Beijing, day four was basically one big taxi ride out to our new hotel – we were to start our big, absolutely arranged, Beijing tour on the fifth day of our travels – the new hotel was swanky, clean, but also in the middle of nowhere – it was a good hours drive out of the city and from where we were staying beforehand. I had a feeling we would be Driving Forever. Too true.

On the upside, our tour of somewhat epic proportion began with a bang on day five – after competing with hoards of hungry touring families and old folks (and a surprising large number of Singaporean/Malaysian Australians) during the breakfast buffet, we boarded our buses and were shifted out the Forbidden City () – a massive citadel that housed the emperors and their families from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. Now, I’m not going to lie, this place is HUGE. Ridiculously HUGE. The scale of the place is so hard to convey – but imaging a grain of sand – ok, that grain of sand is you. Now imagine a sea lion. A huge, angry sea lion. Okay, that sea lion is the Forbidden City. No joke.

We luckily managed to arrive on a very rare sun-soaked day – on the downside it was so hot. On the upside – ridiculously blue skies and amazingly punched colours – all the amazing details of these buildings were magnified by the sunlight. Oh, by the way, if you havent’ already noticed, this blog post will have a bazillion photos. Just saying. You’ve been warned.

Yellow is a royal colour, thus the colour of the roof tiles. The red colour of the walls symbolize happiness and auspiciousness. Auspiciousness - it's apparently a word.

There were masses of tour groups out and about the Forbidden City when we ventured out - an Indian-led group very hilariously were led by a little comical poo on a stick. I had to score a picture as proof.

The Hall of Supreme Harmony - absolutely flocked with tourists - I managed to get up close - but not too close. I also managed to get an elbow to the cheek - which was a little too close for my liking.

It was about this time in the trip that I began to bore of the endless courtyards and hordes upon hordes of tourists - that is until I found this girl - BOWL HAIRCUT OF DOOM.

Amazing marble detail - carved from a single piece of stone 16.57 metres (54.4 ft) long, 3.07 metres (10.1 ft) wide, and 1.7 metres (5.6 ft) thick. Yikes.
The throne in the Hall of Preserving Harmony (保和殿) - a smaller version of the one found in the Hall of Supreme Harmony. I didn't have to elbow any small children to get the photo. Hurrah.

A large chunk of crystal in the concubine's residency to remind them to stay pure . How lovely. Picture comes with supporting tourists in the background.

This has to be one of my most favourite parts of the entire tour (well, the Peking duck part of the tour was pretty fabulous as well) – but I loved the history and the atmosphere of the Forbidden City – to be immersed in all of this detail and have the opportunity to experience it first-hand was truly amazing. Of course, our tour guide spoke in slightly Beijing-accented Mandarin, which is usually no problem for me, but since I was too busy taking pictures of things, I would occasionally return to his informative speeches half-way through and constantly had to ask my sister or my parent’s to go-over what he said. I’m not sure they were all too pleased with me – what I do know is that I have discovered that I know very little about Chinese history. Oops. Time to crack out the textbooks.



  1. I was lucky when I went there. I made sure to go in the morning, there weren’t that many people, but during the afternoon there were a lot!
    Did you get lost too or did you stay with your guide?

    1. I managed to stick to my tour guide most of the way around – it was handy that he was about 6.3ft – so he towered over the rest of the tour guides (and most of the tour group members)!

  2. Becca says:

    Architecture, architecture, tourist, POO ON A STICK, architecture, BOWL HAIR CUT OF DOOM, architecture…

    Still think the poo on a stick wins, dont you? ;D

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