Posted in China, Thoughts, Travel
October 19, 2016

3 Places not to visit in Beijing

Been there, done that. That usually the tourist’s mantra. Go to a country. Die die must visit those iconic places that are featured so prominently in the tourist brochure and advertisement. Like people comes in the hundred to look at the Merlion here.  Or travel 2 hours to have a 10 minute peek into some tourists and touts infested area that is so artificial that it there is an equivalent in every city.

So this article instead of the usual places to visit in XXX country, I decided it is easier to write about places not to go. Places that are not worth the entrance fee or the long journey there or is a total tourist rip off. Since my last major overseas trip is to Beijing I shall start from there.

Forbidden City

This is a must see for every people who visit Beijing be it a foreign tourist or a native from another province. After all who has not seen the beautiful palaces complex in the many movies of China. But is it really worth the time and money?

Firstly on any given day, there is a super long queue to get in. During weekend and holidays, that queue can stretch up to 3 hours not helped by the super tight security and the blatant queue cutting by the locals. And maybe after 2 hours of queuing you finally reached the first courtyard and the ticket counters. And you freaking queue again to buy your admission tickets before squeezing in with the crowd. And talking about crowd, this is the crowd on a Monday morning20160517_101241

This doesn’t look too bad except this is just one of the many court yards within the Palace Complex so there will be more than enough place to walk through until you get to one of the halls and then you get thisdsc_1138

These people are not praying or holding joss stick ok! What they trying to do is to catch a glimpse and perhaps a snap of whatever is inside the building. Now every thing would have been fine and dainty if there is some sort of queue system and directional walking but there isn’t.  Everyone is jostling for space and trying to look inside and which inexplicably for a top notch attraction is shroud in darkness and separate from the public eyes by a piece of blurry perspex which have seen better days. So after all that struggle, what one get is a quick glimpse of some furniture in a dark chamber and nothing else! And repeat this for the 1001 halls there.  And in fact all the other historical places like the Heavenly Temple are the same. Nice looking on the outside. Dark and gloomy inside through the perspex glass.


Of course if you go to the Forbidden City, you got to go to Tianamen which is just across the road. But to get there, you need to walk a big detour from the exit of Forbidden City and again pass through multiple level of security check to get to a ………. big empty ground facing the outer gates of the Forbidden City!20160517_164308

Its only claim to fame is of course the Tiananmen Protest site of 1998. Other than that, there is nothing to see except facade of the various historical buildings around it and I must admit nice flower bed.dsc09835

But really truly it is a waste of time to be there. You would do better going to go to one of the shopping streets where at least you can get shelter from the heat or cold depending on which season you are visiting and food to eat at decent prices.

Beijing Aquarium

I am not sure whether this is a children playground with fish exhibits or an aquarium with children playgrounds. There is a playground or some thing resembling that in practically every exhibition halls. And the fish? Most of them were kept in small little tanks and this include the 2  Beluga and the dolphins.dsc_1065If you cannot bear the sight of the fish being confined to their prison cells or the sound of a thousand screaming children, avoid at all cost. And definitely not worth the queuing and the cost of the tickets. I have a more detailed post on this a̶t̶t̶r̶a̶c̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ prison here.

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