Forbidden City

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Beijing, China

Forbidden City Beijing Reviews

FoxyFauz FoxyFauz
214 reviews
Forbidden City May 20, 2015
One of the most visited site in China. We were on a guided tour and our guide was supposed to explained the significance of the buildings & history (there are 980 buildings in total) within this Ming - Qing Dynasty Imperial Palace grounds. This was the home of 24 Chinese Emperors over 491 years. Impressive isn’t it?

It is called Forbidden City as no one is allowed to enter or leave without the Emperor’s permission, meaning everyone inside the Palace Grounds are there on the command of the Emperor. To summarise, the forbidden city is made up of (1) Walls & Gates (2) Outer Court (3) Inner Court (4) Imperial Gardens

Unfortunately I don’t think our guide did a great job in the tour (post visit reading) I realised that we did not see the single Marble slab (weighing around 250 tonnes) which was brought into the Palace grounds by thousands of men (who died in the attempt to carry it into the Palace grounds from the quarry) at the Emperor’s request.

Instead, we were shown a lot of pottery rooms. I felt we should have spent the whole afternoon here to explore the place (maybe on our own) and later re-join the group but this is the disadvantage when you are following a group tour. Afterall, this place is huge, the tour should not be rushed. It was explained during the tour how the Empress would demand 1000 different dishes to be prepared each day and how she would only try a few and how the many concubines (quota of 100 per year) were being kept & replaced every year in many housing within the palace grounds. If a concubine is no longer in the Emperor’s favour, she must leave the Forbidden city.

There was the Hall of Supreme Harmony (in the Outer Court) which was supposed to be important as it is the largest wooden structure in China. I got hit in the head & pushed way too severely when I tried to catch a glimpse of what is inside the room from the outside. As I had mentioned many times before, the Chinese people have no etiquette or manners whatsoever. They might even step on you and they will never apologise, so be warned when you are at this section of the palace. I am somehow not amused by this Hall. It just appear to me like a typical Chinese altar like those you will find in Chinese Taoist temples.

I find most of the buildings (their roofs, the carvings, the tablets etc) a bit too dusty to be honest, it could be due to the fact the city is so polluted that during the day, you really cannot see very far. And since every building (including the Summer Palace) contains the same roof design & colours, it does not quite fascinate me personally.

Oh yes, visitors (at time of my visit in Oct 31, 2013) should be glad that the toilets now at least have toilet doors. My friends who were previously there told us that in the past when they were there, there was not even a toilet door & everyone can see everybody doing their business since its just holes dug into the ground for you to do whatever! But then again you can smell the stench from afar. This is China dont forget ;-)

But of course, if you are in Beijing, this is a must visit site besides the Great Wall. Pix to be uploaded.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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chevnc chevnc
3 reviews
Worth a look into the past Jun 15, 2014
This is a bucket list item! Or at least a must-see if you are travelling to China.

Just walking from room to room "teleports" you back into the past. It a fantastic place to go and learn about Chinese history during the dynasties.

You will spend HOURS here so bring plenty of water and snacks! The whole place is HUGE. One end to the other would take you about an hour, not counting the various alleys and rooms in between. So wear comfortable shoes! Although, don't bother with the audio guide! It basically reads you the same information on the info plaques and will not repeat itself.

As like most tourist attractions, it can be very crowded, esp during peak seasons. The best time to go there would be during Spring or Fall because of the nice weather. It looks amazing in winter, if it snows.
drmorrisj drmorrisj
27 reviews
Forbidden City: Bring some comfortable shoes Nov 18, 2012
Before I say anything about the Forbidden City I must say that the day before I went, the sky was chalky white and I was bummed that I had flown around the world to take pictures of an ancient city with completely filthy air. Early on the morning that I was supposed to go see the Forbidden City I asked God to open up the sky and make it blue so that I could take beautiful pictures with natural sunlight as opposed to chalky white muckety. Fifteen minutes after praying, I saw a little blue dot in the sky. Then the dot increased until most of the sky over the Forbidden City was blue and beautiful. I shouted Hallelujah, gathered my camera equipment and rushed downstairs so that I could start my photoshoot!!!!!!!

