Archive for the ‘Beijing Attractions’ Category

Tips for Visiting the Temple of Heaven

Friday, September 16th, 2022
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Dear Travellers,

We’d like to have the following quick guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors visiting the Temple of Heaven ( Tiantan 天坛) in Beijing.

If you have any questions or anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

Temple of Heaven Map www.willgoto.com

Plan your Beijing tour? Temple of Heaven is a big draw in Beijing. The name of the Temple of Heaven is a little misleading. It is more than just a temple, it is a huge park as well.

Inside the huge park, there is a lovely temple complex, which is composed of three main parts – Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests Imperial Vault of Heaven and Circular Mound Altar sitting along an axis from south to north.

The Temple of Heaven is called ‘Tiantan Park’ ( 天坛公园) in Chinese, literally meaning ‘Temple of Heaven Park”. It was first constructed in 1420, the 18th year of the reign of Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) emperor Yongle. It was the place where the emperors of the Ming Dynasty and and later Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1912) would worship the god of heaven and pray for good harvest.

Tip 1: Get up early to feel the local vibes in the park

Though everyday the temple and historical buildings within the park are open to the public basically from 8:00 till 17:00 ( subject to change due to different seasons), the park itself opens a bit earlier at 6:00 and closes at 22:00 ( again subject to change due to the seasons). Many local people have annual passes for easy access to the park.

An old man writing Chinese calligraphy with a big brush dipped in water

Getting there about 7:00 or 7:30am, especially on a Sunday morning, you will see local people, most of them are middle-aged or seniors doing various kinds of light physical activity you can imagine, like singing, dancing, playing instruments, playing chess, practicing kung fu, tai chi… After 9:30 a.m. it will be slammed with group tourists.

Tai Chi


Check out: Morning Stroll in Temple of Heaven for more information.

Tip 2: ABC of the historical buildings in the park

Be prepared for a guidebook or hire a Beijing Tour Guide for your lifetime trip to the temple complex in the park. Three historical buildings are not missed from north to south, namely the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and Circular Mound Altar.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests:

where the emperors sacrificed animals and burned incense sticks to pray for good weather for the crops.

the Hall of Pray for Harvest above the Wall

The Imperial Vault of Heaven: 

A single gabled circular building, built on a single level of marble stone base. It is located south of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest.

Inside the compound, a circular wall, an echo wall where you can whisper something from one end and the voice will transmit to the other end.

Imperial Vault of Heaven under the sunset glow

Circular Mound Altar

 Used to worship Heaven at the winter solstice where the principal construction is a large round marble terrace named the Circular Mound.

The distant view of the Circular Mound Altar under the sunset glow

Tip 03: Don’t miss the Cypress Grove

Always keep in mind that here is a huge park, a huge garden. Old cypress trees are worth having a close look.

Some of the cypresses are more than 600 years old. Dr Henry Kissinger, when he visited the temple, stated that while the USA could recreate the Temple of Heaven if it desired, it could not create the trees!

the Cypress Grove

Tip 4: Choose the right entrance

Originally the Temple of Heaven had only one main gate, which faced west, but after it was made a public park in 1949, entrances were also opened on the northern, southern and eastern sides.

So now it mainly has four gates – East, South, West and North. Both East Gate and South Gate are highly recommended.

East Gate:

If you want to see the local people engaged in all kinds of morning activities, you are advised to enter the east gate since most of the morning activities are carried out around the east gate area.

The East Gate entrance is also close to the subway line 05. If you enter the east gate, then your walking itinerary would be east gate – long corridor – The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest – The Imperial Vault of Heaven – Circular Mound Altar – South Gate.

After your north – south tour of the temple, you may turn back and go out of the east gate again and head to the Hongqiao Market across the road.

South Gate:

Start your tour by entering the south gate, then walk along the central way to visit Circular Mound Altar – the Imperial Vault of Heaven, the Hall of Prayer for Harvest – Long Corridor – North Gate or East Gate (Hongqiao Market).

