Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Traditional Beijing Part 2 - The Forbidden City - Stretch A Leg Guided tour

Beijing is not short of curiosities to see and visit by yourself.
You will always spot interesting new (and old) things to discover by yourself.
However, for more historical places, a guide-tour is highly recommended.

You will find plenty of English speaking guide-tours in Beijing.
I only used one of them for both the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
His name is Tony and works for Stretch A Leg

The Forbidden City, even early in the morning can be a very crowded place.
Fortunately, Tony knew the place inside-out and avoided us queueing for hours to buy a ticket.
He was also able to take us off the beaten track and give us a more peaceful tour of the City.

Tony has lived in New Zealand and is fully bilingual. But more importantly, he is a mine full of information about Chinese History as well as Modern China.

Tony first took us to Jingsang Park to get an eagle-eye view of the Forbidden City (See my previous post on Traditional Beijing's  and picture above)

The tour was a year ago now, I will not bore you with the history if you have no intention on visiting the place, and let Tony give you these fascinating informations if you visit Beijing in the near future.
Here are my favourite pictures :
You can also find a video of Tony on the Hutong (see my transition Beijing post for more pictures of Hutongs) from CBS here : http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50147150n 
The moat inside the city. Build to form a bow and arrow shape
You will find animal figurines on every roof within the city. The numbers of figurines indicates the Seniority of the building's occupant. No buildings in the whole of China could have more figurines than the Hall of Throne of the Emperor

This is a single tree. Pillars had to be erected to support the large branches
Tiles on the roof were glazed to gleam like Gold in the sunshine

The Opera building

Tony Chen, our tour guide


  1. Jane Middleton6 June 2013 at 18:36

    Thank you for an interesting blog post, wonderful pictures - would love to visit one day

    1. China truly is a magical place.
      Not only it has so much history but it is changing by the day.
      Shanghai was the first ever city I truly fell in love with (after London).
      I always wanted to re-visit since my first trip in 2008 and now feel really blessed work took me there last year.
      Hope you get to visit China soon. xx