Our day at the Forbidden City was incredible. We were up early to make the most of the day and were already melting from the extreme heat of Beijing by 10 AM. We knew that we would be dealing with many other tourists, similar to what we experienced at the Summer Palace…but it was insane at the Forbidden City! There were so many tourists that I am surprised that we have some photos that make the place appear uncrowded.
To begin, we wandered straight through the centre of the grounds, only attempting a few times to catch a glimpse of thrones in the Halls through the small openings crowded with tourists. When we reached the other end, we explored the other areas of the Forbidden City; our favourites were the Nine Dragon Screen and the Well of Concubine Zhen (named after Consort Zhen who was ordered to be thrown in a well by Empress Dowager Cixi).
It was mind blowing to pause and consider all the history that went down in the palace (it certainly inspired us to re-watch ‘The Last Emperor’ movie filmed on-site when we got back home!).
We spent a good 7 hours wandering all over the Forbidden City and left as the tourists were ordered out (we were literally ‘roped’ out by the guards!). We were blown away by a pair of tourists near the gate by the moat who asked us if it was worth checking out the Forbidden City? and if two hours would be enough to see it that night? *cough* None of us knew how to take the question…were these tourists pulling our leg? Or did they really not know what the Forbidden City was? And the place was being closed for the night right at that moment, did they not have a guide book that lists the tourist open hours??
Well friends, I assure you…the Forbidden City is definitely not to be missed when you go to Beijing; and unless you are Speedy Gonzalez or easily unimpressed, then I would recommend dedicating a day to explore!