How to Visit Ming Tombs in Beijing

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Ming Tombs Tourist Map from www.maps-of-china.net

Before we talk about how to visit Ming Tombs, people are more interested in knowing whether Ming Tombs are worth visiting. Well, as far as I know, people are quite divided on this. Some dislike; some feel they are ok and others say they are a must see. So different people with different cultural and social backgrounds have their own different opinions on the question.

For many visitors, the visiting of Ming Tombs is not as important as that of Forbidden City, Summer Palace and the Great Wall of China. It is not worth a separate trip. But in my opinion, generally it is quite worth having a glimpse on a combined journey to or back from the Great Wall since the location of Ming Tombs is quite accessible on the way to the bits of the Great Wall of China – Juyongguan, Badaling and Mutianyu.

Of course, their accessibility is not the only reason for being worth visiting. Listed as UNESCO world cultural heritage, Ming Tombs provide people a kind of real experience. That tells why this place is a popular place for native Chinese, especially those who are attracted by history.

If you are going to visit the Tombs, then how to visit them? What homework you should do before you come close to them? Maybe the following Ming Tombs travel tips will be useful for you:

Tip # 01: Grab some basic knowledge of the 13 Tombs in Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644)

Ming Tombs are about 13 tombs in Ming Dynasty where 13 out of 16 emperors in Ming Dynasty were buried successively there. There were totally 16 emperors in Ming Dynasty.

Why 13 emperors were buried there?  Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty was buried in the Xiaoling Mausoleum in Nanjing; Zhu Yunwen, the Emperor Jianwen disappeared and Zhu Qiyu, the Emperor Jingtai was buried at Jinshan Hill in the western suburbs of Beijing. All other 13 Ming Emperors were buried in this tomb area, hence the area popularly being called the 13 Ming Tombs.

Of all the 13 Ming Tombs, at present only 3 Ming Tombs are open to the public, namely Dingling, Changling and Zhaoling ( “ling” literally means “Tomb” in Chinese). So before you are going to visit Ming Tombs, you’d better know which of the 3 tombs you should visit, which are located separately quite a distance. The three tombs are also a little different in terms of ticket prices and value.

Of the 3 Ming Tombs opened to the public, only Dingling ( often called Underground Palace) has been excavated. There is down a long staircase into a chamber with some stone thrones and a few large plain red boxes which are the burial caskets in the so called underground palace.

Tip # 02: Of the 3 tombs, which one you should visit?
Because all the 3 tombs are located separately quite a distance, usually you only have time to visit one of the three tombs. So which one? If you have no problem with your knees and feet, and are fairly good at walking, you are advised to visit Dingling – the underground Palace.

You have a long walk from the Dingling Entrance before you get to the Tomb itself, where you walk 8 flights of stairs down. The walk to the tomb can be hard and long during high season, but normally takes about 15 minutes.

If you are wheelchair users or have some difficulty in walking, just forget Dingling, and choose Changling instead. Changling is the largest tomb of all the 13 Ming Tombs. Changling is the tomb where buried the Third Emperor Zhu Di with his queen Nee Xu. Changling is not excavated. But its grand hall on the ground is worth visiting. The construction of the hall started in 1409 and finished in 1427. As for Zhaoling, you can simply skip it since it is almost  renovated.

The Dingling Tomb

The Dingling Tomb

Tip # 03: Sacred Way is highly recommended

For me, the best part of Ming Tombs tour is the walk down Sacred Way which is lined with large statues that are several hundred years old. These are huge statues of lions, camels, elephants, etc, and they are located on both sides of the walkway.

The Sacred Way is part of the Ming Tombs complex. Sacred Way means the road leading to heaven. The Emperor, known as the Son of the Heaven, who descended from Heaven to his country through the Sacred Road, also would return to Heaven through this way.

Sacred Way

Sacred Way

 

Tip # 04: How to get there and admission fees

Sacred and Ming Tombs are located in Changping District, about 50km north of Beijing.

