We told you the other month how powerful it was arriving at Tiananmen Square—which sits across from the Forbidden City—but today we’re telling you what NOT TO DO when you actually step inside the imperial walls. As always, these are just our tips so by all means, please add your own!
So without further ado, here is the Jaunted guide of What Not To Do In The Forbidden City: The Top 5 Tourist Mistakes.
5. Don’t Pay for Your Tickets with a Credit Card
Both locals and tourists mostly pay cash in the city, and the admission booths only had one window that accepted credit cards. Since we don’t read or speak Mandarin or any other Asian language, there was a bit of back and forth with the cashiers about which one had the credit card machine. Save yourself the trouble and bring 40 RMB ($6.35) with you, per person.
Those are not our boots, that’s for sure.
4. Don’t wear fancy footwear
The Forbidden City is big. Huge. Seemingly never-ending. There are lots of steps and lots of paths to explore. Don’t wear any sort of shoe that may cause blisters or may be too tight.
It was impossible to get a shot without someone’s head in the corner.
3. Don’t go in the summertime
We roamed around the Forbidden City in early December on a brisk but sunny day. Yet, despite the chills, it was rather crowded. We had to wait just to peek over the heads of other tourists to look into the individual halls. Later, a Beijing local told us the crowds in the summer are out of control. While the gardens may not have been in full bloom in December, we quite preferred the (relative) amount of breathing room during our visit.
2. Don’t pose so seriously for your vacation photos
We saw too many people hardly smiling for the cameras but this one guy striking gangster poses along a wall made us smile. You’ve made it to Beijing after all. Live a little!
1. Don’t expect to find excitement at every turn
The layout of the Forbidden City is quite repetitive. There’s a wide courtyard with steps on the opposite side leading up to a hall of some sort (a meeting hall, a hall where the Emperor changed clothes, a prayer hall, etc.) and steps along the backside leading down to another courtyard where the layout repeats itself again. This happens about six times. Of course, there’s still a ton to take in. We were enthralled by the intricate details in the rooftops, and the stone carvings found throughout are incredible. And we kept wondering, “what if this was our home?” Those emperors sure had it good.