Hi! So, here’s a part 2 of my trip. For newcomers, do check out my previous posts about Beijing to know more. Let’s start!
One of the destination for my second day in Beijing — the infamous Tiananmen. You can easily reach there by taking the subway as there are TWO subway station just beside it. I arrived at Tiananmen East (Subway Line 1) and got out through Exit A, which is about 4 minutes of walking away from Tiananmen.
When I emerged from the underground subway passage, I was greeted with waves of people all heading in the same direction. And then there’s lots of pushing and grumbling from the crowds waiting to enter. The people are required to show them their identification cards for scanning processes, while for foreign tourists like me, I showed them my passport instead.
Tip: Please bring your passports along.
After squeezing and having people cutting queues in front for 15 minutes, I was on my way in through the Tiananmen to the main attraction — the Forbidden City.
For those who are thinking — wait, didn’t you say you were visiting the Tiananmen? What’s all this about the Forbidden City now?
Well, in Chinese, the ‘men’ in the word Tiananmen means gate/door. So, Tiananmen, which is also known as the Gate of Heavenly Peace is actually a monument (more like a gate) with the portrait of Mao Zedong (Chairman of the Communist Party of China).
You can climb the tower of the Tiananmen by paying some fares, but I didn’t as I thought getting to see the monument itself was already enough.
Forbidden City —
Source: Live Science
Before arriving at Beijing, I’ve been very excited about visiting this renown historical place. It is just overwhelming to think that such beautiful structures have endured the challenge of time. I mentioned that the Temple of Heaven is larger than the Forbidden City in my previous post, but that surely doesn’t make this palace any smaller. Its size is intimidating enough for you to get lost, with all those alleys and buildings. Did I ever mention that I find the sites in Beijing rather hard to navigate?
GUIDE FOR THE AUDIO TOUR – (you can skip this guide if you’re not interested)
So, prior to my entry, I bought the English audio tour as recommended online for CNY 40. It is a piece of rectangular plastic attached to an earpiece, with an electronic map on one side and the control buttons and a small digital screen on the other. I have seen many comments about the audio tour being bad or not functioning.
On some comments, I saw people saying how the device just suddenly switched off halfway during their tour inside the palace. Well, my device did actually stopped suddenly, all the lights on the electronic map went dark and the small digital screen did switch off. At first I was pissed, of course, I didn’t even visited half the palace and this thing that I spent my money on had died down. FORTUNATELY, I realised that it had just went to a ‘sleep’ mode. You see, this device actually has some kind of GPS in it, so wherever you go, it’ll know and start speaking immediately about the certain place that you’re at. Once it has finished, it will automatically jump into ‘sleep’ until you arrive at your next destination, where it will just spring back to life and start talking again.
Another thing that I’ve seen people complaining about is that there is no repeat button. Based on what I have tried out, there IS a way to repeat your audio! I was fiddling with the buttons and found out how to repeat the device. Bear in mind you can only repeat the part for the certain place you are at, so once you leave this hall, you can’t repeat that again. If I’m not wrong, once the audio has finished playing, press the ‘PLAY’ button once or twice and it’ll repeat itself. Unfortunately, due to the GPS, once you arrive at a new place, the audio for the previous hall will just stop abruptly and start explaining a new audio.
Overall, I think it was worth it, I did learn about the history of the Forbidden City and many more extra information. I won’t say it’s brilliant but for CNY 40, I think it was okay.
Now about buying tickets, which I spent a lot of time to understand. There were many people standing in front of a board, where there is a huge QR code which requires you to scan it and buy through online. I had to run a few places to get it right. I’ll make it easier for you, for foreigners, you don’t have to deal with the code or worry that you have no internet and you can’t buy the tickets. Just walk straight in front until you’re near the entrance, on the right side, near to the ticket-checking counter, there are counters that issue tickets for foreigners.
For the tickets:
Adults: CNY 40 (November to next March)
CNY 60 (April to October)
Minors (6-18 years old): CNY 20
More information on the tickets, click here.
At the Forbidden City (the Palace Museum), you get to see the throne of the emperor during the olden days of China, the halls where ceremonies are held and a lot more. What I think is amazing is the architecture of these halls and rooms. If you look closely enough, you can see incredibly detailed carvings on them, whether it’s on the roof or walls or almost anything you can see. It is just a great place for us to experience the glorious days of the superior emperors lives.
You can also get a glimpse of the porcelain artworks preserved since the olden days. Then, there is this place where you can see the bedchamber of the emperor and his bride, the resting place of the royalty and so on. History has been interesting to me in these recent years, I think that I really enjoyed exploring the huge palace, learning about their histories.
I would really suggest getting the audio tour or following tour guides as you really need someone to explain to you the story of the Forbidden City, or this trip to the palace would just be a waste of time and money. There are not that much boards that explain the history.
That’s all for my Day 2, believe me, it was tiring enough. I initially wanted to visit the Summer Palace afterwards but I thought that it’s actually the same thing all over again. You know, looking at the Chinese architecture and that, plus the fact that my sister was fretting about her legs aching and all that.
Thank you so much for reading this far (if you did)! In contrast to my continuous posts about traveling, I will be writing about another topic for my next post (which is again related to Beijing, I’m sorry). Andd we’re done! Bye.