Forbidden City, Beijing

Forbidden City, Beijing (must see)

A trip to Beijing is incomplete without a visit to Forbidden City, the huge, majestic and best preserved imperial Chinese palace. This impressive and gorgeous palatial structure exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere.

This Palace Museum houses precious historical and cultural relics of China. In 1961, it was listed by the Chinese central government as a historical monument to be specially preserved. Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

This palace is listed along with four others as the five most important palaces in the world. It was home to 21 Ming and Qing dynasty emperors between 1368 and 1911. In keeping with the traditional beliefs, the palace was constructed to resemble the Purple Palace in heaven, believed to be the residence of God. "Forbidden" referred to the fact that no one could enter or leave the palace without the emperor's permission.

The palace is built over an area of 72 hectares. There are 8704 rooms, 980 buildings and 90 palaces with 150,000 square meters total floor space. Structures including the palace and all the gates of the Forbidden City are arranged around Beijing’s south-north central axis.

A ten-meter high wall encloses the complex of 3,430-meter circumference. The moment you reach this impressive complex, you will be stunned by the magnificence of the four watchtowers at each corner and the moat that acted as the first line of defense.

Why You Should Visit:
Taking in the scale and majesty of the buildings from the open grounds inside is a terrific experience.

Tip:
Don't forget your passport – you will need it to buy a ticket and gain entry (scanning & body check required beforehand).
Get there as early as you can to avoid the hoards of tourists and bring food as the options are limited and usually quite busy.
When hiring a guide, make sure they speak good English and negotiate on price and time. At the very least, rent the audio guide.
Make sure you visit the Imperial Gardens before exiting and go to Jingshan Park (through the underground passage) for a panoramic view of the Forbidden City from above.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8:30am-5pm (April-October); 8:30am-4:30pm (November-March)

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Beijing, China within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Forbidden City on Map

Sight Name: Forbidden City
Sight Location: Beijing, China
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) containing this sight: City Center Orientation Walk  

Walking Tours in Beijing, China

Create Your Own Walk in Beijing

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Creating your own self-guided walk in Beijing is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Beijing Museums and Art Galleries

Beijing Museums and Art Galleries

Beijing is the political and cultural center of China. The museums in this wonderful city will impress you not only with their beauty and fascinating collections, but also with the stunning architecure of the buildings the museums are housed in. Take the following tour to discover the most popular museums in Beijing and to find out more about the city's history, traditions and culture.

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.6 km
Self-guided Tour: Places of Worship, South-West Beijing

Self-guided Tour: Places of Worship, South-West Beijing

Beijing’s places of worship are some of the best links to the city's history. The unique churches, Buddhist and Taoist Temples, and beautiful Muslim Mosques all tell great tales of the history of Beijing. Many of them have been partially or completely destroyed over the years either structurally by wars, or internally by the changes of political power. Visit the most beautiful places of...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.7 km
Walking Tour: Xicheng District, Beijing

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Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
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Shopping Around Chaoyang Park

Shopping Around Chaoyang Park

Chaoyang Park is located in the North-East area of Beijing. The park itself represents one of Beijing’s main attractions, with its great beauty and infrastructure, as well as a number of famous markets that lie in the area. This guide will take you to some of the best features of Chaoyang Park.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.1 km
Shopping in North Beijing

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Northern Beijing is home to the famous historic Shichahai area. This picturesque area between Forbidden City and Olympic Park consists of three lakes, the Confucius and Lama Temples and is a great illustration of a traditional Chinese district. Check out the most popular shopping places in North Beijing in the next self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Walking Tour: Popular Markets in Beijing

Walking Tour: Popular Markets in Beijing

Markets in Beijing are great places to get acquainted with locals. Many markets operate through the night so if you are out late enjoying the nightlife, don't forget to stop by to purchase unique items that are not found in shops or malls. Take the following tour to discover the most popular markets in Beijing:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km

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