Lasted update on Oct 1st, 2023:
Quick Guide to Online Forbidden City Tickets
- Enter Identity Information Early: By putting in your name and other details ahead of time, you can save time.
- Add Frequent Viewers: If you often buy tickets for the same people, you can save their names and details. This makes it quicker to buy tickets next time.
By following these steps, you’ll improve your chances of successfully buying tickets online for the Forbidden City, making the process quicker and easier
Stop Waiting in Line: Book Forbidden City Tickets Like a Pro
The Forbidden City, a popular tourist attraction in Beijing, offers up to 40,000 tickets per day for visitors to explore its vast complex of historic buildings, courtyards, and gardens.
Booking tickets for the Forbidden City can be challenging, especially for first-time visitors.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the steps of booking Forbidden City tickets online, so you can focus on enjoying your trip to one of China’s most iconic landmarks.
How Much Is a Ticket to the Forbidden City?
- From April 1st to October 31st (Peak Season): the admission fee is 60 RMB per person.
- From November 1st to March 31st (Off-Peak Season): the admission fee is 40 RMB per person.
- Treasure Hall and Clock Museum Tickets: 10 RMB per person for each exhibit.
Admission Fee Structure
|Duration||Season||Admission Fee (RMB)|
|April 1st to October 31st||Peak Season||60 RMB per person|
|November 1st to March 31st||Off-Peak Season||40 RMB per person|
|Treasure Hall (per exhibit)||N/A||10 RMB per person|
|Clock Museum (per exhibit)||N/A||10 RMB per person|
Five Ways to Book Forbidden City Tickets
Below are the five best methods to book Forbidden City tickets. We’ll provide a step-by-step guide for each method to ensure a smooth booking experience:
- Book tickets on the Palace Museum’s official WeChat Mini Program on your phone
- Book tickets via third-party booking websites such as Viator and Klook
- Ask a Chinese-speaking friend or colleague for assistance with the booking process
- Buy tickets in person
- Choose a guided, hassle-free tour
1. Book Tickets on The Palace Museum’s Official We Chat Mini Program
Since the Forbidden City has stopped offering ticket booking through their official website, the WeChat mini program is currently the only option available for booking tickets online, provided you have WeChat installed on your device.
It’s the most reliable, yet somewhat complicated way to buy tickets, with options available for both single and multiple-entry passes.
However, non-Chinese speakers can use Google Translate to get a general understanding of the WeChat mini-programs content, even though the translation may not be entirely accurate.
Step 1: Follow the Palace Museum’s official account and enter the mini program
To book tickets for the Forbidden City, start by opening WeChat.
Search for “故宫博物院” or scan the QR code provided below to access the mini program.
Step 2: Select “Buy Tickets and Make Reservations”
Step 3: Choose the date of the visit
Select the date of your visit here.
You can choose any day and time within the next 7 days, subject to availability.
It’s important to note that tickets are often sold out weeks in advance, especially during peak seasons, so book well in advance to secure your preferred date and time.
Step 4: Select the morning or afternoon session to purchase tickets
Once you have selected the date and time of your visit, choose the morning or afternoon session you require and proceed to payment.
Step 5: Choose the type of ticket
Choose the type of ticket, which includes:
- and student
Step 6: Complete the form with your personal information.
Step 7: Make a Payment.
You can pay using a credit or debit card, or via online payment services such as Alipay or WeChat Pay.
After payment, you will receive a confirmation of your booking, which you can present at the entrance to the Forbidden City.
On the day of your visit, go to the entrance of the Forbidden City and present your confirmation to collect your tickets.
Make sure to bring a valid form of ID, such as a passport or ID card, to verify your identity.
It’s important to arrive at the entrance at least 30 minutes before your scheduled entry time to allow for ticket collection and security checks.
Additionally, please take note of the last entry times and closing hours:
- Between April 1 and October 31, the last entry to the Forbidden City is at 4:10pm, and the closing time is at 5:00pm.
- Between November 1 and March 31, the last entry to the Forbidden City is at 3:40pm, and the closing time is at 4:30pm.
Tips for Booking Forbidden City Tickets Online via We Chat Mini Program
1. First things first: the museum is closed on Mondays, so plan your visit accordingly.
2. To avoid disappointment, be sure to book your tickets well in advance, especially during peak seasons.
3. You can purchase tickets up to 7 days ahead of time, but you can’t buy them on the day of your visit. It’s a good idea to book at least one day in advance.
4. Tickets may become available at 8-9 pm each night, but there’s no set number released, and they can sell out quickly.
So set an alarm and be ready to purchase tickets!
5. Don’t forget to bring your ID when picking up tickets at the South Gate of the Palace Museum.
6. If you’re bringing kids, keep in mind that children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult, and one adult can bring up to 3 kids.
7. And remember, if you can’t make it, be sure to cancel your ticket in advance.
Missing your booking three times within 180 days will result in a 60-day ban from booking tickets to the Palace Museum.