Entrance Fees:

Changling Tomb: RMB 30 (November.01 – March. 31); RMB 45 (April. 01 – October. 31)  Dingling Tomb:  RMB 40 (November.01 – March. 31); RMB 60 (April. 01 – October. 31)  Zhaoling Tombe: RMB 20 (November.01 – Machr. 31); RMB 30 (April. 01 – Oct. 31)

Sacred Way: RMB 20/30)

Opening Hours:

Changling Tomb: 08:30 – 17:30  Dingling Tomb: 08:30 – 18:00  Zhaoling Tomb  8:30 – 17:30

Sacred Way: 8:30 – 18:00

Tickets stop selling about half a hours before the tombs are closed.

Tip # 05  Bus 872  Deshengmen Bus Terminal scheduled for Ming Tombs
The Bus 872 starts from Deshengmen Bus Station which is located on the north square of Deshengmen Arrow Tower (德胜们箭楼) lying on the mid-way of the northern second ring road. It is worth getting up earlier to catch an early morning Bus 872 for Ming Tombs.

How to  go to Deshengmen Bus Terminal
Several buses can bring you to the Deshengmen Bus Station. But the bus system in Beijing could be daunting even for the local Beijingers. It is advisable to take the Subway Line 2 to reach Deshengmen Bus Station. The the closest subway station to Deshengmen Bus Station is Jishuitan (积水潭) of the loop-type Subway Line 2.

You get off at the station of Jishuitan (积水潭), exit from the Exit A. Then walk along the sideway in the east direction for about 450 meters, soon you will see a high tower – the Deshengmen Arrow Tower. Deshengmen Bus Station is just below the northern side of the tower. The compound of Deshengmen Arrow Tower is within a roundabout. So you have to cross a road to reach the bus station. You have to be careful crossing the road since the road has no traffic light at the time of my writing.

By the way, on your 450-meter walk from the subway station of Jishuitan to the Deshengmen Arrow Tower, you will pass alongside the Deshengmenxi Bus Station (different from Deshengmen Bus Station) and you just ignore it! You will be also distracted by some privately owned buses or mini-buses operated in the name of official Badaling-bound buses. We strongly suggest you take the official buses within the Deshengmen Bus Station for safety and reasonable price.

Don’t be surprised if you find the queue in front of the bus 872, especially on the weekends or national public holidays.

Bus 872 is below the west side of Deshengmen Tower

Bus 872 for Ming Tombs (昌平十三陵)
Bus Fare: RMB 8
The first Bus: 6:00am;
The last bus: 6:30pm
Tel: 63360283

Bus 772 for Ming Tombs

Bus 872 for Ming Tombs

Tip # 06 How to plan your Ming Tombs Tour?

It is better to incorporate your Ming Tombs into a journey covering other tourist attractions also. How to incorporate? Usually Summer Palace can be combined with Ming Tombs trip on a one day tour in Beijing. The most common is blended with the trip to one of the sections of Great Wall of China – Juyongguan Great Wall, Badaling Great Wall or Mutuanyu Great Wall on an a day trip in Beijiong.

Tip # 06: Avoid Public Holiday and Weekend

For local Chinese, Ming Tombs are just as important as Forbidden City and Summer Palace, never missed on their trip to Beijing. On weekend, especially during the public holidays, Ming Tombs can be very crowded! Take greater precaution when you go down the 8 staircases to the underground palace at Dingling Tomb.

Tip # 7:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Beijing guided tours:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Any questions, just drop line.

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36 Responses to “How to Visit Ming Tombs in Beijing”

  1. Teresa L. Aaron says:

    I am hopefully going to be having a layover in China in Dec. I want to see the Geat Wall. The Mutuanyu section of it. The layover will be 21 hours. How much will I pay in US money for two people to take the bus to the wall and how long will it take? How do I catch a bus to the Great Wall form the airort. That would be Beijing Int’l.

  2. admin says:

    At the moment, we don’t offer Geat Wall bus tour directly from Beijing airport to Mutianyu Great wall. But we do offer a private layover tour from Beijing airport to Mutianyu Great Wall. Please check http://www.tour-beijing.com/short-tours/ for more information. For booking enquiry or booking, please send your request to info@tour-beijing.com. Thanks!

  3. Eu Jun says:

    How can i get to Ming Tombs from Badaling Great Wall?

