The Forbidden City & Tiananmen Square

Everyone received a 7am wake-up call from reception this morning to make sure we were ready to catch the bus at 8.30am. We were taken to Tiananmen Square and then into the Forbidden City. It was a very sunny Saturday in Beijing and the crowds were huge everywhere we went. Our guide Jerry shared his knowledge and gave us an excellent understanding of early life in the forbidden city and Beijing. With the time we had we were only able to see a small part of the Forbidden City as it covers such an enormous area and has over 7,000 rooms. Tiananmen Square was almost completely full of people as there were many Chinese tour groups there to see and walk past the tomb of Chairman Mao.

Jerry took us all to a restaurant for lunch and then we went to visit a Drum Tower in the centre of Beijing. We had to climb a huge and very steep staircase up into the Drum Tower and listened to a fantastic drumming performance while we were up there. The height of the tower gave us a great view across the city although visibility was limited due to the amount of pollution in the air. We were able to look down into some traditional hutongs (small streets) where many local people still live in traditional homes built around a central courtyard. After climbing down from the tower we all climbed into rickshaws and were given a tour through the hutongs. We went into one of the homes and had a local guide tell us about the history of the area and what traditional life in these communities is like. the homes do not have toilets or showers so the people all use public toilets and showers that are situated in the very narrow and busy streets. We met the owner who at 94 was almost completely deaf. He did a lot of smiling, gave us the ‘thumbs up’ and was happy to pose for photos with us.

Our next stop was a short visit to a market and the opportunity to try our bargaining skills against the local shop owners. It was a very rowdy bus ride to our restaurant for dinner as everyone swapped stories and showed their purchases.

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1 Comment

  1. Bernadette Hall on 14 Apr 2014 at 10:25 am

    I love that photo of Mr Chester with that old man. That is very cute lol

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