8. Be prepared to queue for security checks and ticket collection, especially during busy periods.
9. Lastly, wear comfortable shoes and clothing that’s suitable for walking and weather conditions.
2. Book Tickets via Third-Party Booking Websites
If you’re looking for more flexibility in ticket options or language support, online ticketing platforms can be a great option.
In my opinion, they are the most cost-effective ways to book tickets online.
However, it’s important to do your research before booking through these websites, though, as prices and availability can vary.
3. Ask a Chinese-Speaking Friend or Colleague for Assistance with The Booking Process
If you have a friend or colleague who speaks Chinese, asking for their assistance in booking tickets can be a great option.
This is especially helpful if you encounter any issues during the booking process or need help navigating the Chinese-only Palace Museum website.
They may even be able to score you a better deal or insider tip!
4. Buy Tickets in Person
For those who prefer to handle things in person, buying tickets at the entrance is an option.
However, only the following three groups are allowed to make on-site reservations at the service window on the east side of the Meridian Gate:
- Elderly individuals over 60 years of age
- Minors under 18 years of age
- Disabled individuals with a valid disability certificate
Additionally, tickets may sell out, so it’s important to arrive early to ensure availability.
5. Choose a Guided, Hassle-Free Tour
For a truly hassle-free experience, consider booking a guided tour of the Forbidden City.
Many tour companies offer skip-the-line access, English-speaking guides, and transportation to and from the attraction.
This option may be more expensive, but it can save time and provide a more in-depth understanding of the history and culture behind the Forbidden City.
Questions on Choosing a Guided Tour
Q: I was reading your post about buying tickets for the Forbidden city (unfortunately, I missed out) and you recommend going for tour companies and some of them advertise for the dates that are sold out at the official website.
Is that a scam or they actually have pre-booked tickets? I would like to book a tour for Sunday but am hesitant as I don’t understand if it is reliable.
A: Regarding your question about tour companies advertising sold-out dates for the Forbidden City, it’s essential to exercise caution.
While some tour companies may indeed have pre-booked tickets or access to additional tickets, there is also a possibility of scams or unethical practices.
To ensure reliability, I would recommend doing some research on the tour company you’re considering.
Look for reviews and testimonials from previous customers to get an idea of their reputation.
Check if they are registered, licensed, or associated with reputable travel organizations.
Additionally, you can reach out to them directly and ask about their ticket procurement process, including how they manage to secure tickets for sold-out dates.
What is the Quick and Easy Way to Book Forbidden City Tickets Online?
The best way to book Forbidden City tickets online is to use the Palace Museum’s official WeChat mini program (if you know Chinese) or online travel platforms such as Viator or Klook.
They offer a fast, reliable, and hassle-free way to get your tickets, and it’s incredibly convenient.
All you need to do is show your passport at the entrance, and they’ll enter your passport number into their system.
Then you’ll be granted access to the Forbidden City to explore its stunning architecture and rich history.
If you’re a history and architecture enthusiast, be sure to allocate enough time to fully appreciate all the nooks and crannies of this magnificent site.
Top Questions on How to Book Forbidden City Tickets Online:
Q: Do I need to buy the Forbidden City tickets in advance?
A: Yes, it is highly recommended to purchase Forbidden City tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
The Forbidden City is a popular tourist attraction in Beijing, and there can be long queues and limited ticket availability, particularly during holidays and weekends.
Buying tickets in advance helps ensure that you have a reserved entry time and can avoid waiting in line for an extended period.
Q: I run into your blog after being unable to book 2 tickets for the Forbidden city online. P your advice, 8pm-9pm is the time I will look for openings.
We also think to go early before the opening and wait in the line by the passports/ Meridian gate (we can do that on May 14, or on the 16, thats when we can visit the Forbidden city).
I d appreciate your insight about our plan B and C.
A: It’s a good idea to check for ticket availability between 8pm-9pm, as that’s typically when the system releases unclaimed tickets.
As for your plan B, unfortunately, since April 10th, If you have not booked a ticket to the Forbidden City, please note that, due to the new policy, it is currently impossible to purchase tickets in person.
However, the following three groups are allowed to make on-site reservations at the service window on the east side of the Meridian Gate:
- Elderly individuals over 60 years of age
- Minors under 18 years of age
- Disabled individuals with a valid disability certificate
It is recommended to plan ahead and secure tickets before arrival to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit to this iconic attraction.
Q: Can I book Forbidden City tickets online?
Q: How far in advance should I book my Forbidden City tickets online?
A: It is recommended to book your tickets at least five days in advance, especially during peak season.
This ensures availability and avoids long wait times at the entrance.
Q: What types of tickets can I purchase online?
A: You can purchase single or multiple-entry passes for the Forbidden City, as well as combined tickets for the Palace Museum and other attractions.
Q: What if I cannot read Chinese on the booking website?
A: If you cannot read Chinese, you can try using Google Translate to gain a general understanding of the content.
Q: Can I purchase Forbidden City tickets in person?
A: Unfortunately, no, they are not.
The Forbidden City does not offer same-day ticket sales in order to manage visitor numbers and maintain the preservation of the historical site.
