This is our exclusive Forbidden City tour where we go deeply into the Chinese History with our Expert “Professor” Guide. We won’t miss any area that a common 2 hours tour does.You'll see mythical historic places with no rush at all, and getting the full picture with comprehensive explanations. Skip the lines at the Forbidden City as China Highlights VIP guests. In this 600-year-old building complex with 9,999½ forbidden imperial chambers, today NOWHERE is closed and NO secret is kept from you.

Tour Highlights

  • See the real scene of the movie The Last Emperor at the Forbidden City.
  • Being amazed by the largest imperial palace (with 9,999½ palaces) in the world.
  • Discover the hidden history of Chinese imperial life.
  • Skip the lines at the Forbidden City as a China Highlights’ VIP guest.
  • See all the important places that a common 2 hours tour won't do with no rush at all.

Call Us “Forbidden City Geeks”

Some people enjoy computers, some enjoy boats, and we enjoy the Forbidden City. Mythical stories and interesting facts are what we, the expert guides, enjoy about the world’s largest imperial palace. We guide people to the sites of the Forbidden City every two days, all year round. We find it fun to look for something new and provide an untraditional experience, and hope you do, too.

Trippest customers at the Forbidden City Customers at the Forbidden City

Detailed Itinerary

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8:20 am - 8:30 amMeet at the subway exit A of Qianmen Station (地铁前门站).

Meet at the subway exit A of Qianmen Station (地铁前门站A出口) at 8:30am. Your tour guide will be waiting for you with other tour members, holding a sign with the China Highlights logo on. You can get there by subway or taxi.

Please make sure to arrive punctually as the trip must begin on time. If for some reason you cannot get there by the specified time, please make a call to your tour guide (listed on the confirmation letter that we will send you the day before your departure) and your tour guide will try his or her best to help you.

Meet your guide at Qianmen Station Mee your guide at Qianmen Station

Good to Know:

  • How to get to the meeting point by Subway?
    You can take subway line 2 to the Qianmen Station and go to exit A. The first train of line 2 runs at about 5:03 am and the last train ends at about 21:55 pm. The ticket price for the train starts from CNY 3 Yuan based on the distance of your trip.

Beijing Subway Line 2 Beijing Subway Line 2

A Map Guide of the Forbidden City A Map Guide of the Forbidden City (click to enlarge)

8:30 am - 9:15 amVisit the Tian'anmen Square

You will visit the Tian'anmen Square - the largest urban square in the world where you can see the famous portrait of Chairman Mao hanging on the red wall. You can take pictures and walk around at the square. You guide will give you a background information of this famous square.

Tian'anmen Square Tian'anmen Square

9:15 am - 11:45 amVisit the Forbidden City

Walk to the entrance of the Forbidden City and start your visit to the Forbidden City. Your expert guide will show you around the Forbidden City and tell you a lot of interesting stories, revealing the true Chinese imperial life and history. With more than 600 years of history, 24 emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasties lived in the Forbidden City. It is the largest imperial palace in the world and is listed as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO; it is now open to the public as the Palace Museum.

China Highlights Refreshment KioskA visiting route to the Forbidden City (click to enlarge)

At the Meridian Gate, you'll hear a brief introduction about the Meridian Gate, which is famous as a place to penalize offending officials in the Qing Dynasty.

the Meridian Gate The Meridian Gate

Turn right and enter the Hall of Literary Glory, which functions as the exhibition hall for porcelain at present. Your guide will present the procedure for making golden bricks, porcelains, and pillars on an iPad.

Take a toboggan down the mountain The porcelain exhibition in the Hall of Literary Glory

Back to the Central Axis Way, you will see a grand square in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony. Your guide’s presentation will answer your questions, like: Where is the throne of the Chinese emperors? How did the emperor have an audience with high-ranking officials? What is the significance of the sundial, bronze turtle statue, stork statue, huge copper vat, etc.

Hall of Supreme Harmony The Hall of Supreme Harmony

Visit the Hall of Complete Harmony and Hall of Preserving Harmony, which respectively functioned as the place for the emperor to change his costume before grand ceremonies and the venue for the annual imperial exams.

Walk along the white marble balustrate and descend from the main palaces. On the way you will see a high stone slab with a dragon and cloud design. It weighs about 200 tons. Our presenter will enlighten you as to how they were transferred into the Forbidden City.

Walk to the eastern side of the Forbidden City to see the Clock Exhibition Hall and famous Nine Dragon Screen.

The Clock Exhibition Hall The Clock Exhibition Hall

Walk along the red palace wall to the Palace of Prolonging Happiness to view remains of the most ingenious building in the Forbidden City — the Crystal Palace. Our iPad presentation will show you what it once looked like.

Your guide will show you on the iPad Your guide will show you on the iPad

Cross the Central Axis Way to view the Hall of Heavenly Purity and the Hall of Earthly Tranquility, which used to be respectively the audience hall for high ranking officials and the venue for emperors’ wedding ceremonies.

Leaving the Inner Palace Courtyard, stroll along the side of the Western Chamber. Your next stop is the Hall of Mental Cultivation, where you can see the screen that was between the throne of “the Little Emperor” and his mother — “the Dragon Lady”. It is where the renowned historical events known as "Power Behind the Screen" took place. Of course your guide will be giving elucidation, showing pictures and bringing back to clarity the life of those historical figures for you.

