Eastern Qing Tombs
When the unrelenting Beijing soundtrack of cameras click-click-clicking, car horns honking and international voices seeking directions gets too much, escape the hectic pace of the city and journey just two and a half hours east to the peaceful serenity of the Eastern Qing tombs (aka Qing Dongling) – a sacred royal burial ground in the stunning mountains of Changrui that’s blissfully nigh on tourist-free.
As the resting place for the country’s greatest rulers of the Qing Dynasty, with burial dates spanning from 1663 to 1935, the tombs currently play host to 5 emperors, 15 empresses, 136 concubines, 3 princes and 2 princesses, and make up one of the most beautiful architectural areas in China. The most notable of the 15 tombs is the first, largest and most central; that of Shunzhi emperor Xiao Ling (distinguishable by the marble bridges that mark the path to its entrance), along with the modest mausoleum of the emperor often hailed as the greatest in Chinese history, Kangxi. Looking for a Kodak moment? The twin Ding Dong Ling tombs housing empresses Ci’an and the notorious Dowager Cixi have walls adorned with elaborate dragon carvings, golden motifs and gilded brickwork. Don’t forget to ask your concierge to organise a picnic for a moment of post-cultural rejuvenation, complete with mountain vista backdrop. Bliss.