Forbidden City Travel Tips

Beijing Palace Museum Map
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Forbidden City is a must to see when traveling in Beijing. To make your trip much convenient, we have concluded some useful tips for you to follow.

Best Time to Visit

The best tourist season to travel is from late March to early June and from late August to late November. During these periods, choose someday not on the weekdays and holidays to avoid the crowds of people.

Best Routes

This is a very large complex. Tourists should have a clear understanding of its layout and choose a suitable route to touring the palace according to your time and need. See how to visit the Forbidden City.

Exhibitions List

It holds some permanent exhibitions in different halls or palaces. The following is the list of some exhibitions which may arouse your interest. Visit them, and you will know more about its cultural background.

 Painting and Calligraphy Gallery: Hall of Literary Glory
 Ceramics Gallery: Hall of Martial Valor
 Clock Gallery: Hall of Ancestral Worship
 Stone Drum Gallery: Eastern Corridor Rooms of the Hall of Imperial Supremacy
 Gold and Silver Gallery: Palace of Great Brilliance
 Jade Gallery: Palace of Accumulated Purity
 Bronze Gallery: Palace of Celestial Favor, Palace of Eternal Harmony
 Opera Gallery: Belvedere of Pleasant Sounds, Hall for Viewing Opera
 Treasure Gallery: Hall of Imperial Supremacy, Hall of Spiritual Cultivation, Hall of Joyful Longevity, Belvedere of Well-nourished Harmony
Gate of Heavenly Purity
Gate of Heavenly Purity
Hall of Supreme Harmony
Hall of Supreme Harmony

Restaurants and Shops

Tourists are suggested to bring their own food when visiting, for there are only few places inside the palace providing drinks and light meals. There is one restaurant next to the Archery Pavilion, west to the Treasure Gallery. It can be seen through the Gate of Great Fortune in the east side of Qianqingmen (Gate of Heavenly Purity) Square. Another place for food is in the west side of the Qianqingmen Square, besides The Office of Grand Council of State. Dong Chang Fang (East Long Room) is a row of houses about 200 meters east of the Gate of Divine Prowess. It was available for guardians to live in. Now, it is a service area with shops and restaurants for tourists. Additionally, there are shops at the Gate of Heavenly Purity, Hall of Mental Cultivation and the Imperial Garden. On the way from the Gate of Earthly Tranquility to the Imperial Garden, there are two cafes providing coffee and hot drinks.

 Read more: Imperial Icehouse: It is used as a restaurant now. 
A Golden Plate, Forbidden City
A Golden Plate
An old piano, Puyi Life Exhibition in Lijing Xuan
A piano, Puyi Life Exhibition in Lijing Xuan
Nearby Restaurants:
 Quanjude Roast Duck (Qianmen) – Quanjude, almost the byword for Peking Roast Duck is a time-honored restaurant with more than one hundred years old. After leaving from Tiananmen Gate via the Meridian Gate, tourists can go through the Tiananmen Square to find the way leading to Qianmen Pedestrian Street.

 Donglaishun Muslim Restaurant (Qianmen) – Deriving from the cooking method of mutton when Kublai Khan went out for a battle, the sliced mutton rinsed in chafing dish served in Donglaishun is a feature food.

 Dasanyuan Restaurant (Jingshan) – Dasanyuan is a Cantonese restaurant originated in 1919. Its Jingshan branch restaurant is located in Jingshan Xijie, at the center of Jingshan Park, Beihai Park and the Gate of Divine Prowess. Roast Suckling Pig and Buddha Jumping over the Wall are the signature dishes.

 Donghuamen Snack Night Market - Compared with Wangfujing Snack Street, Donghuamen outside the East Flowery Gate (Donghuamen) has more snacks. Food price here is not cheap, like other well-known snack streets on this point. Donghuamen Snack Street is alive with people at night.  

