Posts Tagged ‘how to go to Temple of Heaven’

Tips for Visiting the Temple of Heaven

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020
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Map of the Temple of Heaven from


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.

Temple of Heaven is called ‘Tiantan Park’ in Chinese, literally meaning ‘Temple of Heaven Park”. It was first constructed in 1420, the 18th year of the reign of Ming emperor Yongle. It was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would worship the god of heaven and pray for good harvest.

Tip # 01: 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 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 yearly entrance tickets for easy access to the park.

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 older people 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.

Practicing Sword, in Temple of Heaven Park,

Tip # 02: Acquaint yourself with the historical buildings in the park

Be prepared for a guidebook or hire a Beijing Tour Guide for your life long 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 # 04: 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 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 – East Gate – Hongqiao Market.

Tip # 05: 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 # 06: Aware of the daily different opening time both for the historical 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 :(including 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
The North God cook, the North slaughtering house and the Fast House:
Opening hours: 9:00-12:00 PM – 13:00 PM – 16:00 every Tuesday to Sunday

Tip #07 Two kinds of entrance tickets at Temple of Heaven

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 to 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.

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 # 08: Service for self-guided audio & real 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 guide

  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 # 09: 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:

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

Chinese version of the travel guide


Further Readings

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.