Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing offers guests easy access to Beijing's wealth of diversions and historic sites with Guest Assistants ready to prepare personal cultural discovery programs.
explore the old-world charm of beijing
Culturally-enriching walks provide an insightful introduction to the old-world charm of Beijing. Ranked amongst the world's most exquisite gardens, the natural beauty of the Summer Palace is complemented by over 3,000 decorative halls, pavilions, towers, and bridges. Plan to begin your visit by 7:00am to catch the early morning light, or by mid-afternoon to see the sun set over the Western Hills. It has been said: "See the Summer Palace and you will have seen all that China has to offer in art and architecture". Not to miss are the Garden of Harmonious Interests, the Long Corridor and the cultural dances performed on the Great Stage in the Garden of Harmonious Virtue.
visit beijing's oldest surviving buddhist temples
In the western suburbs of the city, the 180-hectare Fragrant Hills Park boasts spectacular woods. Over 5,800 trees are endangered species, accounting for one quarter of Beijing's total number. Once the summer hunting ground of Yuan, Ming and Qing emperors, it is home to the spectacular Biyun Si (Azure Clouds Temple). Among its worship areas are Luohantang (Hall of the Immortals) and Zong Jing Da Zhao Miao (Zhao Temple), specially constructed to accommodate the Sixth Tibetan Panchen Lama of the Qing Dynasty.
Famous for its lilac gardens and ancient gingko trees, Fayuan Si, the oldest surviving Buddhist temple in Beijing, was built in the Tang Dynasty and was converted in the Qing Dynasty to a Buddhist temple. In 1956, the Chinese Buddhist Academy was founded here. Monks dressed in flowing yellow robes pass quietly through the six main buildings, and young boys sit in the sun reciting scriptures while devotees make their way to pray in front of the huge reclining Buddha in the final temple.
The Temple of Heaven, located in the south of Beijing, is where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties used to offer sacrifices to the gods. First built in the 18th year of the Yongle reign period (1420) of the Ming Dynasty, it was renovated into its present shape in the Qing Dynasty. The Temple of Heaven is the most outstanding of the numerous sacrificial buildings in China.
browse the laozihao stores of beijing
Laozihao (Time-honored brands) are integral to Beijing's culture. Selling everything from edible dried sea horses, tea, Chinese opera masks, traditional medicine, shoes, paint brushes, art sets, snuff-bottles, lacquer ware, wood carvings and shadow puppets, a plethora of time-honoured brand stores can be found along Dazhalan Lu and Liulichang. Not far away, Liulichang Xijie, known as 'culture-street', is where you find rare books, scroll paintings, jade, trinkets, prints and art supplies.
On Saturdays and Sundays, Panjiayuan Antique Market in southeast Beijing opens as early as 4:30am. It offers more than 3,000 open-air stalls selling all kinds of antiques and art objects including porcelain, jade, furniture, works of famous calligraphers, carvers and painters, books and fossils, weaving and embroideries, rare seals and ornamental stones.
Collectors of heirloom porcelain masterpieces will be awed by a visit to the small showroom of the Song Dynasty Royal Kiln - manufacturers of elegant Jun-ware, a signature of China's rich northern culture.