Forbidden City Travel Guide: What to Know About the Iconic Beijing Landmark

Located right in the heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City is perhaps China’s most famous monument-cum-museum. We’ve drafted an essential Forbidden City travel guide to help first-timers enjoy a hassle-free visit to this fantastic monument. For over 500 years, various Qing and Ming Dynasty Emperors resided within the famous red walls of the Forbidden City at different points in time. Presently, the palace, halls, pavilions, gardens, and about a million priceless treasures are visited by millions of local and international tourists every single year. Just take a look at the Forbidden City map and you’ll know what we mean! So, why not use our effective Forbidden City travel guide and visit this spectacular place this year? Read on to know what you can expect on your visit to the Forbidden City in Beijing.


Why is it called the Forbidden City?

Before you visit this fantastic monument, learn a few key things about it. Among the first things, you should know about the Forbidden City is the reason behind its intriguing name. It was called so because no one from the outer courtyard was allowed inside without the emperor’s permission. Those caught trespassing were more often than not put to death on the spot. Isn’t this among the most interesting things listed in our Forbidden City travel guide!


A brief history

The spectacular Forbidden City was built during the early 1400s by Yongle, the third Ming Dynasty emperor. He did this as he shifted his capital to Beijing from Nanjing. Following this, various Ming and Qing Dynasty emperors ruled from this coveted palace until the early 1900s. After the Qing Dynasty was struck down, the last emperor was permitted to reside in the inner court until he was evicted in 1924. Subsequently, a committee took command of this awesome place. The committee organized more than a million priceless treasures after which, it opened the palace to the public as a museum. Thereby, the Forbidden City tours have been around right since the mid-1900s.


What to expect during a visit to the Forbidden City

One of the most significant things mentioned in our Forbidden City travel guide is that this is not an easy place to explore. We do not advise you to make an unplanned trip to Beijing on last minute flights. If you want to tour Forbidden City Beijing the right way, invest your time in planning a long trip. 

Also, there will be plenty of walking to do here. It’s not your standard museum housed in one building and split into various floors. So, if you wish to see as much of the Forbidden City tourist attraction as you can, wear comfortable shoes. Follow your Forbidden City guide and learn as much about this charming place as you can!


Significant features of the Forbidden City

Even after you follow our essential Forbidden City travel guide, be warned that a Forbidden City tour is not easy to helve. However, take a good look at some of the top Forbidden City features listed below so that you have an idea of what to expect and what not to miss!

  • The Forbidden City covers a sprawling area of about 720, 000 sq. m.

  • There is one gate on each side of the Forbidden City. Visitors will enter via the Meridian Gate in the South and depart via the Gate of Spiritual Valor in the North.

  • The place comprises of almost 10,000 rooms including the massive halls and various palaces.

  • The Forbidden City is surrounded by an incredibly wide moat and approximately 10m-high walls.

  • The Palace Museum holds over a million incredible and priceless treasures


What treasures does the Palace Museum hold?

This is the major part you must visit when going by our Forbidden City travel guide. The Palace Museum is home to some of the most amazing and invaluable historical artefacts in the world. Your trip to this fantastic monument on business class flights will be incomplete if you miss seeing these! 


The impressive collection at the Forbidden City Palace Museum includes bronze works, ceramics, ancient scrolls, paintings, jade works, calligraphy, historical documents, and more. These are split into their appropriate galleries so that it’s easy to know where to find what. The major galleries at the Forbidden City are The Treasures Gallery, Porcelain & Ceramics Gallery, Clocks Gallery, Bronzeware Gallery, and The Paintings & Calligraphy Gallery. Make sure to cover as many of these as you can on your Forbidden City tour!


Services at the Forbidden City

Listed in our Forbidden City travel guide are some of the top services you can expect to enjoy during your visit. Check out what these are below!

  • Before you enter via the Meridian Gate, you will have to undergo a security check. Your bag will be kept here and you will need to come back after your Forbidden City tour to retrieve it.
  • If you would like to use Forbidden City audio guides, you can get them at the Meridian Gate as well as the Gate of Divine Prowess. These Forbidden City guides come in multiple languages and you will need to rent them out. Your rent deposit will be given back to you at the exit gate when you return the audio guide.
  • At the Archery Pavilion, you will find the Information Center.
  • There are bookstores, snack stops, and gift shops at the premises.


Important information to know before you tour Forbidden City Beijing

Our Forbidden City travel guide lists the following as key things to know before visiting the Forbidden City tourist attraction in Beijing.


Recommended time for a visit: You will need a minimum of three hours for a complete tour of the Forbidden City tourist attraction. 


Opening Hours: The Forbidden City is open from Tuesday to Sunday all through the year. It’s closed on national holidays that fall on Mondays. Foreign tourists will require passports to book tickets for a Forbidden City tour.


Metro stops: There are metro stops on the East-West line of the city.

Public buses that stop here: Some of the regular public buses that stop at Forbidden City include 4, 52, 101, 109, and 111. Do check for other buses that stop by this monumental attraction.


Take a Forbidden City guided tour: Our Forbidden City travel guide suggests that you take a guided tour of the monument. This will help you understand what the buildings are and what went on in them. Alternatively, you can pick an audio tour of the place.


Buy a map: Once you enter through the spectacular Meridian Gate, glance around for gift shops or souvenir stores that sell a map of the Imperial Palace. It’s a good idea to get a map as this one-of-a-kind map cannot be found elsewhere in the world. Even if you don’t use the map during your Forbidden City tour, it’s a great souvenir to have. So, why wait? Book cheap flights to Beijing and come explore the fabulous Forbidden City now!