Chengde (承德; Chéngdé) is a city in Hebei.
Rehe (the former name of Chengde) is home of what was once the summer residence of the early Qing Dynasty emperors. The city still maintains the fine features of this hill-side resort, called 避暑山庄 or Bìshǔ Shānzhuāng, such as the outer wall and large expanse of parkland that incorporates lakes, pagodas, and palaces. Outside this complex are the impressive Eight Outer Temples. The resort, along with the Outer Temples, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
The city is located approximately 260km northeast of Beijing. As of 2004, its urban population was at 450,000 with the greater area containing upwards of 3 million people.
There is a small airport in southern Chengde where occasional charter flights shuttle between Beijing and Chengde. Chengde is 180 kilometers away from the Beijing Capital International Airport. To travel by air, visitors can take a coach to Beijing and connect with their flights from there. A coach departs for Beijing every twenty minutes, making it very convenient.
There are frequent trains between Beijing and Chengde. The fastest one is K7711, leaving Beijing train station (the main one, on metro line No.2) at 8:07AM and arriving in Chengde at 12:29PM. A night train exists as well. Day trains are around 20-40RMB, with soft sleepers around 130RMB. Another option includes the train to Dandong (stopping in Chengde mid-route), which leaves Beijing train station at 12:17PM, arriving at Chengde at 5:21PM. A high-speed rail line is currently (2015) under construction between Beijing and Shenyang, stopping in Chengde, and is expected to be complete by 2019/2020.
Buses leave frequently (every 20 minutes) for Chengde from Beijing. The cost is around ¥85. The trip takes 2.5-3.5 hours. Beware of getting on at the origin of the bus in the east of Beijing, as you may spend over an hour just going to Dongzhimen. To return to Beijing, you may be able to catch a bus outside Chengde's main train station, otherwise take a taxi (about 20 rmb) or bus to Chengde East Bus Station (承德东站).
Another option is to find an unofficial taxi (heiche) from Beijing to Chengde. You will share this car with the driver and three other passengers (so that the car is full). It costs about ¥150 and takes 2-2.5 hours. It is easy to find a heiche from Chengde to Beijing (ask in any hotel if you have trouble). The other way may be more difficult, but ask around.
Buses charge a flat rate of ¥1, but there is no attendant, so have correct change. The buses have no English and little pinyin signage.
Bus 118 goes from Chengde to the temples in the North and bus 119 to the temples in the East.
Most taxis are metered. Short trips cost about ¥6 (plus 1 yuan gas surcharge). Trips from one side of the city to the other are upwards of ¥20, and trips out to the temples should cost at least ¥25 from the city center.
By foot or bike
Much of Chengde is accessible by foot or bike. One can walk from one end of the city to the other in an hour.
Donkey-Rolling Roll is a long roll with stuffing wrapped in yellow rice. The Roll is served on a bed of yellow beans. The act of turning the roll on the yellow beans is just like a donkey rolling on the ground. That is how the snack got its name. It could be found in Chengde more than 200 years ago. Generally, less than ¥100 for a large plate (in Chengde restaurants, there are always large and small plates; the large plate is about ten inches wide and the small one seven inches wide).
You noodle is a kind of coarse food grain. It is slightly dark colored. The local You noodle wozi dough is first rolled out to a thin skin, and then formed to its final shape. After that, it is put into a pot and braised. You dip it in the sauce when eating. It feels smooth and jelly-like in your mouth. You noodle jiaozi is a kind of ravioli stuffed with pickled vegetables.
Pubang deer meat clusters and the cooked deer meat clusters are quite tasty, and cost only ¥4-5 for each cluster. They are well worth trying. In the street south of the Summer Resort, there are many shops featuring local specialities which cater to tourists.
In the evening, you will find mini-booths selling tangy scented baked corn along Chengde Street.
Individual restaurants worth giving a try includes:
Jazz cafe. South of the city in the university area, you'll find Jazz cafe on GuanFeng Lu. Run by a foreigner and his local Chinese wife, this little cafe is a great place to relax or have a meal. They serve great pizza, authentic burgers, waffles and other western food, and have a large selection of imported beer and wine, all at reasonable prices. 11:00 - 22:00