19 November 2007

Trip Report: Forbidden City

My "teacher" asked my to write a report about my recent trips wor ... so I start by writing this one on Beijing's Forbidden City lor, hor ?

Firstly, this isn't my first trip to Beijing. I've been there previously, but it was so rushed, I hadn't had much time to explore the sights of the city. Read about that previous trip here.

This time around, I had a bit more time, arriving on Saturday morning. The MAS flight to Beijing is at such a bad time that when I arrived, it was just 6 am ... and the hotel had no room for me at all. So, I just grabbed my camera, took a map, and finished off what I didn't get to finish the last time around - the Forbidden City, also known as the Imperial Palace.

My last trip there was rushed, and I didn't even had the time to finish all the sights, so this time, I am not going to let the chance pass me by !

I'll let the pictures describe the Forbidden City, rather than bore you all to sleep with words.

Autumn in Forbidden City means you get loads of Mandarin oranges fruits. In fact, they're all over Beijing!

First thing you do is buy an entrance ticket. Don't be stingy ... the ticket is around RM30, and you have the option of also renting an audio guide, which wirelessly detects where you are and plays out audio commentary. It serves as a really cool map - not just showing you the layout of the place, but where you've been to, so you don't end up walking the same place twice !

First stop is the Jing Sui River ... just outside the Meridian Gate. When I was last here in summer 2006, it was dirty, murky and smelled a little unpleasant. None of that now ! It's much nicer. Must be the Olympics ...

It's from this audio guide that I learnt about these little figurines on the roofs. The more figurines on a building's roof, the more important the building is ! Only 1 building in whole of ancient China can have 11figurines. And all buildings have odd number of figurines ! Ah ... see teacher, I learnt something new !

Of course, then I started venturing inside, seeing all the sights that most tour guides will want to show to their tourists. But the problem is ... these sights are overcrowded !

If you look carefully at the picture above, you will realise that there are TOO many people ! Just like all other places in China ..

It was then that I decided to go to places I've not seen in my previous trip, either because there wasn't enough time, or because they were paying sections. You see, it's quite morose ... but you sometimes have to pay again in the Forbidden City to visit some of the areas. In this case, I visited the Nine Dragon Screen Wall, which was very peaceful and quiet ... until some Malaysian tourist group came in and spoilt it all .. ! =(

Anyways ... this time, I visited some of the exhibits in there. The Forbidden Palace is now a museum, so many of the buildings actually hosts exhibitions.

And besides that, there are some unusual parts of the Forbidden Palace I haven't yet visited, such as the "Crystal Palace", an unfinished western style palace the last Emperor of China was building when money ran out due to wars, etc.

Of course, I had to visit the old favorite, even though it was totally crowded. I had to brave a crowd of old ladies from Foochow who nearly tore my shirt off and were shouting at the top of their voice asking me to move away so that they can see the throne. It's madness out there ... their tour guide actually apologized to me after that.

What was really satisfying for me was being able to visit the Forbidden City at my own pace and leisure, taking as much time as I wanted, or skipping places that didn't interest me. The audio guide made it easy enough, and tour guides, while nice, would not have been necessary, not when there's an audio guide anyways. Next time in Beijing, I probably won't stop by here, unless all the renovations have been completed, that is. I still have not been able to see the Hall of Supreme Harmony due to renovations - it was under renovation in May 06, it's still being renovated now ! =(

Anyways ... last but not least ... if you do visit the Forbidden City, please remember the important announcement above ;)


Chen said...

so syiok.
so nice
is this the place where u pluck the persimmon? Hehhehhe

i was there in 2002. I saw the figurines on top of the roof but never noticed the numbers on it :)

btw, there is one hanging sentence leh, quoting .. snip... which wirelessly detects where you are and plays out audio commentary. It serves as a really cool map - not just showing you the...

must be u too sleepy liao? :P

angel said...

Can post bigger pics ah? See liao syiok-er... i lazy to click on all pics ma... i see some of the floggers mia pics, all big-big, very syiok.. :D


Jemima said...

This post brings back memories of my trip there a few years ago.

may said...

oh gosh, the Hall of Supreme Harmony still under refurbishment? I was there last Summer and they had this big tarp over it, and a "wooden" wall with the Hall painted on it... hahaha!

but otherwise it's a pretty cool place to jalan-jalan around, hor. I had one of those guides too, but halfway got kinda lost. I had a "guide" (my Beijing colleague) there, but she speak-a no Engrish, I speak-a no Chingchong, we just used sign language!

moz monster said...

chen: Thanks ... phew ... I haven't been proof reading lately !

Hehehe ... and yeah ... all the persimmons are there !

angel: I'll need to change the template to allow bigger pictures ... lemme plan that lor ...

jems: =) ... brings back som memories, ha ? And it's a lot nicer now, thanks to the Olympics !

may: Still has a big tarp, still has a wooden Hall !

Che-Cheh said...

I was there in 2005, the Hall and few other buildings were under renovation...wow 2 years and still belum siap.

moz monster said...

che-cheh: I think it'll be siap in time for Olympics next year ... hopefully I'll be there again soon after that !