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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 108 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

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 9 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

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

4.5 star rating: Recommended 125 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

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

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 $1,686.97

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

4.5 star rating: Recommended 63 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

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 18 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

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 4 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

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 9 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

Small Group Beijing City Tour

Get an insider’s view to China’s capital city, Beijing, and see all its top attractions. Feel the buzz of Tiananmen Square, the tranquility of the Temple of ...  Read more

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

From USD $73.00

Small-Group Historical Tour of Beijing Including Forbidden City, China World Trade Tower and Local Brewery

This half-day sightseeing tour takes you on a journey from Beijing’s imperial past to its future as a mega metropolis. You’ll gain an architectural and ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $97.94

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