Is a tour guide needed for Beijing Tiannamen Sq/Forbidden City?
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Our hotel says it is within walking distance (Grand Hyatt).. Do we need a structured tour- or can we just do that on our own?We stayed at the Hyatt in May. It's a beautiful hotel (bring a bathing suit for the awesome grotto pool), and definitely within walking distance of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Maybe about ten minutes. In fact, on our first evening, following our flight over from the US and check in late in the afternoon, we walked over to the Square for the evening flag lowering ceremony at sunset. (There is also a flag raising ceremony at sunrise.) I would highly recommend seeing this. (Google this to get the exact times during your visit.)
You certainly don't need a guide for either place, but you might get more out of the Forbidden City if you had one.
You didn't ask about food, and you may already know this, but the restaurant Made in China is in the Hyatt, and is one of the city's famous Peking Duck restaurants. Our dinner there was fantastic. If you email the hotel concierge, they can make a reservation for you and also pre-order the duck, which is a good idea.
China is amazing. Enjoy your trip!
Yes, I would get a guide for a first visit to the Forbidden City.
While you certainly can do most of them, including the Forbidden City on your own, to get the full appreciation of the historical significance and the detail we strongly recommend a government licenced guide who is university trained, has passed a rigid examination, and knows the best way to get the most out of the short time you have to visit Beijing.
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