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  • Address: 4 Jingshan Qianjie
  • Hours: Open daily

Beijing ATTRACTIONS See all

Forbidden City (Imperial Palace)

Have you ever wondered what's so forbidden about the Forbidden City? It's called that because it was closed to the outside world for 500 years. This was the seat of the Ming and the Qing emperors, and no one could enter - or leave - the imperial domain without their permission. These days, the Chinese mainly call it Gu Gong, or Former Palace.

The Forbidden City, or Beijing Imperial Palace, is BIG - you'll need to allow at least one day for your visit. UNESCO have listed it as the largest collection of ancient wooden structures in the world. There are nearly 1,000 rooms in over 800 buildings. However, because it's been ransacked by invaders and gutted by fire several times (wooden buildings, lanterns, you do the math) most of the structures date from the 18th century on.

As you move around the gardens and palatial buildings, which have now been converted to museums, you'll start to get a feel for what it was like to live the imperial life - a highly ritualised existence of exquisite luxury. Here is the Dowager Empress's theatre, with its cunning trap doors; there is the hall of clocks, a collection of the palace's many sumptuous time pieces. Here are various pagodas for the writing and reading of poetry; there are pavilions for viewing opera.

The Inner Court was once reserved for the emperor, his family, and the royal concubines and eunuchs. Its elaborate halls are filled with symbols that evoke the presence of the 'Son of Heaven'. In the Inner Court is a marvelous garden with pavilions and ancient cedars.  

Practical Info

The Forbidden City undergoes a fairly constant process of renovation, in addition to the more large-scale projects it is currently undergoing, so be prepared for some closures when you visit. Nevertheless, there's still plenty of Forbidden City to go around.

Take the Subway (line 1) to Tiananmen Dong, or catch one of the many buses going to Gugong. It's better to approach the Forbidden City by public transport, as taxis are, yes, forbidden to stop outside.

Tours & Tickets

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Beijing Classic Full-Day Tour including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven

4.5 star rating: Recommended 98 Reviews

See all the classic Beijing sights on a full-day sightseeing tour covering Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven. Along ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $82.99

Beijing in One Day: Day Trip from Shanghai by Air

4.5 star rating: Recommended 8 Reviews

If you’re spending time in Shanghai, take a day trip to Beijing by air to make your visit to China complete. While you’re in China’s ancient capital, visit the ...  Read more

Location: Shanghai, China
Duration: 14 hours (approx.)

From USD $810.00

Viator VIP: Beijing's Forbidden City with Special Viewing of Treasure Gallery and the Great Wall Ruins at Badaling

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 7 Reviews

Enjoy a VIP tour of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites from Beijing – the Forbidden City and Badaling Great Wall Ruins. With your expert guide, gain special ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $195.90

11-Day Splendors of China: Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai and Chongqing with Yangtze River Cruise

Experience the splendors of China over 11 fantastic days! Highlights include the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 11 days, 10 nights

From USD $1,754.11

Private 3-Day Classic Northern China Tour: Xi'an and Beijing from Guangzhou by Air

Spend three full days discovering northern China’s ancient and modern history on a classic, private tour to Xi’an and Beijing from Guangzhou. View the ...  Read more

Location: Guangzhou, China
Duration: 3 days (approx.)

From USD $1,439.99
$1,599.99 Save $160.00

Beijing Essential Full-Day Tour including Great Wall at Badaling, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square

4.5 star rating: Recommended 117 Reviews

If your time in Beijing is short, take this full-day tour to see all the essential sights: Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Badaling section of ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $86.99

Private Beijing Day Trip by Air from Guangzhou

Take in the highlights of Beijing, including the Great Wall, on this private day trip with flight from Guangzhou. Amble around the restored Mutianyu section of ...  Read more

Location: Guangzhou, China
Duration: 16 hours (approx.)

From USD $855.00
$950.00 Save $95.00

Private Custom Tour: Beijing in One Day

4.5 star rating: Recommended 70 Reviews

A privately guided tour, customized to your needs for a full day touring in Beijing. Some highlights include the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, visiting the ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $15.99

2-Day Private Tour of Beijing from Shanghai by Air

Hit all of Beijing's must-see sights and experience its culture – including two UNESCO World Heritage sites and a Peking duck dinner – on this two-day private ...  Read more

Location: Shanghai, China
Duration: 2 days, 1 night

From USD $720.00
$800.00 Save $80.00

Private Beijing Bike Tour at Night

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 8 Reviews

See the beautiful city of Beijing light up at night on this private bike tour of the Chinese capital. Your expert guide will lead you through the winding ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $98.00
$140.00 Save $42.00

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