Forbidden City Tickets 2019 (Entry, Prices & Times)

(36 customer reviews)


Last updated on October 18, 2019 9:16 am
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In the heart of Beijing, surrounded by its famous red brick walls, lies the Forbidden City, China’s ancient imperial palace. One of the most frequented attractions in China, grabbing a ticket into the Forbidden City is getting a key to China’s illustrious history.

Today, the Forbidden City’s official site stands as a reminder of the ancient dynasties that dominated the Asian continent, from the South China Sea to the Great Wall. The place where the palace museum is now was once the center of all Chinese conquest.

With such rich history on offer and some of the most majestic and authentic Chinese architecture you’ll ever see, you’ll never be short on things to explore here.

Know before you book:

  • Bring proof of identity (Passport or other Identity Documents)
  • Go as early as possible to beat the queues
  • The Forbidden City is closed on Mondays (except on public holidays)


  • Visiting the Imperial Palace
  • Going through the well-known Tiananmen Square
  • Strolling the picturesque Northeast Turrets

The detailed roof of the Imperial PalaceThe Imperial Palace, Beijing, is not only the central hub of China’s capital but also of China’s legacy. Whether it be standing in the center of Tiananmen Square or walking inside the largest ancient palatial structure in the world, history abounds here.

Having watched over the capital since 1420, the Forbidden City and its Imperial Palace have seen it all. Its bear witness to the rise and fall of 24 emperors, 2 dynasties and the influx of 14 million visitors a year.

Spanning just under one square mile, with over 980 buildings filled with ancient relics, it’s no surprise you can spend a full day here. Including its famous surrounding landmarks, you’d be well advised to spend as much time as possible walking these historic halls.

Lucky for you, there are many well-organized tours and professional guides to show you around and give you that authentic local experience you’ve been craving.

Prices 2019The Forbidden City Gardens from Tiananmen Square

The standard, non-guided Forbidden City, Beijing, tickets bought between November and March should cost around $6 each, compared to their $9 range price tag found between April and October.

Guided tour prices, on the other hand, start at around $30 and can make their way up to $60-$80.

Hours and Seasons

Similar to its pricing, the Forbidden City opening hours are dependant on the time of year. Where opening hours stay at 8:30 am, closing hours will change depending on whether it’s high or low season:

Low season (November to March)

Monday: Closed (unless a national holiday)
Tuesday – Sunday: 8:30am – 4:30pm

High season (April to October)

Monday: Closed (unless a national holiday)
Tuesday – Sunday: 8:30am – 5pm

Best Time to Visit Forbidden City

You can usually expect your Forbidden City visit to coincide with the other tens of thousands of tourists visiting. Not all will be allowed in though, as the attraction permits only 80,000 people through its gates each day.

With this in mind, we wanted to highlight the best dates and times to visit the Forbidden City:

Best Time of Year: High season in Beijing sits between the start of April and the end of October. Within this period it is best to avoid all holidays or weeks of celebration, such as the “Golden Week”.
The low season goes from November to the end of March, where you’ll see less than half the influx of visitors high season sees come into the city.
Best Time of Week: The Forbidden City is undoubtedly quieter during the week compared to weekends. With this in mind, Wednesdays and Thursdays are undoubtedly your preferable choices.
Best Time of Day: If possible, try to get there as early as possible. As the day wanes on, so to will the number of visitors and tourist groups increase. With the daily number of visitors limited to 80,000, it’s best to be one of the first.

Forbidden City Ticket Options, & PackagesTiananmen Square with Tourists admiring the Forbidden City

Now it’s time to take a look into some of our best tour options and packages, specifically chosen to offer you the most authentic experiences of the Imperial Palace, Beijing, at a reasonable price.

You can choose between a half-day tour, which gets you to see the Forbidden City in quick time, leaving the rest of the day free for exploration. Or, you can do a full day tour, which gives you more time to visit the sites and take in the history of Beijing.

Forbidden City Half Day Tour

Learn the deep, rich history of the Ancient Chinese with this half-day tour of the Forbidden City. With it being the largest royal palace in the world, you can be assured there is a lot of ground to cover here.

With the help of your experienced guide, you’ll gain a better understanding of the cultural impact and historical richness this sight has to offer. Undoubtedly more so than if you had to visit it alone. All guides are fluent in English and are highly professional and knowledgeable.

From the West Line to the East Line, with visits to the Meridian Gate, Imperial Museum and Royal Garden in between, you’ll get to see every inch of the palace from head to toe. The tour starts at 8:30 am meaning you’re guaranteed to experience a full morning of exploration.

What we liked: Perfect if you have plans for the later parts of the day.

  • Admission tickets to the Forbidden City
  • Professional English-speaking Guide
  • Visits to all sights inside the Palace

  • Gratuities
  • Breakfast and/or Lunch

This tour is perfect for those looking to the Imperial Palace without taking up their whole day. With the help of your professional tour guide, you’ll be able to see and learn about all the main sights within the Palace Grounds, as well as some lesser-known sights as well.