Going to the Forbidden City was a dream come true. When I arrived I stood in a line that was not moving and after 5 minutes of waiting in line I simply moved on. First of all I must say that the complex is monstrous. It is perhaps the largest “touristy” place I have ever visited. Just getting to the ticket counter (from the Tiananmen Gate) must have been a quarter mile. Nota bene: bring some VERY comfortable shoes! My biggest misconception was that when I was planning the trip I thought I could see multiple sights in one day. I had no idea that the Temple of Heaven, Tiananman Square, Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace were so far apart and covered such large amounts of land.

After getting my ticket I was pleasantly surprised to see that the place was not overrun with tourists. So I started snapping as many pictures as I had patience for. All-in-all I probably took over a thousand pictures while I was there. Because I did not want to wear myself out with too much camera equipment I left my tripod at the hotel (wish I had brought it so that I could have got better shots of the imperial roof decorations).

I walked around for hours. After 90 minutes of walking around in a hot and humid Forbidden City I took an ice cream break (I figured I had burned enough calories to merit such a huge infusion of glucose – yes, I watch my weight). But I digress…..

I took several pictures of the room where the emperor slept. That was interesting. After a while I was simply worn out and lost my interest in taking pictures. I had probably already taken 300-400 pictures at Forbidden City alone.

The funniest part of being at the Forbidden City was when I entered one of the many museums. In one of the rooms I videotaped myself talking trash about how China feels that India is one of their enemies. I then ask the question, “Why does China worship Buddha so much? Is he not an Indian god?” “Seems like if the Chinese do not like China, they should not be worshipping their gods.”

At any rate, I had a wonderful time there. It is one of the most interesting places on the planet. Definitely go if you have a chance.
Tiananman Gate
Statue out front
Different perspective of Tiananman…
Here comes their version of the Ar…
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
monky says:
Your prayers were heard Morris! nice review and beautiful pics!:D
Posted on: Nov 18, 2012
Nataliya7 Nataliya7
2 reviews
Forbidden city Sep 19, 2012
In 1961 the Forbidden City was listed as an important historical monument under Chinese central government special preservation.

In 1987, it was nominated as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. The Palace Museum is a treasure house of Chinese cultural and historical relics.

It is recognized as one of the most important five palaces in the world (the other four are the Palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in the UK, the White House in the US, and the Kremlin in Russia).
DarkAngel32 DarkAnge…
4 reviews
The Forbidden City (Beijing China) - Absolutely A Must See Apr 05, 2011
The Forbidden City is one of those places that people need to go to in Beijing. Home to emperors since the Ming dynasty, this is the physical and historical heart of old Beijing and its most famous attraction, With it being the centre of power for hundreds of years, there is a lot of history to absorb. I've have been several times and each time I have seen something different. If crowds are not your thing, the parks along the moat (east and west of the south gate to the Forbidden City) offer some peace and quiet. Don't forget to hit up the imperial family's private park in the north side of the Forbidden City. (see also Tian’anmen Gate, Square and Chairman Mao Memorial Hall).
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
512traveler says:
thks for the review... heading to Beijing on June 17th =)
Posted on: May 07, 2011
sunnynyc sunnynyc
3 reviews
Amazing Palace Jun 20, 2011

The ticket booth to go above the first gate is separate (and near first gate entrance) from the main palace ticket. It's interesting to go above the first gate and look out at tien an men square.


* Impressive historical site

* Lots of places to walk and explore especially if you want to deviate off the center path

* Be sure to go all the way through and then up the hill on the far side (and yep that's another ticket) - the view is quite amazing up there.


* Crowded

* Lots of people trying to sell you stuff, or give you tours between the first gate and the entrance

* Lots of tour guys with megaphones

* Most of the other tourists are local chinese, and they enjoy the pushing and shoving.

* Overall the government isn't doing enough to keep up this site - some upkeep is needed, and many places some additional signage would be nice.