Additional Services

Service Items Note
Audio Guide Device Available in several languages including Chinese, Cantonese, English, French, Japanese, German, Korean, Russian, Thai, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic and Italian. It can be rented from the tour guide service at the Meridian Gate (Wumen) and the Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwumen). The cost for renting any version of the device is CNY 40 (Chinese and Cantonese are both CNY 20), along with a deposit of CNY 100.
Tour Guide Service Chinese, English and Japanese-speaking tour guides are available.
* For groups no more than 5 people:
central axis: 1 hour, CNY 200;
central axis and west route: 1.5 hours, CNY 300;
central axis, west route, and treasure gallery: 2.5 hours, CNY 400
* For groups more than 5 people: an extra CNY 20 will be charged per person.
Commodity Service Tourist souvenirs, books, food and drink as well as a post office are all available.
WiFi Service It covers the core areas open to the public, including cultural relic exhibition halls, tourist resting areas, and dining areas. Visitors can search for the WiFi account “PalaceMuseum-WiFi” to access the WiFi service for free.
Broadcast It is to the southwest of Jingyun Gate.
Bag Check Service Bags can be deposited free of charge at the Meridian Gate and Gate of Divine Prowess from 8:30 to 18:00. If desired, bags can be carried free between the two gates after going through a security check.
Wheelchairs & Strollers Available from the tour guide service at the Meridian Gate and Gate of Divine Prowess, free of charge.
Tourist Service Center Located at the Gate of Supreme Harmony (Taihemen) and the Arrow Pavilion (Jianting).
Lounges Located at the Left Gate of Inner Court (Neizuomen), west of the Meridian Gate, and the Gate of Loyal Obedience (Zhenshunmen)

 Further Reading: 
Forbidden City Opening Hours

How to Get to Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square

Are there Toilets in the Forbidden City?

- Last updated on Apr. 13, 2023 by Catherine He -
Questions & Answers on Forbidden City Travel Tips
Asked by Philippe from SWITZERLAND | Apr. 02, 2019 07:05Reply
On the website about Forbidden City , two different prices are mentioned : 60 and 80 yuans.
What does each price correspond to?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mackenzie from POLAND | Apr. 02, 2019 23:22

The CNY60 is only refer to the entrance ticket.
However, the CNY80 includes the entrance ticket + Treasure Gallery + Clock and Watch Gallery.
Asked by T C from MALAYSIA | Jan. 12, 2018 23:53Reply
Forbidden City Ticket Purchase
I can understand Chinese language, so can I be able to book the entrance ticket by myself using Passport.
Can I be able to buy the ticket one day or 8th day in advance at the scenic area?
Answers (1)
Answered by Eglise from FRANCE | Jan. 14, 2018 23:56

Well, you need to have a Chinese sim card. Or you may not be able to book the tickets online. I suggest you turn to ur Chinese friend for help. In addition, 10 days earlier is okay for booking. Have a nice trip!
Asked by raccoon from THAILAND | Jan. 09, 2018 08:08Reply
Now how's to buy Palace Museum ticket? Is webside already in english version?
Answers (1)
Answered by Julian from BELGIUM | Jan. 09, 2018 20:10

No, it only provides Chinese version for ticket booking, and the tickets can only be reserved/bought online.
You are suggested to find help from some Chinese friends. Have a nice trip!
Asked by Liza from FINLAND | Dec. 19, 2017 14:29Reply
Tour guide serviece cost at Forbidden City
Dose this cost per person total? If we took audio will it guide us the route also or it will just track the location and tell us about it?
Answers (1)
Answered by Phill from ITALY | Dec. 19, 2017 19:59

As I know, the guide charges CNY250 for 5 visitors or less; extra CNY10 is needed if one more visitor.
The audio charges CNY40 for each, and CNY100 is needed as a deposit. But it won’t give you the route.
Asked by michelle from MALAYSIA | Oct. 01, 2017 05:27Reply
are we allow to bring food and camera into the forbidden city?
are we allow to bring our backpack or is it compulsory to store our bags outside? are cameras allow to bring in?
Answers (1)
Answered by Selina from CANADA | Oct. 08, 2017 22:40

Don’t worry, as I know, you can bring both food and camera inside. As for backpack, generally speaking, you can take it if it’s not very big.
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