From the beautiful turrets to the elegant Museum, you can’t go wrong with this half-day morning tour of the Forbidden City.

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Full Day Forbidden City Group TourView of the Forbidden City

Explore the whole of Ancient Beijing in a day and see what it really means to gain some “Ancient Chinese wisdom”. This full-day tour is great for those looking to spend a lot of time exploring what remains of China’s dynasty-era, within the capital city today.

You’ll get to walk the Great Wall, visit the famous tombs of the Ming, and spend the afternoon walking the Forbidden City, culminating into an 8-hour day.

What we liked: Great way to spend a full day learning about Ancient China.

  • Entrance fees to all sites on the itinerary
  • Hotel pick-up and drop off
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Professional English-speaking tour guide

  • Gratuities
  • Any site outside of the itinerary
  • Accommodation & personal expenses

This tour is well-suited to those looking to expand their knowledge of ancient Chinese history and lore, fill their day with a lot of things to do, and see as much as possible in a short space of time. If you’re after a tour that will take your day and fill it with sites and information, this is the one.

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The Forbidden City at night

8.7Expert Score
In regards to the general Forbidden City entry, although it’s both economic and rewarding, it does not hold a candle to the guided tour! With your professional English-speaking guide leading you, you’ll see and learn so much more. Expect to be awe-inspired by the sights on offer Palace Museum, Beijing.
Value for money
Level of activity
  • An enormous site, offering lots of sights.
  • Authentic and well-preserved artifacts.
  • The area is clean and well patrolled.
  • Extremely busy in High Season
  • Chance of not getting in with 80,000 cap.

Specification: Forbidden City Tickets 2019 (Entry, Prices & Times)




2-4 hours, Full-day


English-speaking tour guide, Entrance fee, Transport


Entrance to external sites, Gratuities

Meals & Drinks

Meals not included (unless specified)


Not included (unless specified)

Suitable For

Individuals, Couples, Families, Families with older children

36 reviews for Forbidden City Tickets 2019 (Entry, Prices & Times)

4.5 out of 5
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  1. Anonymous

    We had a great time exploring the Forbidden City with our guide Gustavo. He was very passionate and knowledgable about the architecture and history of the palace and made us eager to learn more. Highly recommend! It is a long tour so I suggest bringing snacks in case you get hungry.

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  2. Anonymous

    It was very clear that Gustavo was very passionate about history and the intricate symbolism spotted everywhere throughout the Forbidden City tour – his knowledge was first class! I would highly recommend this tour. A lot of friends have visited without a tour guide, and whilst they can appreciate the beauty of the city they were not aware of the purpose of the buildings as well as the meaning in the detail.

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  3. Anonymous

    Gustavo was an amazing tour guide who is very knowledgeable about the Forbidden City and the histories and stories behind it. In addition, he provided us with information about other tourist attractions in Beijing, in particular the Great Wall, and gave us his recommendations, which I truly appreciated! Would highly recommend! It was a wonderful experience.

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  4. Anonymous

    While our tour guide was extremely nice, the tour lacked in information. I didn’t really learn much other than a few stats I could have looked up online (and a bit about the emperors’ concubines, which got repetitive). It was extremely long but I didn’t feel like I really explored much.

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  5. Anonymous

    I liked the tour a lot, and it was really interesting to learn about the history and customs of the China royal dinasties. On the day, part of the palace had been closed for some time, but the guide quickly rearranged the path so that we could keep enjoying our time. Good job!

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  6. Anonymous

    Our guide, Cindy was very informative and has answers to all our queries. She speaks fluent English, and can communicate well to any tourist in our group taking tour – from a 7-year old curious kid to 70sh granddad. When you book this tour, request for her.

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  7. Anonymous

    Can really cover all important check points in one go, but the pace is super quick. I am fine with the pace but my parents find it very tiring and difficult to catch up. Good for adults but not kids and elderly.

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  8. Anonymous

    Was nice to see the history of china. Worth the money

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  9. Anonymous

    Tour was ok. The guide was ok. Places seen were beautiful during winter. Van was a little crampy but everyone was seated ok.

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  10. Anonymous

    Awesome trip! Our guide was on time. Very knowledgeable and fun. They dropped us off the hotel too.

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  11. Anonymous

    Will recommend. Tour guides were exceptional and very accomidating

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  12. Anonymous

    Excellent and very good price, I will use again for sure.

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  13. Anonymous

    Must-see. Palace is HUGE, don’t underestimate it. Bring ur own drinks or water as cafes r limited. Hall of clocks and hall of treasures are so-so but it’s not a significant amount to top-up so why not! And another place to hide in the aircon

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  14. Anonymous

    It’s fast and easy . It helps with the crowded too. As you can print your bar code and just scan at the entrance. Don’t need to Q to buy the ticket. As the crowd is super crazy. Go in the morning to ease a little in going in.

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  15. Anonymous

    Super convenient. Doesn’t even need to collect any ticket. Can just enter the museum by just showing my passport. Also Fyi, the crowd is insane.

