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One of the top spots in Chengde that you should not miss is the Chengde Mountain Resort. Once a resort for Qing emperors, the mountain resort is now open to the public, so you can visit this mountain resort, walk its paths, and enjoy the scenery just as the royalty of old days would.
Chengde is located in the Hebei province of China. By air, you can reach the city through its airport, Chengde Puning Airport. If you are from Beijing though, you can take the buses at Liuliqiao Passenger Transportation Junction. The trip should take from 4-5 hours and leave every 30 minutes 5:20AM to 6:20PM daily. Buses are also available in Xi Zhi Men Bus Station. Tickets can cost CNY85 or at least 13 USD. Chengde can also be reached by train from the Beijing Railway Station every day. Train fares for standard seats are at CNY 40.5 or at least $6. Once in Chengde, you can take the taxi to the resort which is more convenient. Buses can also take you to the resort, take any of these bus numbers: 7, 11, and 15.
The best times to visit Chengde is between mid-May to mid-October. It can get crowded during July and August during summer vacations. Winter still brings its own charm to the imperial resort so you have more time to leisurely see the place. A lot of construction takes place during the off-season though, so some paths may be closed off to visitors. During the peak season, from April until October, the resort operates from 7AM to 6PM and 8AM to 5:30AM from November to March. Admission fees are more expensive during peak season, you will need to pay CNY 145 ($22). In other months, the admission fees are at CNY 90 ($14).
Not only does Chengde Mountain Resort boast of being a place for royalty but it is also the largest temple-garden complex in the country. You can explore the area more fully by examining its layout of four different sections. The palace area is the main section of the resort; it has four main attractions: the Main Palace, the Pine-Crane Hall, the East Palace and the Pine Soughing Valley. Since the palace area is where the emperors used to handle official state business and welcome foreign guests, the architecture is minimalist and elegant, but the materials used for the construction are extremely rare. There are eight lakes in the Lake area so make sure to talk along its foot paths and appreciate the peace and tranquility the lapping waters of the lakes give you. A more active activity you can do is go horseback riding in the plain area. On your horse, you can see the grasslands and the outer temples. Finally, the mountain area covers the mountains and four valleys: Filbert Valley, Pine Valley, Pear Valley and Pine-cloud Valley.
Chengde Mountain Resort offers all kinds of views from beautiful man-made buildings to amazing nature views. It is an attraction you should not miss.
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