Tips for going to see this attraction:
1. Get there at 9 am. We got there at 10 and the lines were already long. By noon the lines were fairly insane.
2. Avoid the big long line for tickets and use the automated kiosks. We didn’t know they existed until we got up to the front of a very, very, very long line. You can’t get tickets for the harem tour at the automated machines, but the harem line was quite short, contrary to what the guidebooks told us.
3. The longest lines while I was there were for the Treasure Room and to see the relics. And I mean long lines. Go to those first when you get there at 9 am. And then go to the harem.
4. Have a guidebook with good information about the Palace? Bring it with you. They don’t pass out free maps and the audio tour was missing information that I had previously read. I would recommend hiring a guide if you want the full experience. I casually tried to sneak in on several tours because the information they were sharing was so rich and detailed. It was a struggle when the tours turned out to not be in English.
5. Take a break on the lawn and people watch. This site brings together so many people from all over the world and it’s fascinating to watch them all interact.