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  16. Anonymous

    It’s so easy for buy ticket by using Klook and got tickets. You just only use your passport for entrance at Forbidden Palace.

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  17. Anonymous

    Seamless experience. They register everything in the system so whenever entering the palace they check with your passport and you’re all good to go. Recommend it. The forbidden palace is of course a must see in Beijing. Often crowded so go very early!

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  18. Anonymous

    Just present the travel document to enter the Palace Museum because the staff only rely on the registered travel document number and name. No need to queue up for buying ticket, it may be sold out at the moment you walk in. It is worth to go there at least to spend a half day for visit.

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  19. Anonymous

    collection and redemption were a breeze. Highly recommended to beat the crowd.

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  20. Anonymous


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  22. Anonymous

    Thank you for raising your concern to us. We sincerely regret to hear that you had unsatisfactory experience and we take your feedback extremely seriously. Your case has been noted and passed to the local operator for further improvement. Your understanding will be much appreciated.

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  23. Anonymous

    My driver was late 30 mins. Other than that, tour guide is ok.

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  24. Anonymous

    Excellent relaxing and fun activity. Family enjoying very much.

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  25. Anonymous

    This is a nice trip which you visit in BeiJing! We had a good experience in this city. thanks!

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  26. Anonymous

    This is a nice trip which you visit in BeiJing! We had a good experience in this city. thanks!

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  27. Galit

    This is a perfect tour that covers many things in one day. My first compliment is on the timing – everything was going smoothe, and we are back at the hotel by 4pm. Our guide Henry was very knowledgable and I felt I could ask him everything. Lunch was exellent too, since I am allergic to soy I am limited in China but in this restaurant he took us I could eat everything they served! Compared to the tour I have taken to the great wall with this company, I've enjoyed this one way better.

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  28. David – Hong Kong

    great day and tour except bob was 50 min late and did not make time up at the end of tour. As he was the local we would of expected him to know about rail closers and crowed control check points at Tiananmen Square that made access hard but he did not know anything about them, hard to accept as we had found this all out ourself and had adjusted our plans to make it on time to meet him

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  29. Niall – Ireland

    We enjoyed our tour with Mike. He had a good sense of humor and the tour didn’t seem like 4 hours. He also helped us get to the temple of heaven after the tour. As a tip I would recommend to allow for more time after the tour to spend more time instead on your own as it is a large area and a lot to get through.

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  30. Nicole – Australia

    I had a great experience with these guys. Especially Helen, she was a great tour guide, very knowledgeable, good English and very caring about her team. My mum forgot her glasses on the van and Helen did everything she could for us to get her glasses back. Thank you so much Helen. We had a great time with you.

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  31. Anonymous – United Kingdom

    Perfect 1 day tour This is the perfect tour if you don’t have much time or if you are travelling with children. Everything ran on time, giving us enough time for a quick visit of the forbidden city, the Great Wall, a tea house, a Jade factory and a decent lunch. Very good price for what you get too.

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  32. VALLES – China

    It was a great day to visit both places but it would have been better to have more hours on the Great Wall rather than only 2 hours. Moreover prepare 120¥ to take the cable car (round trip) to the Great Wall because it wasn’t included in the final price of the trip ! Then, Jade industry visit and the tea time was a surprise because none of them was included in the description, but it was very interesting activities. Otherwise it was a very good experience !

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  33. Peter – United States

    This was the perfect way to see the Forbidden City. Our guide Anne was very knowledgeable and kept things at a nice pace. We were given time to explore on our own before moving on to the next area. This tour also made things much easier to get in to the Forbidden City. I highly recommend this tour.

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  34. Anonymous – Australia

    Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City are amazing places to see, there is no doubt. We were lucky that our Sunday morning tour on September 1st was not so busy as it was at the end of the Chinese holiday period – even so there were a LOT of visitors, and it was very hot, even at 8.30am!! An umbrella for shade (supplied by our guide) was useful and much appreciated. We were a little surprised that very few of the rooms in The Forbidden City are open to see. Most of the tour involved looking at the buildings from the outside, plus some museum areas displaying ceramics and brass. We enjoyed the small garden area towards the North gate, but our guide didn’t seem at all interested in this and did not stop here really. I think this was the most frustrating thing for us. We booked a 4.5 hour tour and finished about 45 minutes early, but at the same time we felt very rushed in some areas.

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  35. Anonymous – Bulgaria

    It is very convenient, Passport is your ticket, just go on the right side of the entrance and queue. When you reach the security they will just need to check your passport and verify you can enter. Try to skip the groups. I do not know, but there were a lit of people who were queuing but without any movement.

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  36. Katie – United Kingdom

    Stunning and intriguing – don't be put off by the crowds We pre-booked tickets for the Forbidden City using Get Your Guide and were glad we did as when we turned up it was sold up. Entering was simple – we just showed our passports – and we skipped all queues. Inside the Forbidden City is huge and impressive. We really enjoyed exploring.

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    Forbidden City Tickets 2019 (Entry, Prices & Times)
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