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Beijing Forbidden City Tours

Forbidden City Beijing

Rating5 star #1of 27 attractions in Beijing

Tickets $10

Tour Time Approx. 4 hours

Features a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chinese historical relics, imperial palace, palatial architecture, massive courtyards, experience royalty life, admire valuable Chinese culture treasures

The Forbidden City is the No. 1 of top 10 Beijing must-to-see attractions. It is the most visited and popular sight for any Beijing tour, greatly recommended by tour guide.

Located at the exact center of Beijing, the Forbidden City is the world's largest palace complex, covering 720,000 square meters with 800 buildings and 9,000 rooms in total. It was the home to 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties, and is recognized as one of the most attractive five palaces in the world (the other four are: the palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in the UK, the White House in the US and the Kremlin in Russia). In 1987, the Forbidden City was nominated as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO

Today, it has been a public museum, drawing the attention of millions of travelers around the world every day. You will marvel at its splendid architecture, the essence and culmination of Chinese architectural accomplishment.

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Location: to the north of the Tiananmen Square (exact center of Beijing)

Opening Time
08:30 to 16:20 (Oct. 16-Apr.15); tickets not available after 15:30
08:30 to 17:00 (Apr. 16-Oct.15); tickets not available after 16:00

Highlights in the Forbidden City

  • The Meridian Gate: the main entrance to the Forbidden City.
  • Hall of Supreme Harmony: the heart of the immense Forbidden City palace complex.
  • Hall of Central Harmony: the resting place for the emperor before presenting the grand occasions held in Taihe Hall.
  • Hall of Preserving Harmony: the place where the Emperor rested and changed clothes.
  • Gate of Heavenly Peace: the main gateway to the inner living quarters of the Forbidden City.
  • Palace of Heavenly Peace: the largest building of the tree rear palaces.
  • Palace of Union and Peace: the place where the empress held the important ceremonies for the New Year Day and her birthday.
  • Hall of Terrestrial Tranquility: served as the sleeping place for the Empresses.
  • Hall of Mental Cultivation: the Emperor conducted the state affairs and held private audiences in the hall.
  • Imperial Garden: a popular place where tourists take a rest and take photos before exiting the Forbidden City.
  • Exhibition Halls: display traditional Chinese artwork, porcelain wares, bronze wares, watches, clocks, brush paintings, calligraphies, and other valuable treasures.
  • Office of Privy Council: a secret place where the Emperors and officials were involved in the official matters.
  • Hall of Imperial Zenith: Cixi used to receive the foreign envoys and enjoy the performances here.

There are much more in the Forbidden City waiting for you to discover. Why is it decorated in yellow and red? Why is it that no trees in the grand courtyard of the Hall of Taihe Dian? What were the hundreds of gilt bronze vats scattering in the Forbidden City used for? Only when you get there can you reveal its mysterious veil! So, what are you waiting for? Discover yourself!

Guided Ways to enter the Forbidden City

There are entrances to the Forbidden City in the south and north. However, it is best to enter the Forbidden City from the Tiananmen Gate, because it is the main gate and traditionally the "front door".

entrance to the Forbidden City
best way to enter the Forbidden City from the Tiananmen gate

How to Get there?

Subway line 1 & 2: get off at Tiananmen west station or Tiananmen east station.
Buses No. 1, 4, 5, 10, 20, 52, 57, 101, 103, 109, and 111 take you there.

Weather/Best Time to Go 

The autumn months between September and November have the best weather and fewer tourists. Summer (June to August) is considered peak season, when hotels typically raise their rates and the Great Wall nearly collapses under the weight of marching tourists. Spring is less pleasant not many tourists but lots of wind and dust. In winter, you'll have Beijing to yourself and many hotels offer substantial discounts, just remember it's an ice box outside. Everything is chock block during the Chinese New Year (usually in January or February).

The best tourist season to Forbidden City is from late March to early June and from late August to late November. During these periods, choose someday not on the weekdays and holidays to avoid the crowds of people.

Travel Tips

  • * We suggest you hire one of the audio-tours in your language. It can be rented from the tour guide service at the Meridian Gate and the Gate of Divine Might.
  • * You'd better walk along the AXES. If time permits, you should have a tour around the West Road.
  • * Calligraphy fans must visit the Third Palace of the Hall of Mental Cultivation, because there are three well-known pieces of copybook.


Tiananmen Square Forbidden City

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