Visit the Palace of Eternal Spring, once the residence of the most influential political figure in late Qing Dynasty — the Dragon Lady, Empress Dowager Cixi. Though many experts criticized her about utilizing Chinese navy funding for building her own garden, which caused defeat in the war with Japan in 1898, she is also credited in the history of China as the benefactor of the first railway, first telegraph, first coalmine, and even first stock share. Your guide will show you her life on his iPad.

Lastly you will be shown to the imperial garden and view the artificial rockery, surrounded by peonies and trees in beautiful shapes. Some of them looks like animals of the Chinese zodiac. The last palace you will see is called ‘Feast Pavilion’. In the Qing Dynasty the annual selection of the emperor's concubines happened there, and their story and that of the eunuchs will be presented.

Finally you will come to Spiritual Valor Gate (神武门) which is the north gate of the Forbidden City.

The Spiritual Valor Gate The Spiritual Valor Gate

11:45 am - 12:30 pmVisit Jingshan Park

Later on you will visit Jingshan Park which is located in front of the Forbidden City. It is said to be the best position to get a panoramic view of the Forbidden City. Definitely not to be missed, Jingshan Park is located on the central axis of Beijing and has many historic buildings symmetrically located on both sides. You will see the Drum and Bell Tower to the north while the Forbidden City and Tian'anmen Square can be seen to the south.

Your tour will end at Jingshan Park. After the tour, you can take the subway or a taxi back to your hotel. Your guide will show you the best ways to get back to your hotel or other places you are interested in visiting.

Jingshan Park A panoramic view of the Forbidden City from Jingshan Park

Schedule and Pricing

Seasons Adult (age 12+) Child (age 2 – 11) Infant (age < 2)
All Seasons $ 49 USD $ 44 USD free

Important Notes:

  1. The tour group requires at least 2 people.
  2. You'll be a part of a small group with maximum 8 people.

Price Include:

  • Admission to the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park.
  • English-speaking expert local guide.

Price Exclude:

  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off.
  • Lunch
  • Gratuities to the tour guide & driver (usually CNY 50 - 100 per person per day for each of them, please tip them separately.). It is not compulsory but would be a great encouragement for them.

FAQs About This Tour

What is your cancellation policy?
  •  If we are not able to implement the contract due to war, flood, typhoon, fire, strikes, storm, earthquake, or any other condition we are not able to foresee and avoid, we will inform customers at the first possible opportunity and offer the best possible solutions, and the final bill shall be settled based on the service we actually provide.
  •  Up to 7 days before departure: 100% refund of all money paid, excluding penalties charged by hotels, railways, airlines, and PayPal, if applicable. All penalties will be itemized.
  •  From 3 to 7 days before departure: 90% refund, excluding penalties charged by hotels, railways, airlines, and PayPal, if applicable. All penalties will be itemized.
  •  Within 3 days before departure: no refund.
  •  After the trip has commenced, we are unable to refund any amount for cancelled services due to non-participation, early departure, late arrival, or missed days on tours.
  •  For groups of more than 10 people: The terms for cancellation may vary from case to case. Please ask your travel advisor regarding the cancellation policy for your group.
Can I apply the 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy?

Citizens of certain countries who meet the criteria are allowed 72-hour visa-free transit via and travel in nine China cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi'an, Guilin, Shenyang, and Dalian. Please make sure you have read the detailed Visa-free policies before you decide to take the Visa-free policy. And please keep in mind that China Highlights does not take any resposibility for the risk or loss of customer who use the Visa-free policy. more details

What Makes Us Different

In-depth Discovery

We take you to see places in the Forbidden City that you would never find by yourself. By going with us you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Get audio-visual insights into Chinese feudal society and emperors’ lives: 24 emperors, 14 in the Ming and 10 in the Qing Dynasty reigned over China from the Forbidden City.
  • Discover the extravagance of Chinese royal architecture beneath the surface: timber from 100,000 Chinese cedars, 12 years making bricks, and 300 tons of gold leaf went into making almost 10,000 rooms for one man — the Chinese emperor!
  • Learn how and when Chinese culture and customs came into being, and how they were passed on.

In-depth Discovery In-depth Discovery

So much funny and vivid stories

Instead of seeing a standard succession of similar rooms, and listening to textbook-like guide recitals, we attempt to bring imperial times to life for you through fascinating stories, anecdotes with original pictures, and videos shown on an iPad.

So much funny and vivid stories So much funny and vivid stories

Expertised and knowledgeable guide

Our Forbidden City presenters are tested and certified to our high standards in history and architecture knowledge and English. We try to bridge the gap between “old” and “new” China, and let you know how Chinese culture and customs came into being.

Expertised and knowledgeable guide Expertised and knowledgeable guide

We have our own office in Beijing

Unlike some other online travel agents who sell tour products made by local travel agents, we built our own branch company in Beijing in 2010, and since then we started to make our own unique products. We aim to deliver a high-value tour to every one of our customers. We have more than 50 local staff in Beijing to solve your problems on the spot.

  • Emergency contact: +86-13910694045 (24/7 customer service)
  • Beijing address: Room 204, Building 8, Beijingxiangsu, Wuliqiao Erjie, Chaoyang District

Trippest Beijing Office Trippest Beijing Office

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Price from US$49 p/p
Price from $49