With most of yesterday taken up by travelling from Hong Kong to Beijing, and settling in to the hotel, we only have two full days to explore the highlights. So today, we’re taking a few stops along the underground to Tiananmen Square to visit the Imperial Palace Museum.

Arriving at Tiananmen Square, state control and surveillance was very much in evidence. The whole area is cordoned off, with visitor access through metal detectors and baggage X-ray machines more typical of airports. All of the lampposts are bristling with CCTV cameras, and there is a noticeable presence from both Police and Armed Services. The approaches to the Tiananmen gate entrance to the museum were also being watched by some young men presumably from the secret services, although I have to say dressing uniformly like the ‘Men in Black’ and wearing sunglasses is more comical than secretive!

Tiananmen Square Selfie, outside the Tiananmen Gate to the Museum
Tiananmen Square Selfie, outside the Tiananmen Gate to the Museum

Big queues inside for the ticket office, but they moved along swiftly and we were soon inside. Fascinating place to explore, although the sheer size of the walled city is a little overwhelming. As we moved further into the complex, the initial crowds began to thin out and venture their separate ways.

One of the halls was notable for an impressive collection of statuary and other artefacts. A few snapshots below, although I suspect they don’t really do the particular pieces justice.

After leaving the Palace Museum via the Northern exit, we crossed over to Jingshan Park. Entrance tickets were really cheap. It’s a bit of a climb up to the pavilions in the park, but well worth while, as the view from on high gives the best appreciation of the scale of the Forbidden City complex.

A brilliant day out (although long and tiring in the sun), and only about 15 minutes walk back to our hotel at the top of Wangfujing Street once we left the park.

Finally, some more assorted photos from our trip in a gallery…