Beijing: Side Trips


Tibetan-style Monastery in Chengde, a historical site on World Heritage List of UNESCO Chengde, China Liu Liqun / Corbis
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Another chunk of Chinese history can be found at Chengde, a city about two hours' drive outside Beijing. This was the summer capital of the Qing dynasty emperors, and each successive monarch has left his own particular stamp on the place. Not only does this mountain resort boast a plethora of palaces and imperial gardens to wander through, including a full scale replica of the Dalai Lama's Pottala Palace in Lhasa (built to make the monk feel at home on his visits), its museum features a dazzling array of the paraphernalia necessary for the gilded life of the court — like huge golden statues and exquisite snuff bottles.

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