- Location: In the middle of the city of Beijing in China.
- Best Time to Visit: Late March to early June and from late August to late November.
- Preferred Timing: 08.30 a.m. to 04.30 p.m.
- How to Reach:
The nearest airport is Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), located 20 km north-east of the city-centre of Beijing.
You can reach Beijing from all the parts of China by train. There are a number of railways stations in Beijing which include Beijing, Beijing West, Beijing South, Beijing North and Beijing South.
You can reach Beijing by bus from several parts of the country including areas as far as Shanghai and the Mongolian border areas. In order to reach the Forbidden City, take bus nos. 124, 810, 812, 814, 846, 855 (Night Bus: nos. 202 and 211).
There are also the following buses: Bus nos. 101, 103, 109, 182 and 184 (Trolleybus to Gugong Bus Stop).
Bus nos.1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 22, 52, 54, 57, 120, 802 (off at East Tian’anmen Bus Stop or Zhongshan Park Bus Stop).
- Entry Fee: 40 rmb
- Time for Visit: 3 hours (approximately)
- Nearest Railway Station: Beijing Railway Station.
- Nearest International Airport: Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).
A name that is interesting enough to attract the attention of any human being, a name that always has created inquisitiveness in people’s mind from the very beginning, a name that has a great appeal to people from all corners of the world, and the name that says it all — the Forbidden City of China. Located in the centre of city of Beijing, the Forbidden City, was originally a Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty that served as the home of the Emperors and their households. As the name suggests, it was the palace where no one was allowed to enter or leave without the permission of the emperor and was forbidden for the general people. Built between 1406 and 1420 as a replica of the Purple Palace, where according to the common belief, the God lived in the heaven; the Forbidden City complex showcases traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has been successful in influencing the cultural and architectural developments not only in China, but also in entire East Asia. Currently, the palace houses the famous Palace Museum.
The Forbidden City, covering a huge area of about 72 hectares, contains 90 palaces and courtyards, 980 buildings and 8,704 rooms. It is the largest ancient palatial structure in the world and also the best-preserved imperial palace in China. The Forbidden City is divided into two parts — the outer one where the emperor exercised his supreme power and the inner one where he lived with his family. The Palace Museum, inside the Forbidden City, is known to the whole world for Chinese culture and historical relics.
Visiting the Forbidden City
The most popular route to enter the Forbidden City is through the Tian’anmen Gate. Once you pass through the gate, across the paved square, you will reach the main entrance of the palace, popularly known as Meridian Gate or Wumen in Chinese. Go across the Golden Stream Bridge to enter into the outer court where you will find three building, viz. the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihedian), the Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghedian) and the Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohedian). The Hall of Supreme Harmony is the largest and the most important structure in the Forbidden City, where you will find the emperors’ Dragon Throne or Longyi. The Hall of Central Harmony, located behind the Hall of Supreme Harmony, was a resting place for the emperor. The other hall, the Hall of the Preserving Harmony was used for banquets and also for imperial examinations in the later days.
Once you complete visiting these halls, you move towards the inner living court. Pass through the Gate of Heavenly Peace or Qianqingmen, the main gateway to the inner court and enter into an area which consists of three main structure of the Forbidden City, viz. the Palace of Heavenly Peace (the sleeping place of the emperors), the Palace of the Union and Peace or Jiao Tai Dian (imperial seals were stored here) and the Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility or Kun Ning Gong (wedding rooms of the emperors).Now you come out of the halls into a wonderful garden called Imperial Garden. The garden will take you to a colorful world, quite contrasting from the crimson or gray building complex of the Forbidden City. Also visit the Mental Cultivation Hall or Yangxindian, located on the left of inner court. You will find the main exit gate, called the Gate of Devine Might, behind the Imperial Garden.
The Palace Museum:
One of the greatest attractions of the Forbidden City is the Palace Museum. It has a massive collection of almost a million art treasures of the Chinese history spanning five thousand years. There are several exhibitions organized in the different halls or palaces. In order to know more about the cultural heritage of Chinese history, you must visit these exhibitions.
Precious Cultural Relics Exhibition: Huangji Hall, Leshou Hall, Yangxing Palace and Yihe Xuan
Clocks Collections Exhibition: Fengxian Hall
Qing Palace Opera Exhibition: Changyin Palace
Cixi Attending Affairs Exhibition: Xianfu Palace
Puyi Life Exhibition: Lijing Xuan
Qing Concubines Life Exhibition: Yongshou Palace
Qing Weapon Equipment Exhibition: Hongyi Garret
Wanshou Celebrations Exhibition: Qianqing Palace
Emperors’ Grand Weddings Exhibition: Qianqing Palace
Audio guides are available in the Forbidden City for the visitors which are available in different languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, and Thai. Audio guides are available at the Meridian Gate (Wu men) and the Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwu men).
Tour guide services are available in Chinese, English and Japanese languages.In order to take you bags inside, it has to pass through a security check at the Meridian Gate or Gate of Divine Might. Alternatively bags can also be deposited from 08.30 a.m. to 06.00 p.m. free of charge. Wheelchairs and Strollers are also available.
1st April to 31st October: 08.30 a.m. to 05.00 p.m.
Last Entry: 04.10 p.m.
Tickets Sold until: 04.00 p.m.
1st November to 31st March: 08.30 a.m. to 04.30 p.m.
Last Entry: 03.40 p.m.
Tickets Sold until: 03.30 p.m.
1st November to 31st March: 40 rmb
1st April to 31st October: 60 rmb
Students (with valid identity card): 20 rmb
Children under 120 cm height: Free