* The crowds can make it hard to see into some of the buildings - and they tend not to be well lit.
evelynsml evelynsml
4 reviews
Watch out for the weather Jul 24, 2011
Last week I went to Beijing, on the second day we visited the Forbidden City. A very large, four-walled place with a lot of history behind each door.

The temperature on the day we went was around 28-30C this combined with the humidity of Beijing, it made quite uncomfortable and hot.

My recommendation if you're traveling to China in the months of July/August is to be prepared for very hot days and to remember to drink lots and lots of water because dehydration will be your worst enemy during your visit.

Also wear comfortable shoes and clothes so you can go through it all easily and, if you can, take an umbrella with you, because I had the pleasure of meeting the chinese rain on my own without an umbrella and ended up soaked from head to toes.

I hope these tips are helpful.
martinvormeer martinvo…
2 reviews
almost private tour Jan 23, 2011
We went to the forbidden city on our selfs.

when we came to the gate there where severall big groups and a lot of people in front off the ticket service.

waiting time ... verry long.

but there was a young man who did give tours off the city. we did agree on 200 yuang that he gave us the tour.

it was perfect, he did tell a lot off things about the forbidden city and he had an agreemant whith a familie relatif off the last emperer. off course they try to sell you some things but the tour is perfect and you dont have to wait and you dont go with a big group.

so when you visit the forbidden city, my tip, try to get a private tour or do it yourself.
entrance forbidden city
forbidden city
insite forbidden city
insite forbidden city
ankit_a ankit_a
3 reviews
Get lost in the history of China Jun 13, 2011
Right in the centre of Beijing this is the place where the royals of ruling dynasties stayed. Forbidded city would give you an insight in to Chinese history. Buildings are well preserved ans in contrast to the modern architechture of the remaining city.
Johnpro Johnpro
208 reviews
To much walk ! Aug 10, 2010
Is a must do place but you have to walk a lot :) Really huge and amazing highlight from Beijing .

You need many weeks to discover all the 8700 rooms , but a quick view is the better solution !

Also the bad rainy whether don't offer me more time to explore deeper !

The palace, the most magnificent and splendid palace complex in China, was listed as a World Cultural Heritage Building in 1987. It was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the construction of this group of buildings took fourteen years from 1406 to 1420. In the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it was the imperial palace where twenty-four emperors ascended the throne and exercised their strong power to the nation.

I recommended because is a worldwide highlight :)

Some photos to have a look .
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
stevemco stevemco
33 reviews
Forbidden City Oct 31, 2009
Maybe it was the hype before going. You know how it is, you hear and read about it for year and when you actually see it... that's it. Obviously the forbidden city is a must see in Beijing but my suggestion would be go with lowered expectations.
Eric Eric
408 reviews
Sep 21, 2006
Unfortunately, a lot of the more impressive buildings were under construction during my visit, so often all I got to see was a giant piece of tarp with a faded photo of what I was actually supposed to be seeing. Since the weather was so hot, and we were tired, Dave and I made it our quest to find the Starbucks which was supposedly operating right inside the walls of the Forbidden City. We asked some merchants at the south gate where it was, but they denied its existence and said it had been shut down. We wandered around some more and eventually found it, in a tiny unmarked building with no Starbucks signs flanking its perimeter. Apparently, some people were upset at having a multinational corporation setting up shop inside a national treasure, so they were trying to keep a low profile. I ordered a Mango Tea Frappucino, and it was delicious.Sadly, this was the highlight of my trip to the Forbidden City -- although I'm sure that I would have had a completely different experience had everything not been covered up.
Mango Tea Frappucino conquers all.
A nice view of the tarp.
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
WaltJake says:
I hope they've finished by now! I'd hate to fly halfway around the world to see a bunch of tarps!
Posted on: Apr 10, 2007
AtlantaScottyV says:
It's all about the Olympics! When I was there in 2001 there was TONS of construction and demolition going on all around the city. The 'Green Belt" around the city was just being put in place. Sad they have to tear down all of those historic, centuries old huttongs with their winding pathways. And Starbucks in the Forbidden City? PLEASE - let's see how much more they can ruin it. Like there's not enough KFC and McDonalds already. Next thing you know there'll be one at the top of Mt. Everest.
Posted on: Sep 28, 2006
Amanda says:
The summer before I started 8th grade, my family of 7 went on a trip driving and camping across the US and Canada and back. We ended up with this inside joke that whenever a plan of what we were going to see or do didn’t work out, we’d make up a story of a large family that had come the whole way just for that, and always end it with the phrase “…and so, disappointed, they returned home.”

