Beijing Layover Tour
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We had an absolutely perfect day with our tour guide - Rogin Luo - who took us for a hike along The Great Wall! Didn't know what to expect and were thrilled to have him as our guide. Very imformative, knowledgable and fun! We go to experience a part of The Great Wall that was unrestored and see all its natural beauty. Got a long history lesson along the way!

After the hike, we all went to lunch at a small place at the bottom of the hill. Located in a house, we ate lunch in the proprietors bedroom! What a hoot! Rogin is the Best of the Best! This tour company delivered for us and we are extremely grateful.

Westborough, Massachusetts
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Forbidden City

The Forbidden City (known officially as the Imperial Palace Museum) was commissioned by the third Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Yong Le. The palace was built between 1406 and 1420, but was burnt down, rebuilt, sacked and renovated countless times, so most of the architecture you can see today dates from the 1700’s and on wards. The Forbidden City was the seat of Imperial power for 500 years, and is now a major tourist attraction in China. The total area of the complex is 183 acres, so it takes quite a while to walk through, especially if you want to have a close look at everything. All together there are 9,999 1/2 rooms in the Museum, not all of which can be visited.

To get in to the Forbidden City requires a 30 yuan ticket(45 yuan for a through ticket). Also you can have a headphone tour, in which Roger Moore's voice will guide you through each of the main halls and attractions. If you don't have a human tour guide, this is definitely the way to go. You can enter the Forbidden City through either of two gates; the front gate, which is inside the Tiananmen Gate (not to be confused with Tiananmen Square),or the west-facing Wumen Gate, which was originally where Imperial execution orders were carried out.

Although many of the Forbidden City's finest treasures wer taken away by the Nationalist armies as they fled to Taiwan, there are still quite a few impreeive relics left in the rooms of the palace. There is also a garden which features a grove of beautiful old cypress and pine trees, as well as the largest of the strange rock sculptures that are studded about the Palace grounds.

If you go to see the Hal of Ancient Clocks (which has an authentic Chinese water clock!) you will have to purchase a pair of cultural Relic Protection Shoes,(or CRaPS),which are ridiculous-looking florescent orange slipper things that you put on over your shoes. The CraPS go for a violating 2 yuan per pair($0.25). also, if you buy the through ticket, remember to keep your ticket handy for inspection, as you will need to show it upon entering certain different parts of the museum. If you lose the original ticket you will have to buy a new one at each separate section, although these tickets are only about 5 yuan a piece. There are souvenirshops everywhere with tons of cheap kitsch, but one store by the Clocks Hall actually has some nice stuff for sale. Bargaining is allowed.


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