  4. admin says:

    Hello Eu Jun,

    It is better to hire a car or take a taxi from Badaling Great Wall to the Ming Tombs, it is very time-consuming to take a public bus from Badaling to the Ming Tombs. If you prefer to use a public bus, you should walk about 370m to the Badaling Bus Station of Bus No.919 and get off at the next station of South Madian Bridge (马甸桥南站), then walk about 430m to the South Madian Bridge Bus Station (马甸桥南站) of Bus 872, take the bus 872 and get off at the stop of Dagongmen (大宫门站), then walk 250m to the Ming Tombs.

  5. Eu Jun says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply. I have 2 more questions.

    1). How much will it cost to take a taxi from Badaling to Ming Tombs?

    2). Where can i get legal taxi at Badaling?

    3). How do i get back to Beijing from Ming Tombs? By cab also?

  6. admin says:

    Hello Eu Jun,

    1. You are right, it is not easy to hail a legal taxi at Badaling and it is not worth taking a taxi from Badaling to the Ming Tombs either. A legal taxi costs you about RMB120 (37km), but I think the taxi driver will ask for more money simply because he has to return Badaling empty. You may use Bus 919 at Badaling and ask your bus driver to drop you off at Changping (昌平), then from Changping to take bus 872 to the Ming Tombs, or take a local taxi from Changping to the Mings (about RMB25).

    When you finish your Ming Tombs tour, just take bus 872 and back to the city at the Deshengmen Bus Terminal (德胜门)on the north secong ring road. Please remember Bus 872 runs directly from Deshengmen to the Ming Tombs.

    Check http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/travel-review/badaling-great-wall-bus/ for more information.

  7. Polly says:

    How long should I go and visit the ming tombs?

  8. Daniel says:

    hello Polly,

    To visit the tomb itself basically takes about 1-2 hour. The traveling time from the city center of Beijing to the tomb depends on the way of transportation you use. Have a good time.

  9. Jorge says:

    Hello,
    I wanted to ask you if it is possible to take a taxi or a bus from the mutianyu part of the great wall to the tombs? Also what the price of the trip would be, as well as for a trip back to beijing from the tombs?

  10. Daniel says:

    Hello Jorge,

    There are no direct public bus lines linking Mutianyu Great Wall and the Ming Tombs. You have to take three complicated bus lines which take about 3-4 hours, not recommended! Most of the taxis in Mutianyu Great Wall are charted taxis coming from Beijing downtown. It is not easy to hail a legal taxi in Mutianyu.

    Organized Ming Tombs and Mutianyu Great Wall Bus Tour ( with 2 shopping stops)
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/coach_tours/mutianyu_and_sacred_way_tour.php

    Private day tour of Ming Tombs and Mutianyu Great Wal
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/beijing_day_tour/mutianyu_great_wall_ming_tombs.php

  11. Eu Jun says:

    Hi,

    Im planning to visit Summer Palace and Mings Tomb in a day as recommended by you. Could you advise me the followings

    1). Should i visit Summer Palace first and then Mings Tomb or vice versa?

    2). With the question 1 answer, could you advise me how can i get to these 2 places by public transport and then back to Beijing town?

  12. Daniel says:

    Hello Eu Jun,

    Basically, people would first visit Ming Tombs, then Summer Palace.

    You may first take bus 872 for Ming Tombs from Deshengmen Bus Terminal, the same bus terminal for Badaling Great Wall ( Bus 877). Then take the same bus back to Deshengmen Bus Terminal. Then take subway from the subway station near Deshengmen and interchange for the subway for Summer Palace. Please check the three useful links below for more transportation informtion:

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/travel-review/badaling-great-wall-bus/

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/how-to-visit-ming-tombs-in-beijing/

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/tips-for-visiting-summer-palace/

  13. Nicole says:

    How do I go to Badaling Great Wall or JuYong guan great wall from Ming tomb?

  14. Daniel says:

    Hello Nicole,

    Basically it is not convenient to visit these two sights by public bus. Basaically it is better to hire a car or van for an easy tour linking the two sights.

