I thought the whole Forbidden City thing was a little tiring. I'm glad I went, and I may go back. But do not take a bag or purse. You'll send a fair amount of time checking and picking up your bag.
My surprise was the little restaurants within the Forbidden City. To the East of the courtyard in front of the Perserving Hamoney Hall is a smaller courtyard (there are some signs that say Vistors Center - there is nothing interesting in there). In that courtyard are two small restaurants. I went to the South restaurant. It reminded me a of a diner. I had the best simple chinese food of my trip there. Very inexpensive.
Also east of the Tiananimen Gate is a smaller gate. The artists working at the Forbidden City use that gate. Much easier to get through.
Inside expect to pay for tickets a few times. The lines were long. And ticket resellers were everywhere. My chinese girlfriend refused to buy tickets from them. So we stood in the lines which moved pretty quickly.
Finally, bring cash. The only place I used a credit card in Beijing was the hotel. Visa, Mastercard, America Express - forget it. And Travelers Check were worthless, I brought them all home. And get the hotel to exchange dollars for yuan. The bank I went to copied my passport, filled out forms. The guy at hotel was like "No Problem".
I love Beijing. So many interesting places. Spicy Grandma's is a fun place for lunch.
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