Tip 5: How to get to the Temple of Heaven

If you visit the Temple of Heaven through the east gate, you take subway line 5 to Tiantan Dongmen Station (East Gate of Temple of Heaven) and then take exit A, close to the East Gate entrance to Temple of Heaven. For the public buses to the east gate, you may try bus 6, 35, 36, 39, 41, 43…

If you use south gate, you also can take a taxi or take bus 36, 120, 122, 800, 803, 958

Address for Temple of Heaven:
No. 7, Dongli, Tiantan Nei, Dongcheng District, Beijing Zip code: 100061
Telephone: 010-67012483 (daytime)
010-67013036 (night)

Tip 6: Opening time for the buildings and the park itself

Peak season : ( April 01- October 31 each year)
Off season : ( November 01 to March 31 of the following year )

The Park opening time
Peak season opening hours: 6:00-21:00
Off-season opening hours: 6:30-21:00
Park clearance : at 22:00

Opening time for the historical buildings inside the park
(mainly the Imperial Vault of Heaven, the Circular Mound Altar, the Imperial Vault of Heaven)
Peak season opening time: 8:00-17:30
Off-season opening time: 8:00-17:00
also including the North God cook, the North slaughtering house, the Fast House and Divine Music Administration (神乐署中和韶乐)inside the park.

The sights above are closed on Mondays (except public holidays).

Tip 7: Entrance tickets at Temple of Heaven

Basically there are two kinds of entrance tickets – Entrance ticket for the park only and through tickets for entering the park as well the three main historical buildings within the park.

Entrance Ticket:  An entrance ticket charges RMB 15 (April – November) and RMB 10 (December – March). With the ticket, you can get into the park, see local people do morning exercises and have an outside look at the historical buildings in the park as well.

Through Ticket: The ticket charges RMB 34 (April – November) and RMB 28 (December – March). With a through ticket, you can enter the park and go to visit the three areas in the park – Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, The Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar.

Notice:
1. The ticket for Divine Music Administration inside the park:10 yuan ( a separate ticket)
2. During the present pandemic period, people are requested to use Wechat App to book the tickets online. If you are not able to use Wechat, the park staff will help you use the app. If still that doesn’t work, you are still allowed to buy your tickets on the spot.

Tip 8: Self-guided audio & in-person tour guides

Self-guided audio service

  1. Location: four gate areas;
  2. Time: 8:00 — 17:00;
  3. Language: Chinese, Cantonese, English, Japanese, Korean, French, German and Spanish;
  4. Rent fee:
    A) For Chinese, the deposit is 100 yuan, which will be returned to the tourist when the machine is replaced. The rent for the machine is 10 yuan.
    B) For other languages: 100 yuan deposit, return to the tourist when returning the machine; The rent for the machine is 40 yuan.

In-person tour guides

  1. Location: South gate of the park;
  2. Time: 8:00 — 17:00;
  3. Language: Chinese and English;
  4. Fees:
    A)100 yuan for five Chinese speakers ( including few than five) ; 200 yuan for more than five people.
    B.) There will be an extra charge of 50 yuan for the English speakers.
  5. Tips: The tour guide should be booked two days in advance; Contact number: 67028866 ( Tour Guide Team)

Tip 9: Dress for the Hot Weather

Though there are many trees in the park, all the trees are lined on the both sides of the north-south axis. So no single tree on your axis trip – Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound.

For summer time, be ready to bring an umbrella for sun protection, bottles of water, and comfy walking shoes. Check Beijing Climate for more information.

Tip 10: Wear Comfortable Shoes

The park is so huge.  You are advised to wear your most comfortable shoes. It’s a long walk!

Tip 11: 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:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Tour
China City Tours
China Tour

Chinese version of the travel guide

如何坐地铁去参观天坛

Further Readings


Morning Stroll in Temple of Heaven
Sunset Glow over Temple of Heaven
Zhonghe Shaoyue at Temple of Heaven
Tips for Visiting Tiananmen Square
Tips for visiting Summer Palace
Forbidden City Travel Tips – The Palace Museum Travel Tips

Tips for Visiting the Great Wall of China around Beijing
How to Visit Ming Tombs in Beijing
How to visit Beihai Park Beijing
How to visit Shichahai
How to visit Bird’s Nest and Water Cube
How to visit CCTV Tower in Beijing
How to Visit National Grand Theatre in Beijing
Top 10 Most Romantic Places in Beijing
How to Enjoy Beijing Nightlife
Top 10 Beijing Souvenirs
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing

Any questions, just drop a line.


How to visit Summer Palace (Tips, Photos & Map)

Thursday, September 15th, 2022
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Plan your Beijing Tour? Summer Palace was a royal palace in later Qing Dynasty, only secondary to Forbidden City ( now the Palace Museum ).