I think that could apply here. Tee hee….
Posted on: Sep 21, 2006
pacovera pacovera
64 reviews
Aug 03, 2006

at the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City, called Gu Gong, in

Chinese, was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Now known as the Palace Museum, it is to the north of Tiananmen

Square. Rectangular in shape, it is the world's largest palace complex

and covers 74 hectares. Surrounded by a six meter deep moat and

a ten meter high wall are 9,999 buildings. The wall has a gate on

each side. Opposite the Tiananmen Gate, to the north is the Gate

of Devine Might (Shenwumen), which faces Jingshan Park. The distance

between these two gates is 960 meters, while the distance between

the gates in the east and west walls is 750 meters. There are unique

and delicately structured towers on each of the four corners of

the curtain wall. These afford views over both the palace and the

city outside.
Liselore_Verschuren Liselore…
252 reviews
Ready.....Set.... Enjoy! Jul 12, 2005
The Forbidden City is amazing and it should be high on everybody’s must-see list. It was certainly one of the highlights of my entire trip to China (but that maybe has to do with the fact that I LOVE the movie ‘The Last Emperor’. I’ve seen it at least a dozen times.).

If you just landed in Beijing and haven’t been in China before, finding your way to this landmark may be quite a hassle though. Make sure you bring a travel guide (like Lonely Planet) or phrasebook that mentions sights like The Forbidden City in English and in Chinese characters. You can show the Chinese characters to a taxi driver and he will take you there without problems. If you try and explain to him in English (or try and pronounce the Chinese words) where you want to go, you’ll never get there. Almost nobody understands English, or a slightly different pronunciation of Chinese words.

When you arrive at the main entrance of The Forbidden City, you’ll be dropped in huge crowds of people. (It’s best to come as early as possible to avoid masses. Nine o‘clock or 9:30 is ideal.) Most people will be headed towards Tiananman square where there is a huge waiting line. It seems as if you should join this line in order to buy tickets for The Forbidden City, but this is not the case. That is, unless you want to visit the Mao Mausoleum. Just pass the main entrance of the Forbidden City and keep on walking. Asking directions or any kind of questions is useless, nobody speaks a word of English.

Past the second gate you’ll find small booths with different prices on their plastic windows and women sitting behind those windows ticking their pencil at the price to draw your attention. It may seem as if you should buy your entrance tickets for The Forbidden City here, but again this is not the case. It remains a mystery why those booths are there and what it is those women are trying to sell.

A few yards further you’ll finally see a partially closed gate, in the small building next to it you can buy your entrance tickets. There is a possibility to also buy an audio tour, and I liked this very much. It is spoken by Roger Moore and has the atmosphere of an exciting radio play. The audio tour is highly recommended since there are no signs in English and also no English speaking guides. Without the audio tour you’ll have no idea what it is you are looking at.

Once you’re in The Forbidden City you should remember to take your time. You’ll need hours just to cross the enormous complex without looking at anything. Also keep in mind that around 90% of the visitors of The Forbidden City are Chinese, and they have never heard of anything that resembles the idea of ‘personal space’. They also like to walk around with umbrella’s to prevent their faces from tanning, but since they are quite short, the edges of their umbrella will be at the height of your eyes. You’ll need a certain ‘Zen-state’ in order to fully appreciate the beautiful Forbidden City. But it is guaranteed to be memorable event, no matter how hard or easy your visit may be!
The Forbidden City. (Beijing, Chin…
The Forbidden City. (Beijing, Chin…
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