June 14, 2012

Beijing | The Forbidden City.

I have been dreaming about visiting the Forbidden City again since the first time I set foot in this historical place in 2001. "Dreams come true for you," my friend Ragen once told me. And she's right, even if the fulfillment of that dream came a decade later. But I'm not complaining. I believe that there's a perfect time for everything. Unlike my first visit where I attended a conference, this time, I was a shameless tourist. *grin*

After walking around Tiananmen Square, my friends and I headed off to the Forbidden City. It's just across the Square. I was so excited to see this ancient walled city because the memory of my first visit is all but a blur now. One of the reasons why I wanted to go back was to remember the pieces I'd forgotten. I also wanted to listen again to the many fascinating stories that had been once true to this place.

The Forbidden City is located north of the Tiananmen Square.

Just infront of the entrance is a well-manicured garden with giant roses.

A huge portrait of Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-Tung) hangs proudly.
He is considered the leader of the Chinese Revolution and the founding father The People's Republic of China.

Giant red doors with nine golden metal studs at the Meridian Gate.

The Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
It is the most magnificent palace complex in all of China. Construction took 14 years to get completed.
The entire Forbidden City occupies 720,000 square meters and is believed to have about 8,700 rooms.

The Hall of Supreme Harmony is the highest building in The Forbidden City.
It was used for grand ceremonies and the Emperor's wedding. It is perhaps,
the most photographed hall/palace inside the Forbidden City.

The Forbidden City is divided into two parts: the Outer Court and the Inner Court.
The Outer Court is where all political affairs were held while the Inner Court is where the Emperor,
the Empress, concubines, and wives of past Emperors live.

The giant marble pathway which leads to The Hall of Preserving Harmony.
It is the largest stone carving in the Palace. It weighs more than 200 tons.

This, if I remember it right, was one of the Inner Courts where concubines stayed.
Concubines were well-educated women selected from the best Manchu families.
Emperors were allowed to have many wives and concubines.

They filled those big bronze cauldrons on the far left with water which they'd use in case of fire.

While we were in this area of the palace, our guide mentioned the tradition of
castrating male servants, the Eunuchs. It is said that their testicles were mummified
and buried with them when they die.

Taken at the Imperial Garden, the last stop of the Forbidden City tour.
Me, Nikko, Bambi, Edeena, and Chris.

The Imperial Garden covers about 12,000 square meters and
it used to be a private retreat for the imperial family.
There are flower beds, pavilions, and very old trees around the garden.

The Thousand-Year Pavilion is located at the west, according to chinese tradition symbolizes autumn.

The 18 important sights of the Forbidden City:
The Meridian Gate
Gate of Supreme Harmony
Hall of Supreme Harmony
Hall of Central Harmony
Hall of Preserved Harmony
Huge Stone Carving
Gate of Celestial Purity
Palace of Celestial Purity
Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union
Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility
Hall of Mental Cultivation
Six Western Palaces
Hall of Ancestral Worship
Six Eastern Palaces
Nine Dragon Screen
Palace of Tranquil Longevity
Hall of Joyful Longevity
The Imperial Garden

And I just had to take a photo of the toilet for visitors. :D

A moat was built to add security around the palace.
It is 3800 meters long and 52 meters wide.
Four corner towers were built to serve as defense facility.

. . . . .

One day is not enough to see everything inside the Forbidden CIty.
But if you do not have a day, give at least three hours for this tour.

Business Hours | Daily
8:30am - 5:00pm (April 16 - October 15)
8:30am - 4:30pm (October 16 - April 15)

Admission Fee
  • 60 RMB (April 1 - October 31)
  • 40 RMB (November 1 - March 31)
  • 20 RMB : students with valid ID
  • Audio guides in different languages at 40RMB plus 100RMB deposit which you can get when you return the audio guide at the exit.
  • Information Center (Archery Pavilion) and bag check-in counter (Meridian Gate).
  • Souvenir shops and cafes. They used to have Stabucks inside but it closed in 2007.

. . . . .

(six days in Beijing):
Hotel: Days Inn Tiananmen Square with breakfast
Tour Guide + Transpo + Lunch
Airfare: Cebu Pacific
Pocket Money

more or less $1,200/person

. . . . .