Summer Palace is actually not just a royal palace where once Princess Dowager Cixi and the emperors lived and handled court affairs in later Qing Dynasty, accepted laudation and received foreign diplomats during their stay in Summer Palace.

It also epitomizes classical Chinese architecture, in terms of both garden design and construction. It is the largest royal garden in Beijing, now a good retreat for holiday makers.

Summer Palace Tourist map from willgoto.com

Tip # 01: How to schedule your visit

Normally it takes about 2 or3 hours to walk around Summer Palace itself. With your time on the city transportation included, you are advised to allocate at least half a day for visiting Summer Palace. Summer Palace presents itself with different views for different seasons.

Winter sees people skiing on the Kunming Lake; spring time finds people breathe under fresh trees and flowers; summer time often sees Summer Palace set in a foggy day like a beautiful “water and mountain” Chinese scroll painting and Autumn is the best time walking around Summer Palace, clear and blue sky with comfortable weather.

Tip # 02: How to get to Summer Palace

Add: 19 Xinjian Gongmen Road, Haidian District, Beijing 北京市海淀区新建宫门路19号
Tel: 62881144 Fax : 62881077

Tiananmen Square – Summer Palace 40-minute by drive

Summer Palace has three major entry gates
1) East Gate ( Main Gate ), also called “East Palace Gate” 东宫门
2) North Gate, also called “Beigongmen, or North Palace Gate” 北宫门
3) South Gate, also known as “New Palace Gate” 新建宫门

By Subway
1. Subway Line 4:
Take subway line 4 to the northwest direction and get off at the last but one station — Beigongmen Station ( or North Gate 北宫门) and exit from Exit D and walk to the west, soon you will see the north gate ( Beigongmen Gate )to Summer Palace 颐和园 (entrance fee: RMB30) on your left side.

2. Subway Line 10
Take subway line 10 to Bagou station at the end of Line 10, and then get a taxi from outside the station to the South Gate, or also known as New Palace Gate (新建宫门). Or you may just walk for about 1.5km from Bagou Station to the New Palace Gate.

Get off Bagou Station, follow your nose, you will meet a river, then turn right and walk along the river bank till the New Palace Gate of Summer Palace.

If confused upon which way to go upon leaving the subway, just follow the crowd.

Public Bus:
Buses via the East Gate ( Main Gate) to the Summer Palace (颐和园正门, 东宫门)Bus 330、331、332、346、394、712、718、726、732、737、801、808、817、826

Buses via the North Gate to the Summer Palace (北宫门)Bus 303、330、331、346、375、384、393、634、716、718、737、801、808、817、834、Express 5

Buses via New Palace Gate ( or South Gate) to the Summer Palace (新建宫门)Bus 374、437、481、952、704、992

Taxi Fare
A taxi from Beijing city center will cost about RMB 80 and take about 40 minutes without much traffic.

As you finish your tour and exit, you will find some taxi drivers are reluctant or even refuse to use the meter, only do a set rate, and most don’t want to go all the way back to Beijing towntown at all, so this can be troublesome.

Tip # 03: Opening Time:

High Season (From April 1 to Oct. 31)
Open: 6:00
Tickets stop selling at 19:00;
Close: 20:00

Low Season (From Nov. 1 to Mar. 31 next year)
Open: 6:30
Tickets stop selling at 18:00;
Close: 19:00

Tip # 04: Buy a correct entrance ticket

Three kinds of tickets
1) Entrance ticket for the huge park itself.
2) Combo ticket both for the park and also for the pay attractions inside the park.
3) Free Tickets: Foreign tourists aged 60 or above can exchange tickets with their passports; Children under the age of 6 (including 6 years old) or under the height of 1.2 meters (including 1.2 meters) with valid documents are free of charge.

Note: also the ticket prices are divided onto two categories – Low Season ad Peak Season.

Summer Palace Admission
30 yuan (peak season)
20 yuan (off-season)

Summer Palace Combo ticket
60 Yuan (peak season)
50 yuan (off-season)

The pay attractions inside the park: 5 yuan for De He Garden; Wenchang Hospital 20 yuan; 10 yuan for Foxiang Pavilion; 10 yuan for Suzhou Street

Note:
1. Combo tickets include both the entrance and the inside pay attractions
2. You are advised to buy entrance tickets instead of combo-tickets.
3. Once you enter the park of Summer Palace and are also interested in some of the paid attractions inside the park.
4. you may purchase a separate admission ticket one by one on the spot.
5. Students enjoy half prices.
6 Children under 1.2m high are free of charge.
7. Basically there is no limit to the purchase of entrance tickets due to the fact that the park is sprawling and spacious.