  15. Jason says:

    Hi

    I am arriving next month into the city for a layover for only a day but want to visit the Great Wall. Is there a part of the wall Better to visit or is it based on whichever is closest to the city. I saw another person ask about a certain region of the wall and would like to see the best one

    Thanks

  16. Daniel says:

    Hello Jason,

    Please see the following two links for more information:

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/short-tours/

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/great_wall/

    If you need any travel service, please email us at info (a) tour-beijing.com . Thanks!

  17. shinta says:

    Hi. I stay at Tianjin. For that cases, would you tell me which is better; 1. Come to Beijing Train Station first, then take taxi to Ming Tomb, or, 2. Rent car directly from Tianjin to Ming Tomb? Thank you very much!

  18. Daniel says:

    Hello Shinta,

    Most people would choose take the highspeed train from Tianjin to Beijing ( half hour ) and take a taxi from Beijing South Railway Station to the Ming Tombs.

  19. Michelle says:

    Hello, i will visit Beijing in the near day. so i want to know,

    1) how to go from Badaling to the Ming Tombs and how much will it cost if i use the public transportation like bus?

    2) how to reach the Ding Tomb once you arrived at the Ming Tombs?

    3) how to go back from Ming Tomb to Beijing if i want to take the train to go back to Beijing?

    Thanks before 🙂

  20. Daniel says:

    Hello Michelle,

    You may take Bus 872 from Deshengmen Bus Terminal,the same bus terminal as the Bus 877 for Badaling Great Wall

    Bus No.872 to:
    Ming Tombs (昌平十三陵)
    Bus Fare: RMB 8
    The first Bus: 6:00am;
    The last bus: 6:30pm
    Tel: 63360283

    I think the bus 872 goes directly to Ding Tomb or you may ask the driver for the direction.

    Please check the link http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/travel-review/badaling-great-wall-bus/ as how to get to the Deshengmen Bus Terminal ( same bus terminal as Bus 877 for Badaling Great Wall.

  21. Roger says:

    Hi

    We have an unexpected extended time in Beijing. We have already visited a majority of the the recommended sites including the Summer Palace and the Great Wall. I am considering visiting the Sacred Way and Dingling Tomb. We are staying near Dengshikou subway station on Line 5. How can we get to the tomb and sacred way from here? How long will it take. We are hoping to go tomorrow so would appreciate a quick response. Thanks.

  22. Daniel says:

    Hello Roger,

    Go to Deshengmen Bus Terminal to take Bus 872 for Ming Tombs. Bus 872 and 877 ( for Badaling Great Wall ) share the same Deshengmen Bus Terminal.For how to get to Deshengmen Bus Terminal, please check out the link below:

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/travel-review/badaling-great-wall-bus/

  23. Nelson says:

    Hello,

    I am planning to go to both Ming Tombs and Summer Palace in one day. How long do you think it will take for each place if I visit everything?

    Is there a way to get to both without having to return to Beijing and taking a subway to Summer Palace?

    Kind regards,

    Nelson.

  24. Daniel says:

    Hello Nelson.

    People usually spend 2 hours visiting Summer Palace and one half hours on Dingling ( one of the Ming Tombs). You may take subway to visit Summer Palace and take bus 872 from Deshengmen Bus Teriminal to Ming Tombs.

    How to visit Summer Palace
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/beijing-travel/tips-for-visiting-summer-palace/

  25. Jenny says:

    Hi Nelson,

    I’m wondering if it is possible to visit both Dingling and Changling and the Scared Way in one day?

    Also after visiting the Dingling, do I need to go back to the Bus 872 to go to Changling?

    Also how should I incorporate the Scared Way?

    What’s the sequence of visiting these three?

    Thanks!

  26. Daniel says:

    Hello Jenny,

    1. First, you take Bus 872 and get off at the 10th stop of Huzhuang in Changping District ( 昌平胡庄站), and walk about 180 meters for Sacred Way.
    The bus takes about 2 hours ( over 40 km )

    2. After finishing your visit in Sacred Way, continue to take Bus 872, or Bus 879 from Sacred Way and get off at the 4th stop of Changling (长陵), then walk about 320 meters to reach Changling Tomb Museum.
    The bus takes about half hours ( 6.7 km )

    3. At the end of your Changling tour, you may take Bus 872,or Bus 879 from Changling and get off at the next stop of Dingling Tomb Museum.
    The bus takes about half hour ( 3.1 km ).

