Today was a beautiful day with bright blue skies. And since our flight from Beijing to Hanoi did not leave until the afternoon, we had enough time in the morning to visit the Forbidden City.
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Things to know about the Forbidden City in Beijing
The Forbidden City in Beijing houses the former Imperial Palace, which was surrounded by a wall and served as a residence for 24 Chinese emperors of various dynasties and their families between 1420 and 1911. In 1987, the entire complex was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At first it was not accessible to the ordinary people. It was not until 1924, when the last emperor left the city, that the complex was opened to the population. Every year about 9 million visitorscome to visit the complex.
The Forbidden City is surrounded by a 10-metre-high and 3,428-metre-long wall, as well as a 3,800-metre-long, 52-metre-wide and 6-metre-deep ditch filled with water. In each direction there is a large gate with a tower and at the four corners of the wall there is a corner tower. The following map is here as a .pdf version for printing.
Tickets for the Forbidden City
From our Hotel Days Inn Forbidden City Beijing we were able to reach the 8 meter high entrance gate in the south of the complex within 10 minutes on foot.
Although it was only 8.30 a.m., several tourists and especially Chinese tour groups were already on the way and the queues at the ticket offices were accordingly long. A maximum of 80,000 tickets are sold daily, each costing 60 yuan (April-October) or 40 yuan (November-March) (€5.30 to about €8). If you want to save yourself the time for the queue, you can also buy tickets online up to 10 days in advance: online tickets. However, the website for the online tickets is unfortunately only in Chinese, which does not make an order easy.
The opening hours of the Forbidden City are:
1 April to 31 October from 8.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
November 1 to March 31 from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
After half an hour we had our tickets and we were able to start exploring the 720,000 m2 area, whose access was denied to the ordinary population during the imperial era – which explains the name Forbidden City.
The best way through the palace complex
If you want to visit all the buildings and facilities on the site then you should take a few hours. On the official site of The Palast Museum there are 5 sample routes for full-day, half-day or 2-hour tours.
Our tour of the Forbidden City
The Forbidden City consists of an outer and inner courtyard with a total of 890 buildings and over 8,800 rooms. The most important building of the outer courtyard and the entire complex is the Hall of the Highest Harmony (Tai He Dian). Here is also the dragon throne, the throne of the emperor. It was really full today. Here you can see very well which crowds move partly through the narrow corridors.
There are many more palaces, pavilions and small courtyards to see on the site. The roofs of most of the main buildings were partially gilded and covered with yellow glazed bricks. No building in Beijing was allowed to surpass the Forbidden City in height.
Over the northernmost gate of the complex we left the Forbidden City after 1.5 hours.
Der Jingshan Park
Directly opposite the exit is Jingshan Park, where you can climb a small hill over steps. When we reached the Buddha Temple at the top, we had a wonderful view over the Forbidden City and other parts of Beijing.
From Jingshan Park we walked back to our hotel, picked up our luggage and took the subway to the airport.
All travelogues from ChinaWe find China incredibly exciting as a travel destination. The culture, the history, modern cities, UNESCO world heritage sites - the country is really huge and there is so much to see. So far we have only seen a small part of China, but we are certainly planning a longer trip there in the future.
Hong Kong: Explore tourist attractions & things to do
Hong Kong: Peak Tram & the viewpoint from Victoria Peak
Hong Kong: Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery & the Big Buddha
China: Beijing – Our problem with the 72-hour transit visa
China: Beijing – Tian’anmen Square & The Temple of Heaven
China: Beijing – A daytrip to the New Summer Palace
China: Beijing – Local Street Food at Wangfujing Snack Street
China: Great Wall of China – The Wall Section at Mutianyu
China: Great Wall of China – The Wall Section at Huanghuacheng
China: Beijing – The Forbidden City & Jingshan Park