Tip # 05: Tips for People with Walking Difficulty

Summer Palace is a huge landscape park. If you can’t walk too far, or have some walking difficulty, you can hire a wheelchair free of charge from your entrance gate with a deposit of 500 yuan.

Alternatively, you can take the boat from the marble boat after walking along the long corridor and back to New Palace Gate if you enter the park through the gate. And you don’t have to retrace.

All the toilets in Summer Palace are are equipped with wheelchair accessible facilities.

Tip # 06: English-speaking tour guides in Summer Palace

As for English-speaking tour guides in Summer Palace, you have the following three choices:

1. Hire the official tour guides attached to Summer Palace at East Palace Gate (the main gate) 东宫门.
2. Hire recorded audio guides at any of the three major gates to Summer Palace. You can return the audio guide at any gates.
3. There are some self-employed English-speaking tour guides by the entrance gates who will actively come up to you and ask you to buy their service. Not advised to use their service.

Inquiry:010-62881144, ext 6618

Summer Palace offers English guide , the price are listed below:

180 yuan, an hour and a half

240 yuan, two hours

320 yuan , two hours and a half

within five people , include five peoples ; for each travel group plus one people , pay 10 yuan extra.

Tip # 07: Choose the right entrance gate and tour route

So there are three main entrances to Summer Palace – East Palace Gate (the main gate), North Palace Gate ( North Gate )  and New Palace Gate (south gate).

You should get to know the gate you will go through, especially when you take a taxi or bus. Entering Summer Palace via the different three gates, you will have three different tour routes visiting Summer Palace.

Three Visiting Routes starting from the three gates:
Starting from New Palace Gate  ( South Gate):
Walk north along East Dyke – the former Court Area (the East Palace Gate, the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity…) – Long Corridor – Longevity Hill – Marble Boat – Ferry Boat  and back to New Palace Gate (loop line).

Starting from East Palace Gate ( Main Gate)
Walk from East Palace Gate: the former Court Area (the East Palace Gate, the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity…) – Long Corridor – Longevity Hill – Marble Boat – Ferry Boat – New Palace Gate ( South Gate )

Starting from North Palace Gate ( North Gate):
Walking from North Palace Gate: Suzhou Street – Marble Boat – Longevity Hill – Long Corridor – the former court area – East Palace Gate ( Main Gate).

Kunming Lake
Kunming Lake viewed from Longevity Hill in Summer Palace

 Tip # 08: Boating on Kunming Lake

Taking a boat ride starting from the Marble Boat across the lake and pass by the beautiful 17-Arch Bridge is a fun way to have more stunning views.

Ferry Boat Ride:30 yuan (Between Marble Boat and Bronze Cattle Dock)
Operating Time: 8:30 – 16:30

Pleasure Boats ( rowing on the lake): 60 yuan per boat per hour with 400 yuan as deposit) , a kind of paddle boat ( Max 4 people)
Operating Time: 8:30 – 16:30

Boat Ride on Kunming Lake

Tip # 09: Familiar with its 3-part layout

The three tour routes are centered around the three main parts in Summer Palace:

The Former Court Area
A royal palace where once Princess Dowager Cixi and the emperor lived and handled court affairs, accepted laudations and received foreign diplomats during their stay in the Summer Palace.

Long Corridor and Longevity Hill
The second part features the Long Corridor, the Hall of Dispelling Clouds, the Tower of Buddhist Incense, the Hall of the Sea of Wisdom, the Back Lake, the Suzhou Market and Longevity Hill.

Kunming Lake and Nanhu Isle
The last part is Kunming Lake, which consists of the Marble Boat, Nanhu Island, the Bronze Ox and the beautiful 17-Arch Bridge.

the beautiful 17-Arch Bridge.
People coming through the famous 17-arch bridge

Tip # 10: Prepare for a 2-3-hour outdoor sightseeing

Visiting Summer Palace needs a little bit strong legs with a lot walking since Summer Palace is huge. Dress for the hot or cold weather. The summer in Beijing could be humid and closed, sometimes extremely hot.

Also winter could be very cold. So well prepared for the uncomfortable weather both in winter and summer. You are advised to wear your most comfortable shoes.

It’s a long walk! Food choice in the complex is poor – typical fast food and snacks. So bring your own.

