The Forbidden City

by Poi on September 1, 2010

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When in Beijing there are some things that just have to be done, Tiananmen Square – Check!  Great wall – Check! and The Forbidden City – which is where we ended up three days ago. Due to the heat and the inevitable crowds we thought it would be best to go as early as possible

As soon as we got onto the main road we could see what we were in for. There were crowds everywhere, slowly filtering in through the main gate as well as many people just hanging around the area in general.

Heading into the Forbidden City

Heading into the Forbidden City

We joined the queue and started to filter through. We followed the crowd through two huge open sections of the city, which were impressive enough before we even had to pay. The admission fee was £6 each – pretty good value in my opinion.

crowds at the forbidden city china

Following the crowds through the first section to go and pay.

At this point I would just like to include one thing off topic – It’s going to take some getting use to seeing everyone carrying round umbrellas in this heat, back in England they only mean one thing and we all know what that is.

umbrellas in the sun in china

Look at them all – It just doesn’t seem right!

The huge mass of people immediately follow each other straight down the middle of the city and in this incredible heat we had to make a break for it before we got dragged along and passed out. Even the local tourists had to find shelter in the shade.

main gate at the forbidden city

Hiding in the shade

We took detour to the left of the city, almost straight away we found ourselves virtually on our own. This gave us a chance to take a moment to really have a look at the place. It really is amazing and covers such a huge area, pictures tell a thousand words though so here are a few from the day.

looking from the main gate at the forbidden city china

Dragons on the roof top forbidden city china

walkway at the forbidden city china

forbidden city china

Spotting some greenery round here is a pretty big deal, either that or the heat and blisters on Kirstys feet started to send her a little insane. Even our supportive mascot tottenham ted was subjected to her madness.

This is an amazing place that has to be visited when in Beijing, our main tip would be as soon as you enter the gates after buying your tickets, swing a left (as we did) and avoid the crowds. There are all sorts of galleries along the edge that are well worth a look. It’s also the best place to get some shots of the main buildings in the centre. We walked back down the middle of the city on the way back and so avoided being pushed along by the crowds which gave us more of a chance to have a look around.

We spent around three hours in the Forbidden City and left feeling very impressed but in desperate need of a shower and lots of cold water. If it wasn’t for the heat, we would have definitely spent a lot longer there.


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Caz Makepeace September 1, 2010 at 4:39 am

I’m craving for that kind of heat right now! Love the pics guys especially the one that shows the scale of the building in comparison to all the people lining up below. Very impressive size!
Caz Makepeace´s last blog post ..Travel Writing Course with Matador U


Kirsty September 2, 2010 at 6:31 am

It’s huge, the whole place is! The heat takes some geting use to but it’s cooled down a bt the last couple of days!


Amanda September 1, 2010 at 4:43 am

Awesome photos! And you’re right — it’s odd to see so many people with umbrellas! I was really amused by that picture of all the people crammed into that one bit of shade though… haha.

I visited Beijing nearly three years ago — but I went in November. So the heat and the crowds weren’t really a problem at all. I couldn’t get over how HUGE the Forbidden City is… it’s amazing that it all was built so quickly!

Have fun at the Great Wall! Bring lots of water — it’s bigger (and steeper) than you think!
Amanda´s last blog post ..NZ Drives- The Southern Scenic Route through the Catlins


Kirsty September 2, 2010 at 6:38 am

We’re starting to think umbrellas are a good idea!

Can’t wait to do the great wall – I’m under no illusions though, it’s gonna be hard work in the heat! 15 litres of water each?

Thanks for stopping by!


Jaime D. September 1, 2010 at 4:50 am

Hmm wait one sec who is “tottenham ted” have we met him before??? He is so cute!!!

Back to your story. That is a lot of people to visit one place, I guess that will be something to get used to when visiting major attractions. Also about the umbrellas it is very weird when I go to Mexico to visit family they always bring an umbrella when its hot and Im like wow that is strange. In a way though it smart to block the sun.


Kirsty September 2, 2010 at 6:46 am

No you haven’t met him yet, Tottenham Ted is along for our own comfort, he’s not here for the fame! To get an idea about him see…..

As long as the umbrella thing isn’t just here thats okay, we’ve never seen it before thats all! It is smart!