    Have a great time in the Ming Tombs area!

  27. Ganesan says:

    I am staying Near wangfujing and would be by travelling by car, and i want to visit ming tombs. I have to be back to the hotel Maximum by 2. Can you suggest anything to do along with ming tombs? I dont mind lookig around some shopping place or tian tan. Or is it possible to cover changling and dingling at the same time? Will it be very strenuous?

  28. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Ganesan,

    I think it is a good idea to put Dingling and Changling together, not very strenuous. They are close to each other. And Changling has no unearthed underground chambers, easy to visit. Have a good time!

  29. Les says:

    I am planning a day trip to the Ming Tombs the middle of next month so I am exploring transportation options. Is the shuttle bus from the Ming Tombs subway stop running yet? If not, is it possible to take a taxi from the subway stop to Changling? And, finally, if I do take a taxi to Changling, how hard or easy is it to find a taxi back to the subway? Thank you, in advance!

  30. Daniel says:

    Hi Les,

    Basically, you can take the bus no 872. No subway yet to the Ming Tombs.

  31. Ruby says:

    Hi,

    on the the 25th of December, we have a free time to see other areas. We wanted to see Dingling, Summer Palace and Sacred way. Our flight back to the Philippines is on Dec 26, 1:00 am. We are coming from City Inn Hotel, Vechio Plaza. Xiao wu ji North Rd East 4th Ring Rd area. what bus to take to and where and how. Please advice. We want to go straight to the airport after by subway or bus? Thank you so much for helping.

  32. Daniel says:

    Hi Ruby,

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    You may first take bus 872 at Deshengmen Bus Station and get off at the 8th stop of Nanxincun (南新村)to visit the Sacred way. After Sacred way, back to the stop of Nanxincun (南新村) and continue to take the Bus 872 and get off the last stop of Dingling Tomb (定陵),the only excavated tomb of the 13 imperial tombs. Back to Deshengmen Bus Station.

    Deshengmen Bus Station is located on the north square of Deshengmen Arrow Tower (德胜们箭楼) lying on the mid-way of the northern second ring road.

    From Deshengmen Bus Station, you take Sightseeing Bus No.3 going for Summer Palace ( the north gate ).

    Check out Top 10 Tourist Scams below, just in case:
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/china-travel/tourist-traps-in-china/top-10-tourist-scams-beijing

    Have a nice time!

  33. ipflo says:

    hi,

    We want to visit the summer palace and the Ming tombs on one day: would you recommend any tours? Or is this doable on your own?

    Should we combine it with the great wall at Badaling or is that too much on one day?

    What would you recommend?

    Merry Christmas and happy New Year

    Kind regards,

    ipflo

  34. Daniel says:

    Hi Ipflo,

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Yes, too much if you add the great wall Badaling using the time-consuming pubic bus service.

    Three choices for your reference:

    1. Hire a car with driver and start early to cover the three places in one day ( Badaling, Dingling Tomb and Summer Palaces).

    2. Using the public bus to visit Ming Tombs (Dingling ), back and visit Summer Palace.

    3. Buy a day tour from a local travel agency to cover Mutianyu Great Wall and Ming Tombs (Dingling). See the day tour below:
    http://www.tour-beijing.com/coach_tours/mutianyu_and_sacred_way_tour.php

    Pros and Cons for each choice, you decide which to choose.

    Have a nice time in Beijing!

  35. May says:

    I will be in Beijing next month and will be staying beside the Forbidden City. What is the best way to get to Ming Tombs from that area? Is it easy to get a taxi back to the city from the Ming Tombs?

  36. Daniel says:

    Hi May,

    1. Use public bus 872 to go to Ming Tombs: Try to take subway way or taxi to reachDeshengmen Bus Terminal. The Bus 872 starts from Deshengmen Bus Station which is located on the north square of Deshengmen Arrow Tower (德胜们箭楼) lying on the mid-way of the northern second ring road. It is worth getting up earlier to catch an early morning Bus 872 for Ming Tombs.

    2. Taxi
    You can hire a taxi for a roundtrip transfer with waiting time on Ming Tombs.

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