Tip # 11: Skating at Summer Palace

Plan your Beijing winter tour? Skating is one of Beijing’s traditional pastimes in winter.  There are a few lake-turned skate rinks with a total skating area of 1000,000 square meters in Beijing. 

Back to the starting point of the skating service center.

Summer Palace is  a big draw for first time visitors to Beijing. The Kunming Lake Skate Rink in Summer Palace is the largest in Beijing totaling 700,000 square meters. See Skating at Summer Palace for more information.

Tip # 12: Get to know the official notice to the visitors

1. No visitors are allowed to cross, climb, smoke, swim, skate, fish, spit, foul and litter and so on.
2. No visitors are allowed to camp, cook, fish, capture animals and dig plants inside.
3. No visitors are  allowed to paint and carve on the buildings, ground, stone, facility and tree, and to pick the flowers and spoil the lawn and trees.
4. The north of pavilion of Wenchang and the east of Jiehu Bridge are fist-level fire-proof non-smoking
5.  Expect for hand-powered wheelchairs and baby carriers used by the aged, the disabled, and children, any other vehicle are not allowed to enter without any permission.
6. The professional camera equipments are not allowed to use inside without any permission.
7. Without any permission, don’t perform, sing and make a noise so as to influence and disturb other visitors.|
8. The tour guides inside must have guide qualification.

Tip # 13:  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:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Beijing Winter Tour
Great Wall Tour
China City Tours
China Tour

Chinese version of the travel guide

颐和园旅游小贴士

Further Readings


Best Time to Visit Beijing
How to plan a trip to Beijing

Women Summer Dresses & Fashion Beijing, China
Winter Skating in Summer Palace.
Sunset over Summer Palace

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop line.


How to Visit Forbidden City (Tips, Photos & Map)

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022
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Dear Travellers,

We’d like to have the following quick guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors visiting the Forbidden City ( the Palace Museum) in Beijing.

If you have any questions or anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

____________

Plan your Beijing tours? Visiting the Forbidden City ( The Palace Museum ) is no doubt one of your travel highlights in Beijing.  Then how to buy your Forbidden City entry ticket? When to visit? Which gate to enter? What’s the visiting line? How to beat the crowds?

Here we have a quick guide for you to grab some basic travel tips for visiting Forbidden City.

Tip 01: Try to Avoid Weekends or Public Holidays

Forbidden City is a must see highlight for every first-time visitor to Beijing. Be ready for crowds of people visiting this complex. Try to avoid visiting Forbidden City on weekends or Chinese public holidays.

On these tourist peak days, the hoards of tourists are thick. Many tour groups ( most domestic ones) seem to aggregate and move about with banners, and colored caps.

Very often you have to elbow your way to see and take pictures. We recommend you come here either early in the morning or in the later afternoon ( not too late to be allowed to enter the museum ) to beat the crowds, enjoy the Forbidden City as it once is before the masses turn up and ruin your photo opportunities.

Tip 02:  The Right Gate to Forbidden City In & Out

There is just one main entrance to the Forbidden City, namely the southern gate, or Meridian Gate, also known as Wumen (午门)in Chinese. To the south of Forbidden City’s Southern Gate lie Tiananmen Tower and Tiananmen Square.

The entrance  to Forbidden City, namely the southern gate, or Meridian Gate

There is one main exit gate to the Forbidden City, namely the northern gate, or Gate of Divine Prowess , also known as Shenwu Men (神武门)in Chinese.

Kinder Reminder:
Basically you enter the Forbidden City from its southern gate and exit from its northern gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route. You cannot exit from the Southern Gate again; you cannot enter the Northern Gate either.

Tip 03: How to get to Forbidden City?

When we ask how to get to the Forbidden City, we very often mean how we can get to the southern gate to the Forbidden City since basically we are supposed to enter the Forbidden City from its south main gate and exit from its north main gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route.

To the south of the Forbidden City’s southern gate lie the Tiananmen Square, the National Museum of China, the Great Hall of the People ( Chinese parliament), The National Centre for the Performing Arts (the Giant Egg), and Qiamen Street.

So if you have half a day available for your trip to the Forbidden City which basically takes about 2 hours, you may add some of the sights nearby to enhance your Beijing experience.

By Bus:
Arriving at Tiananmen East Station, take bus number:1, 120, 2, 52, 82, Night 1, Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus 1, and Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus 2.