Sarah September 1, 2010 at 6:51 am

Wow , love the photos. I love to watch those old time Chinese Movie that take place in the Forbidden City. Hopefully I get a chance to go there. Great post!


Kirsty September 2, 2010 at 6:47 am

Thanks Sarah – If you’re ever near by you should definatly make the effort!


Andi September 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Such a cool place I’ve been there twice! 🙂
Andi´s last blog post ..Brasil- Day 3


Kirsty September 2, 2010 at 6:48 am

Check you out haha!


Nick Laborde September 1, 2010 at 3:50 pm

For being a forbidden city, there sure is a lot of people. I like breaking rules too, so I’ll have to check it out.

Who is this “tottenham ted” dude? Did he sneak into your pack and catch a free ride?
Nick Laborde´s last blog post ..7 Harsh Realities And A Thieving Santa


Kirsty September 2, 2010 at 6:50 am

We invited him into the pack! Seeing as poi couldnt be at home and watch his favourite team we brought tottenham ted instead!


Alex Donnelly September 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Hey up Chris looks like your having a great time,loving your site. I’m so jealous.


Poi September 2, 2010 at 7:09 am

Hey up Alex!

Glad your enjoying reading about my adventures! How was your month off? Glad to be back at work?

Keep in touch!


SpunkyGirl September 2, 2010 at 1:31 am

I’m amazed to see a blue sky in Beijing -very lucky. The city was full of dust when I was there, which made it pretty hard to breath. I’m glad to see you made it to the Forbidden City. I wandered around the grounds for hours when I was there. I didn’t have the crowds though.

Are you still in China in October?


Kirsty September 2, 2010 at 6:57 am

It’s been the only day – and even by the end it was getting pretty smoggy! We’ll be around south china vietnam area t the beginning of october -we still havent really finalised our plans! :S


ayngelina September 2, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Wow I can imagine the grandeur of the place would be so overwhelming.
ayngelina´s last blog post ..Window shopping in Cuenca- Ecuador


Poi September 3, 2010 at 7:31 am

It really was! Kept thinking it was going to end and to our delight there was just more and more.


Joel September 3, 2010 at 6:52 am

Wonderful pics. I’m off to see about visas today so I can follow in your tracks in a month or so! Can’t wait.

Thanks for blazing the trails!
Joel´s last blog post ..Postcards From Valencia- Something New


Poi September 3, 2010 at 7:35 am

Thanks Joel, Glad to be of service!


Jade September 3, 2010 at 7:05 am

We thought the same things about the umbrellas when we were there in June. We also shot off from the main drag and really liked being kind of isolated from the crowds. Did you guys get the audio tour? We just got one- and split it up and acted like tour guide for the other person!!

Also- if you are thinking about doing the Great Wall via public transportation- check out our how-to- as it can be quite confusing! Good luck! Can’t wait to hear about your journeys!
Jade´s last blog post ..The Exploding Geysirs of Iceland’s Golden Circle


Poi September 3, 2010 at 7:38 am

We didn’t get the audio tour, we maybe should have, sounds like fun playing tour guide! We just had a good ol’ read before and after visiting it.

We we’re meant to be doing the great wall today but Kirsty is a bit ill, we are taking public transport and it’s proving to be a bit of a pain so we’ll be sure to check out your how to’s! Thanks.


Jason September 5, 2010 at 2:52 am

We also enjoyed our time at the Forbidden City, but lucky for us the weather was allot more mild and the crowds were also quite manageable.

Keep livin the dream…


Poi September 5, 2010 at 3:39 am

Hopefully we will get the chance to do it again someday in better conditions, not that it wasn’t amazing this time round still.

Thanks for stopping by.
Poi´s last blog post ..Random Traveller 22


Suzy September 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Sounds and looks amazing. Although the heat doesn’t sound so amazing. Hope you have cooled off by this point!


Poi September 10, 2010 at 1:32 am

Thanks Suzy it was, It’s actually hotter where we are now in Hangzhou, we’ll get use to it though….I hope.


Jolien May 5, 2012 at 4:39 am

Might be valid for the whole of China: check where herd of multicolored hats are going and go the other direction. You’ll find peace and quietness in major attractions 🙂

China is a country that stick to you.


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