China (People's Republic of China)

Languages: Chinese

Currencies: CNY · Chinese yuan (¥)

Capitol: Beijing

Continents: Asia

Borders: Russia, Tajikistan, Laos, North Korea, Bhutan, India, Macau, Nepal, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Mongolia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan

More useful information

Area: 9,706,961km2

Population: 1,402,112,000

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +86

Timezones: UTC+08:00

Last updated on July 9, 2024
Everything you need to know before visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing - Forbidden City

The Forbidden City – an iconic imperial palace, also known as the Palace Museum, holds centuries of Chinese history within its walls. It’s a must-visit destination for everyone coming to Beijing, however there are few things to know before you go. No matter which time of the year you are visiting, you must purchase tickets in advance. Here is all to know before visiting the Forbidden City Palace in Beijing.

Crowds can be enormous if you are visiting during holidays or weekends. I was there mid-January and it turned out it is Chinese holiday time), so I was queuing with only about half a million locals 😉 

Visiting the Forbidden City Palace Museum.

This is definitely all-day trip given the size of the ancient city and number of indoor exhibitions and Treasure Gallery. Don’t go visiting the Forbidden City Palace just to tick the box – the majestic imperial palace complex is a magnificent place. The Forbidden City and the Imperial Palace are a step back in time and a beautiful journey showcasing traditional Chinese architecture, incredible history and an extensive collection of artifacts.

Everything you need to know before visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing - Forbidden City

How to get to the Forbidden City.

Subway line 1 is the quickest option. 

SUBWAY & BUS: It is highly recomennded to buy Beijing Transportation Smart Card for subway, city buses and the airport express train payments. Passengers can get 80% discounts when paying for the city-bus fare by the card.

You already know about purchasing tickets in advance, now you should know it is a full-day trip. The palace covers an area of 180 acres, which is a lot! To clarify – the Forbidden City and Imperial Palace consists of 980 buildings and over 8700 rooms 😊.

Everything you need to know before visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing - Forbidden City

The Forbidden City tickets.

The Forbidden City is well-guarded. All entries are maintained by the police. Be prepared for huge crowds if you are visiting Forbidden City Palace in weekends or busy periods. There are few scanning and check points (all you need is to bring your Passport and digital Entry tickets).

Purchase The Forbidden City Ticket in advance. Lots of people from my hostel did not manage to visit the Forbidden City, as they didn’t pre-booked tickets. I bought mine 4 days ahead of visiting the Forbidden City. Alternatively, you can go for a highly popular Forbidden City and Royal Treasure Museum Half Day Tour. 

The Forbidden City Tickets are not available onsite!

Things to bring: PASSPORT and ENTRY TICKET (digital is sufficient). China supports all digital forms of tickets, payments etc. You will not be able to get in without a passport.

Most popular Forbidden City ticket tours.

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Forbidden City Art and the Imperial Palace Beijing.

There are many exhibitions, souvenir and food shops inside the complex. So you will be able to get food and drinks, while long sightseeing.

The Forbidden City was built between 1406-1420 serving as the imperial palace for the Ming and Qing dynasties for over 500 years!

Imperial Residence was the political and ceremonial centre of Chinese emperors, their families and the Chinese Government.

The Forbidden City was declared as UNESCO World Heritage in 1987 and it is an outstanding example of traditional Chinese palatial architecture and design.

Everything you need to know before visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing - Forbidden City Imperial palace.

Beijing hotels near Forbidden City.

One thing I would pay attention to – accommodations with fewer reviews can be fake. It is a quite common practice in China to pump the reviews to gain bookings, however the standard may be dissapointing. 

Accommodations in the city centre near the Forbidden City are slightly higher price, but here are few convenient options at affordable prices, located walking distance from the Forbidden City:

Very handy stay while visiting the Forbidden City and the closest to the sight entry is Hanting Hotel Beijing Tiananmen ~ $105/per night.

If you are looking for something ranging ~$60, here are few great options near the Frobidden City:

Everything you need to know before visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing - Forbidden City

Few other affordable recommended options in the city centre:

Most popular the Great Wall tours from Beijing:

I booked the Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from Beijing, which was fantastically organized and wrapped in a dinner with other amazing travelers. Few very popular Great Wall of China tours from Beijing are:

Forbidden City Museum Treasure Gallery.

If you purchased a combined entry ticket for visiting the Forbidden City, the Treasure Gallery is included in the price – and it’s really worth visiting. In case you get lost – don’t worry, the complex is well marked, direction signs are on every corner, so just look for Treasure Gallery. 

It’s really unbelievable how much Chinese people are interested in their history. Every single window was occupied with 30-40 people gathering, taking photos and discussing loudly. 😉 Great, but I have to say I had to make an effort to get through this crowd to see the exhibits.

Must-see places in Beijing:

Visiting Forbidden City Museum you must prepare for a visitors’ fiver over in the exhibition rooms. In Silver & Gold section it was madness! It was actually insane to watch them crowding around each exhibit window.

Everything you need to know before visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing - Forbidden City

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Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!