Arriving at Tiananmen West Station, take 1, 120, 2, 52, 82, Night 1, Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus 1, and Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus 2.

Walking to the Southern Gate from the south via Tiananmen Square under the famous Mao portrait.

By Subway ( going to the south gate ):
Metro Line 1: drop off at Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East Station, walk north through the Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace), and then you’ll find the Meridian Gate (south gate) to the Forbidden City.

Parking for Private Car:
The Palace Museum does not have a dedicated parking lot. The nearest public parking lots are just outside Donghua Gate and Jingshan Back Street. The nearby parking is quite limited. Visitors are advised to take public transportation to visit the Palace Museum.

Tip 04: Entry Ticket Information

The Palace Museum has cancelled on-site ticket sales. Instead you need to have online real-name ticket purchases.

Tickets are to be sold 10 days in advance until sold out. Tickets can be booked online at Forbidden City ticketing, or through the Forbidden City’s official booking page: https://gugong.ktmtech.cn/ ( only in Chinese).

Only one ticket per certificate (ID/passport) per day of admission is allowed.
On the day of visit, you can be admitted Forbidden City directly with your ID card or the original household register at any ticket gate. There is no need to exchange paper tickets.

People who buy tickets together on the Internet must check in at the same time and must not check in separately.

Gate of Supreme Harmony inside Forbidden City

April 1st – October 31 ( 8:30 – 17:00 )
Last Entry at 16:10
Tickets sold until 16:00
Entrance ticket:RMB 60

November 1st – March 31 (8:30 – 16:30)
Last Entry at 15:40
Tickets sold until 15:30
Entrance Ticket: RMB 40

There are some exhibits within the complex that require additional tickets to get access to the inside paid sights such as the Treasure Gallery and the Clock and Watch Gallery.

Treasure Gallery : RMB 10;
Clock and Watch Gallery: RMB 10

Note:
1. Forbidden City is closed for the entire day every Monday, except the Chinese national public holidays.
2. Forbidden City Ticketing Purchase is based on real name policy;
3. You need to show your passport to buy your entrance tickets;
4. Free of charge for children under 1.2 meters, each required to be escorted by an adult;
5. Special 20 yuan tickets are available for China’s elementary, middle school, and university students
(including foreign students studying in Chinese universities) with valid student I.D. or certified letter from school administrator (including students from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, excluding graduate and adult education students);
6. Seniors over 60 years old are entitled to half price by showing a valid ID or passport.
7. Forbidden City Customers Service Hot Lines: 010-85007057 010-85007058 010-85007062 (working hours:08:30-22:00)

Tip 05: Suggested Forbidden City Travel Routes

The Forbidden City is huge, covering an area of 72 hectares. Normally you should cruise through in two or three hours.

Plan this together with Tiananmen Square, Jinshan Park or Beihai park. Please keep in mind that Tickets sold until 15:30 (November 1st – March 31); Tickets sold until 16:00 (April 01 – October).

Classic Two-hour Axis Travel Route
1. The Meridian Gate (Wu men – the south gate) 2. Gate of Supreme Harmony (Taihe men) 3. Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian) 4. Treasures from the Qing Palace 5. Memory of the Old Palace 6. Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghe dian) 7. Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohe dian) 8. Gate of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing men) 9. Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong) 10. Hall of Union (Jiaotai dian) 11. Palace of Earthly Tranquility (Kunning gong) 12. Imperial Garden (Yu huayuan) 13. Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwu men – the north gate)

Forbidden City South-to-North Axis 2-hour Travel Route ( Map from dpm.org.cn )

Half a Day Travel Route
1. The Meridian Gate (Wu men – the south gate) 2. Hall of Martial Valor (Wuying dian) 3. Gate of Supreme Harmony (Taihe men) 4. Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian) 5. Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghe dian) 6.Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohe dian) 7. Hall of Clocks 8. Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong) 9. Hall of Union (Jiaotai dian) 10. alace of Earthly Tranquility (Kunning gong) 11. Hall of Mental Cultivation (Yangxin dian) 12. Area of Six Western Palaces or Area of Six Eastern Palaces 13. Imperial Garden (Yu huayuan) 14. Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwu men the north gate)

Tip 06: View the Turrets and the Moat

When touring the Forbidden City, don’t miss visiting the magnificent turrets of Forbidden City and its surrounding moat. There are four beautiful turrets of the same structure on the four corners of Forbidden City.

