Tourists are allowed to enter the Forbidden City

February 29, 2016

Today, after the Great Wall of China, there was another “must see” of China and Beijing on my tourist program: the Forbidden City.

As to almost every destination, we took the very good Beijing subway. As an old DB driver, what strikes me again and again is the high safety standards and the punctuality of the subway. A quick, if not always thorough, security check is carried out at every subway station. This includes both person and baggage control. After the 5th security check on one day, the checks are quickly perceived as annoying. Overall, however, they help me to perceive Beijing as a very safe city. After about 30 minutes we had reached our destination and so we joined the first of many lines. There was another security check - this time for access to Tiananmen Square, which is located in front of the Forbidden City and which is also the largest public square in the world.

Already in our hostel it was warned that there are many fraudsters on Tiananmen Square, whom we also met briefly. We were told by a young man that there were no more tickets and that only he could help us, which we of course declined with thanks. In this way, other tourists are said to have given away many thousands of yuan. After this amusing encounter, we went into the queue at the ticket counter, where we bought very cheap student tickets. When visiting many sights we have been able to benefit from the student prices so far, even if it is sometimes more difficult with a German student ID. Survived two queues and the tickets in hand - now it should finally start !? Thought wrong! Because of course we were checked again before we could enter the largest palace complex in the world.

What is forbidden in the Forbidden City?

Today (almost) nothing more, but the palace complex was not accessible to ordinary citizens for 500 years. It was the residence of two dynasties until the last Qing emperor was overthrown by the republic. The buildings of the Forbidden City are very well preserved and so we were able to admire many historical buildings from the outside. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to go into the various buildings, so we had to stop strolling through the courtyards and through the side galleries of the former emperors. We were always surrounded by many other tourists who occasionally took a photo of us. One like this "Laowai“After all, you don't get (foreigner) in front of your lens every day. Since I have already experienced something similar in Tanzania and can ignore something like that, or take it up with humor, this was not a big problem.

After many meters and photos later, we had seen the entire palace complex and could also tick off this sight on our “must see” checklist. Exhausted and hungry, we took a taxi to a vegetarian restaurant recommended by the taxi driver. "The restaurant is very famous and is owned by the Chinese government," said the driver.

Afterwards we asked ourselves what the restaurant was famous for. The food was anything but tasty and the prices were way too high. Obviously the tastes are different - we definitely can't go there anymore. However, the restaurant has always contributed to a nice and funny memory.

Correspondent Sophia currently lives in Beijing and knows a place where you have a great view of the Forbidden City.