To the west and south, the palace grounds offer beautiful natural beauty, such as reeds and willow trees, on the quiet side of the gardens.
At the Summer Palace one can see many lotus flowers during the summer months (especially July and August). The best places to see lotus flowers are the lakes to the west of KunMing Lake.
Along the west side of KunMing Lake runs a causeway, with a number of interesting bridges along the way, that separates KunMing Lake from the lakes further to the west.
Jade Belt Bridge is made of white marble and granite, with a slim, high arch resembling a jade belt. The balustrades have carvings of mystical cranes flying in clouds. The emperor would pass under here when travelling from and to Kunming Lake.
At the southern tip of the gardens you will pass over the Bridge of Embroidered Ripples. This bridge serves as an entrance to the gardens and was passed under by the emperor when arriving at Yiheyuan by water from the Forbidden City.
You are now at the southern most point of the Summer Palace. Alongside the entrance is the canal that leads into central Beijing. It is possible to take a boat trip along this canal.