The Northeastern Turrets of Forbidden City and City Moat

Each turret tower has nine girders, eighteen columns and 72 ridges. The two turrets on the northeast and northwest corners offer the best photo opportunities. How to Take the Best Photos of Forbidden City Turret and Moat.

The turrets are inaccessible to visitors. People usually finish their visit to the Forbidden City and exit from its north gate. Then turn either right for the northeast turret tower or left for the northwest turret tower outside the Forbidden City.

Tip 07: A Panoramic View of Forbidden City

Jingshan Park is not to miss on your Beijing tour for a panoramic view of the Forbidden City and the city of Beijing as a whole. . Jingshan just sits across the north gate to the Forbidden City.

After finishing your visit of the Forbidden City from south to north, you exit from the Forbidden City’s north gate.

Jingshan Park

Exiting from the northern gate, raising your head, you will find a pavilion has three-layered eaves perched on a hill. The hill is called Jingshan Hill ( Coal Hill or prospect Hill).

Jingshan Hill is an ideal place to have a panoramic view of Forbidden City and the Beijing city as whole.  Click “Jingshan Park is not to be missed” for more information.

Have a panoramic view of Forbidden City from the top of Jingshan Park.

Tip 08: Public Transport after your visit to Forbidden City

It is a bit tricky to use the public transport back to your hotel or other attractions you continue to visit afterwards.

Public bus stations around the Forbidden City’s North Gate:
Public Bus Number: 101, 103, 109, 124 trolleybus and No. 58, Night 13, Sightseeing Bus 1, Sightseeing Bus 2.

Public Bus stations around Jingshan Park East Gate
Public Bus Number: No. 111, Trolleybus 124 and No. 58, Night bus 2

The North Gate to Forbidden City

After visiting the Forbidden City and exit from its north gate, most of the visitors want to continue their day trips to other attractions or destinations in Beijing like Park Park ( just opposite the north gate to Forbidden City), the nearby Beihai Park, Wangfujing Street, Beijing Zoo, Summer Palace, Fragrance Hill, Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall of China and the list is much longer.

Please read the following travel information to help plan your further day trip:

Jinshan Park ( Prospect Hill or Coal Hill )    ( How to Visit Jingshan Park )
Jinshan Park is just opposite the north gate to the Forbidden City, but you are not allowed to cross the street. To visit Jinshan Park ( Prospect Hill ), you are advised to use the underpass 20 meters in the west.

Beihai Park Beijing ( How to Visit Beihai Park )
This park is approx 800 meters west of the north gate to Forbidden City, just 10-minute walking.

Summer Palace ( How to Visit Summer Palace )
First take the underpass to cross the street and walk west to the Bus No.103 and get off at Beijing Zoo Station, then connect Bus 332 for Summer Palace.

Badaling Great Wall ( How to Visit Badaling Great Wall by train )
Walk westward and find the Bus No.5 and drop off at Deshengmen, then connect Bus 877 for Badaling Great Wall.

Temple of Heaven ( How to Visit Temple of Heaven )
Walk westward for 30 meters and take Bus 814 and get off at Dong Dan, Chongwenmen and Temple of Heaven.

Wangfujing Street or Beijing Railway Station  ( Wangfujing Street )  ( Beijing Railway Station )
Walk west for 30 meters and take trolley bus No.103 and get off at Wangfujiang or Beijing Railway Station.

Beijing West Railway Station ( Beijing West Railway Station )
Take the underpass to cross the street and Take bus 109 and get off at Xuanwumen, connect bus No.9 or 703 for Beijing West Railway Station.

Beijing South Railway Station  ( Beijing South Railway Station )
Walk west for 500 meters and take Bus No. 05 and get off at Qianmen, connect Bus 20 for Beijing West Railway Station.

Tiananmen Square or Subway Line 01  ( How to Visit Tiananmen Square )  ( Subway Line 1 )
Walk west for 500 meters and take Bus No. 05

How to take a Beijing Taxi ( Beijing Taxi )
Walk west for 50 meters and call a cab.

Taking a rickshaw at the north gate is a rip-off.
Don’t ever take a Rickshaw at the north gate of Forbidden City unless you feel like getting lost and extorted.

So if you visit Forbidden City by getting to a wrong gate (north gate), don’t use a local rickshaw to get back to the south gate, just walk to the right gate (south gate).

For the same reason, if you exit from the north gate after visiting Forbidden City, don’t use a rickshaw for your next place.