Our guide Jamie Wang speaks english
and is knowledgeable about China's history and tourist spots.
He was very helpful and nice and honest.
If you plan to visit Beijing and would need a guide,
email him at jamiewglory@hotmail.com

. . . . .

Chinese Visa Application

Tourist/Family Visit Visa Requirements:
  • Valid passport.
  • Completed Application Form.
  • One (1) passport or 2x2 photo glued on the application form. (Do not staple. Stapled photos will not be accepted). Photo must be colored, white background, front view, no hat.
  • U.S. Passport-holders must submit two (2) duly-accomplished application forms & two (2) photos
  • Invitation letter with your host's valid Chinese residence visa and passport information page or Chinese national identity card.
Additional requirements for first time visa applicants
(Philippine residents, 18 years old and above):
  1. Original NBI Clearance valid for travel abroad.
  2. Original Bank Certificate with receipt or updated passbook.
  3. If a company is sponsoring your trip, provide the company's Bank Certificate, letter of sponsorship,and the company's business registration.
  4. If an individual is sponsoring your trip, provide that person's Bank Certificate, letter of sponsorship & invitation, copy of that person's valid residence visa, passport information page or Chinese national identity card.
  5. For employed persons, submit Employment Certificate, company ID, SSS ID and contributions, TIN ID, and latest ITR.
  6. For students, provide school ID.
  7. For business owners, provide business registration of company, TIN ID and latest ITR.
  8. Personal appearance is required for those who are 16-21 years old.
  9. Emergency contact information at the back of your passport must be filled out and photocopied.
  10. Other documents required by visa officers if necessary.
For second-time visa applicants:

Submit filled out application form with 2x2 photo and a valid passport.

Visa Fees:

Philippine Passport
Single Entry: Php1400 | Double Entry: Php2100 | Multiple Entry (6 months): Php2800 |
Multiple Entry (12 months): Php4200

US Passport
Single Entry or Multiple Entry: Php6500

All other foreign passports
Single Entry: Php1700 | Double Entry: Php2550 | Multiple Entry (6 months): Php3400 |
Multiple Entry (12 months): Php5100

Processing Time:
  • Four working days.
  • You can request a one day processing for an additional Php1700 fee.
  • Or a three-day processing for an additional Php1100 fee.
How to Apply:

Bring complete requirements to the Consular Office or you can send a travel agent to act on your behalf.
Your representative must bring an authorization letter and a valid ID.

2nd & 3rd Floor,
The World Center
330 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue,
Makati City

Visa Section:
Fax: 632 8482386
Inquiry: 632 8482395 (Weekdays 08:30-10:30 | 14:00-16:00)
Email: chinavisamanila@yahoo.com

Visa Exemptions:
  • Holders of Diplomatic or Government/Official passports entering/exiting for a period not exceeding 30 days.
  • Passport holders from Singapore, Brunei, and Japan visiting China (sightseeing, business, transit) for up to 15 days.
  • Anyone holding a booked seat at an international airline flying directly to China, transiting less than 24 hours without leaving the airport.
  • Passport holders from the following countries -- transiting through Pudong Airport or Hongqaio airport provided they have booked seats, confirmed flights to their final destination, valid visas to other countries they are visiting, and only stay in Shanghai for 48 hours -- Republic of Korea, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece.
  • Passport holders of the following countries joining a tour group to Hainan Province (staying not more than 15 days): Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Germany, Great Britain, France, Austria, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Netherlands, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
All information were grabbed from the Chinese Embassy's official WEBSITE. Go visit!

. . . . .

Related Posts
Beijing | Tiananmen Square
Beijing | Donghuamen Night Food Street
Beijing | Summer Palace
Beijing | The Olympic Venue
Beijing | The Temple of Heaven
Beijing | Panjiayuan Antique Market
Beijing | Beihai Park
Beijing | Qiangan Hutong Tour
Beijing | The Lama Temple
Beijing | An Acrobatic Show
Beijing | The Great Wall
Beijing | 798 Art District

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  1. Oh, I've been dreaming about visiting this place since I saw Bertolucci's "The Last Emperor" for the first time. I've been to HK few times for stopover but never made it to visit China before...

    Great pictures as always! :)




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