resort

For ardent China travelers, the stunning?Potala Palace in Tibet is?considered a must-see bucket-list destination, and rightfully so. However, for foreigners, it?is also?one of the most difficult places to reach in Asia; not only is it located in the depths of the Tibetan plateau, but the Chinese government also?requires visitors to first attain a travel permit?prearranged through a registered Tibetan operator. If all of that seems a little daunting to you, you may instead consider?traveling to “Little Patola Palace" at?the Imperial Mountain Resort of Chengde instead.

About Chengde’s Imperial Mountain Resort

Not to be confused with the?similar-sounding city of Chengdu, Chengde is a moderately sized city in Hebei province. It's perhaps best known for?being one of the favorite summer retreats of the emperors during the Qing dynasty when they wanted to get a little further out than?Beijing's Summer Palace.

The city's biggest draw is the impressive Imperial Mountain Resort, which was founded by Emperor Kang Xi (1662-1723) during one of his annual hunting trips. The extensive, walled-off complex, which took? to complete, comprises 5.64 million square meters and features lakes, hills, temples, prayer halls, and, of course, an area to?hunt. In 1994, the "Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples"?was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

快3开奖结果查询Thankfully, to see all this, Beijingers don’t have to travel far.?Chengde is conveniently located just a little more than 200km?from Beijing and can be reached in a few hours by bus or train.

What to see in and around the resort

If you only have one day in Chengde, it’s almost impossible to see all the attractions on offer, so we suggest you prioritize heading to the two main attractions: the Putuo Zhongcheng Temple, one of the Eight Outer Temples, and which bears a striking resemblance to the Potala Palace, and Sledgehammer Peak快3开奖结果查询, which is a rock formation that looks very much like its name suggests. The latter?is situated in the east of the resort and will require you to buy?an entrance ticket to the Pule Temple to visit. One option is take a peaceful hike to the top, but if you're tired or short of time, hop onto the?cable car and take in the view of this magnificent formation from above.

On the way, you can enjoy a wider view of?the?Mountain Resort's layout (pictured at top), which is divided into the Palace Area and the Lake Area in the south, as well as the Mountain Area and Plain Area in the north. Altogether, it makes for an awe-inspiring example of how Chinese architects past would attempt to integrate buildings into the?natural surrounding environment.

How to get there

By train: Take train K7711, K7753, or 2257 from Beijing Station to Chengde Station. Tickets cost approximately RMB 100 each way.
By bus: Click? for more information.

Daily, 8am-5.30pm, Nov 1-Mar 31 (RMB 90), Daily, 7am-6pm,?Apr 1-Oct 31 (RMB 130).. 20 Lizhengmen Lu, Chengde, Hebei Province

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This article?originally appeared on our sister site?.

Photos: Wendy Xu,?