Tip 09: Hire a legitimate Tour Guide or Audio Guides

The Forbidden City is much worth visiting, but unless you know the history very well, you should use a Beijing tour guide. You are not advised to use the tourist guides around the entrance. Most of them are self-employed tour guides.

So, try to find a reliable travel agency for your tour guide services or the Recorded guide. The recorded audio guides: these are available for rent walking from south to north. There are many signs in English by each building. An actual book would probably better serve you if you want to understand what you are seeing.

Tip 10 : Dress for the Hot Weather

There are very few trees with little shade Forbidden City. It is super hot during the summer.

So if coming here in summer, be ready to bring an umbrella for sun protection, bottles of water, and comfy walking shoes. Check out: Beijing Climate for more information.

Tip 11: Wear Comfortable Shoes

There are lots of outdoor areas so you can’t do a lot of hiding from the sun or rain. Wear your most comfortable shoes.

It’s a long walk! strollers and wheelchairs are available for free at the tourist guide service at both southern gate and the northern gate.

Tip 12: Avoid Tour Vendors on the Street

There are some tour vendors at each entrance selling their excursions to the Great Wall. Just ignore all handouts that will be forced upon you. Especially bus tours.

They are all too good to be true, and you will be disappointed. See Top 10 Tourist Scams in Beijing for more information.

Tip 13: Be vigilant on Tea House Scam and Ticket Touts

A kind reminder that Tea House Scams and ticket touts could possibly pester you around Forbidden City area. Below is a trip report by a victim from Sri Lanka named Akalan ( click Top 10 Tourist Scams in Beijing for more information) :

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I wish I read this page 1 week earlier! I was a victim to the “Tea House” scam. The scammer, a lady was very clever. I came to the Tiananmen area and was going to buy the ticket to enter the forbidden city. A lady who was walking besides me casually said “Hello” and started a chat while walking.

In fact this was my 4th trip to China, but first trip to Beijing. Many a times many people, usually young ladies chatted with me and they helped me a lot. Even on the same day morning I went to the Great Wall and a young girl with good English walked with me. All those I met earlier were genuine people who just wanted to help a visitor to their country. Most of the time they did not even allow me to pay a bill, ticket price or taxi fare.

With that sort of experience, I had no suspicion on this woman. Still my priority was to get into the Forbidden city ASAP, as it was passed 3pm and I knew that the ticket sales would stop at 4 pm. This lady said that she would show me the “East gate” where I can enter without a long queue. Yes, there was a queue of people at the main entrance.

Simply followed her advice and she walked with me to “show” the entrance. On the way she said she is from Xi’An (a city I visited 1 month ago) and we had quite a good conversation on history, culture and languages. She also explained some history of the area.

She said her friends from another province are there and they will meet them in 10 min. If I can wait 10 min, they also can join me to go inside the Forbidden city.

While waiting for them, she suggested me to sit somewhere and have a tea or fruit juice. In fact after walking and climbing whole morning in Great Wall area, I was thirsty and wanted to sit and stretch my legs. So I agreed.

I tried to sit on some chairs laid outside, but she suggested to go inside – less noisy, less dust and air-conditioned!

I picked a Chinese tea and the scam began! You know the rest. Yes, she split the bill, still I lost a few hundred! Worst thing was that she took me to a gate, assuring that I could enter from there, but obviously there were no ticket counters. I had to get to an electric car. The driver charged 20, instead of 2, as he sensed my urgency!

He actually did not take me to the ticket counters, instead, he stopped somewhere and a woman approached me. She was telling me that the ticket counters are closed and she would sell a ticket to me for 100 ! I did not want to let some one rip me off for 3rd time, within 15 min. Finally when I found the ticket counters, they were closed! So I missed the Forbidden City!

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Tip 14: Hail a Taxi on the Road

Please note that taxis are not allowed to stop either at the northern gate or south gate. Some people approaching you for taxi service after you finish your visit at the Forbidden City, may be black taxi drivers. Just avoid them and try to hail a taxi on the road.

Taxis are not allowed to stop at the northern gate (Shenwu men) according to the local traffic regulations. Visitors exiting from the northern gate need to walk further either east or west to hail a taxi or take a bus. Check out Beijing Taxi for more information.

Tip 15:  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:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Tour
China City Tours
China Tour

Chinese version of the travel guide

故宫旅游小贴士

Further Readings


Best Time to Visit Beijing
How to plan a trip to Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop line.