I’m so excited to finally update you all on my recent adventures in mainland China! For those of you who don’t know, the major social media and networking websites are blocked, which made it next to impossible to access most means of communication. As someone traveling alone, it can definitely be tough not to have access to most of your friends and family. Luckily, I had already generated some connections to show me the ropes in Beijing and give me a great tour of the the city’s most popular sights, which made for a perfect distraction. On my first full day my friend He Gang and I headed to the Forbidden City. It was really helpful to have him along because he pointed out the subtle nuances and details in the construction of the Forbidden City. If you plan on visiting, I definitely recommend having a tour guide to show you around.
Be warned, though, tour groups can be quite large. If you can swing it, I would suggest getting a private tour. You can move at your own pace and ask all of the questions you want.
The central line of the Forbidden City. This line runs through the center of all of Beijing.
It also serves as the division between the men’s and women’s side of the city.
|One of the lions guarding the palace. This is the female lion, holding the cub under her paw, on the left side of the central line.|
|You can find 308 of these copper pots spread around the city. They were constantly filled with water in case of a fire.
In winter time, these vats were covered with quilts to prevent the water from freezing.
|This shot was taken in the Imperial Gardens. In all four courners of the gardens you will find pavilions that represent each season.|
|All of the gates to the city are outfitted with doors that have nine rows of nine golden door nails.As He Gang described it, the number nine is considered the most powerful and important number in China.|
Once you leave the Forbidden City through the rear exit, there are a set of royal gardens which I definitely recommend taking a walk through. If you climb to the top of the peak, you get a great view of the whole area. Unfortuantely, the pollution was on the high end of the scale that day, limiting the visibility, but it was still worth a hike up.
The Forbidden City is definitely worth at least half of a day of your time. Before I visited, I didn’t realize how massive the whole place was. You could easily spend your whole day there exploring the different halls, bridges and gardens.
For lunch, I went to Lei Garden in the World Trade Center. They have delicious dim sum!! None of the menu was in English, which prompted lots of communication via Google Translate, but it was worth fighting through the language barrier.
More posts on China to come!
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