Time to get a bit of sight-seeing in before our mission to the North. We took a wander around the Forbidden City. This proved to be a very VERY crowded, hot and sticky affair. Take this advice- go early in the morning, before the crowds and before Beijing hots up too much, this reduces your chance of heat stroke, being barged around and poked with sun-umbrellas.
When it’s hot, it’s really hot, and when it’s muggy it’s worse! Entering from the North Gate you can visit Jingshan Park first, originally opened in 1368 as an Imperial Pleasure Garden for the Emperor. Here you get a fantastic view of the city and all of Beijing, particularly if the sky is clear.
When you exit you leave by the South Gate and can walk down past Tianenmen Square past the hoards of marching soldiers. You can attempt to find your way to the Pearl Market (Hongqiao Market) for a gander and a haggle and when you have succeeded in hailing a taxi back to your hostel and not got run over, you should be sure to have a good map with the exact location of your hostel marked on it…or you will never find it again.
Another interesting cultural experience was going to the cinema, I would recommend booking an earlier viewing time other than 23.30hrs and trying to ask the ticket vendor if the showing is in Chinese or English and if Chinese does it have subtitles, although Harry Potter dubbed into Chinese was a pretty amusing way to spend the evening.