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Beijing RECOMMENDATIONS See all

Exploring the Forbidden City

By Viator, December 2013

4.5 63 Reviews | Add your review

If there’s one sight that has come to represent not only Beijing, but Imperial China as a whole, it’s the Forbidden City. Closed to the world for some 500 years, this vast Imperial palace puts into perspective just how powerful China’s ancient leaders actually were.

One of the best ways to explore the Forbidden City is on a classic Beijing tour. While many visitors tour the palace grounds on their own, having a local guide along with you allows you to dig deeper into the historical significance of the place and hear anecdotes about what life was like for China’s imperial family. Besides visiting the Forbidden City, a typical Beijing city tour will include stops at the Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and Tiananmen Square.

You don’t necessarily have to stay in Beijing to see this iconic UNESCO-listed attraction either. If you’re pressed for time during your China travels but still want to see this historically significant attraction, it’s possible to visit Beijing on a day trip by air from either Shanghai or Guangzhou.

No matter how you choose to explore the Forbidden City, there are a few things you can do to make your time more enjoyable. If you’re touring on your own, it’s a good idea to show up at the ticket office right when it opens, as you’ll get to tour the ground ahead of the tour buses that arrive a bit later. While many tourists pass right down the center of the palace grounds, you should take some extra time to explore the galleries in the structures to either side of the main courtyards, as these contain an impressive collection of art and artifacts from several of China’s dynasties.

Tours & Tickets

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Private Tour: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven in Beijing

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 16 Reviews

On this dynamic private tour of Beijing, discover world-famous monuments and experience local customs with your friendly local guide. Visit culturally ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $168.00
$210.00 Save $42.00

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

Imperial Beijing Private Tour: Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and Jingshan Park with Lunch

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 7 Reviews

Learn about China’s capital city on this guided sightseeing tour. Your private guide will share interesting stories and facts about Beijing’s history as you ...  Read more

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

From USD $133.00
$190.00 Save $57.00

Private Beijing Bike Tour at Night

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 6 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

4-Day Private Tour of Beijing: Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and Peking Duck Dinner

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Discover the most popular attractions in Beijing on this multi-day, all-inclusive tour of the city with a private guide. On this stress-free Beijing tour, ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 4 days, 3 nights

From USD $630.66

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

4.5 star rating: Recommended 112 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

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

4.5 star rating: Recommended 96 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

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

Beijing Historical Tour including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and Temple of Heaven

4.5 star rating: Recommended 58 Reviews

Get to know Beijing and its amazing history by visiting three of the city's most impressive historic attractions: Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City and ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $56.99

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

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