However, visitors can purchase tickets in advance through various methods, such as online or at authorized ticket vendors.
It is recommended to plan ahead and secure tickets before arrival to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit to this iconic attraction
Q: How to collect your tickets and enter the Palace Museum?
A: To enter the Forbidden City, you don’t need to have hard-copy tickets.
After booking your tickets online, simply bring your passports on the selected date and time and scan them for direct entry at the Forbidden City’s entrance and galleries.
Before you go, it’s essential to check the map and read top tips for a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Q: Can I reenter the Forbidden City on the same ticket?
A: No. Traditionally, tickets for visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, are valid for a single entry.
Once a guest who has had their ticket scanned for entry leaves the Forbidden City, they will not be permitted to return using the same ticket.
It’s best to check with the official ticketing authorities or consult the updated information available on their website or contact them directly for the most accurate and current information regarding reentry policies.
How to Get to Forbidden City in Beijing
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get to the Forbidden City:
1. Take the subway:
The easiest and most convenient way to get to the Forbidden City is by taking the subway.
Line 1 stops at Tiananmen East Station, which is the closest station to the Forbidden City.
From there, it’s a short walk to the entrance.
2. Take a taxi:
Taxis are readily available throughout the city and can be a good option if you have heavy luggage or want to avoid crowds on public transportation.
Just be aware that traffic in Beijing can be quite congested, especially during rush hour.
3. Take a bus:
Several bus routes stop near the Forbidden City, including buses 1, 2, 10, 20, 52, 59, 82, 90, 120, 126, 203, 205, 728, and 802.
However, navigating the bus system in Beijing can be challenging for non-Chinese speakers.
4. Take a tour:
Many tour companies offer guided tours of the Forbidden City, which can be a great option if you want to learn more about the history and culture of this ancient site.
Tours typically include transportation to and from the site, as well as admission tickets and a guide.
5. Walk or bike:
If you’re staying in the nearby area, walking or biking to the Forbidden City can be a great way to explore the city and get some exercise at the same time.
Just be aware that Beijing’s streets can be busy and crowded, so use caution and follow traffic rules.
By following one of these methods, you can easily get to the Forbidden City and begin exploring the wonders of this historic landmark.
Forbidden City Map
Below, you will find a map of the Forbidden City.
By utilizing this map, you can start your exploration from the South entrance, also known as the Meridian Gate.
From there, you can discover both the central buildings located along the axis and the structures flanking to the East and West.
After your exploration, you can make your way to the exit through the North gate.
Where to Stay Near the Forbidden City
Looking for the best place to stay by Beijing’s historic Forbidden City? We’ve handpicked some top choices for you!
Fancy Option: Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing Beijing – Just a short stroll from the Forbidden City, the Mandarin Oriental is the epitome of elegance. Dive into their luxurious beds, experience gourmet dining, and let their top-tier services sweep you off your feet. To unwind? Their serene spa is pure magic. ($450-700/night)
Middle Option: Hotel Kapok Beijing – Perfectly situated near the Forbidden City, this hotel offers both style and value. You’ll be charmed by its contemporary design, friendly staff, and the rooftop lounge that offers stunning city views. A gem in the heart of Beijing! ($160-260/night)
Budget Pick: Hutong Courtyard Beijing – Experience Beijing’s heritage without stretching your budget. This charming hotel, set in a historic hutong, offers a blend of tradition and modern comforts. You’ll love its cozy atmosphere, classic architecture, and the fact that it’s so close to the Forbidden City. ($30-70/night).
Frequently Asked Questions About Forbidden City:
1. Is the Forbidden City open to the public?
A: Yes, the Forbidden City is open to the public.
However, due to its popularity, visitors are required to purchase tickets in advance and follow a designated route through the palace complex.
2. What can tourists do in the Forbidden City?
A: Tourists can explore the various palaces, gardens, and pavilions within the Forbidden City, as well as view the extensive collection of historical artifacts on display.
There are also guided tours and cultural performances available.
3. When did the Forbidden City open to the public?
A: The Forbidden City opened to the public as a museum in 1925, after the fall of the Qing dynasty.
4. How much is a ticket to the Forbidden City?
A: As of 2023, the ticket price for the Forbidden City is 60 RMB for peak season (April 1 to October 31) and 40 RMB for the off-peak season (November 1 to March 31).
5. How much of the Forbidden City is open to the public?
A: Currently, about 70% of the Forbidden City is open to the public, with some areas restricted for restoration and preservation purposes.
6. Can anyone go to the Forbidden City?
A: Yes, anyone can visit the Forbidden City by purchasing a ticket and following the rules and regulations of the palace complex.
7. How long does it take to walk through the Forbidden City?
A: It typically takes about 3 hours to walk through the Forbidden City and explore its main attractions.
However, visitors can spend longer if they want to fully appreciate the beauty and history of the palace complex.
8. What is the best time to visit the Forbidden City?
A: The best time to visit the Forbidden City is during the early spring (April to May) and autumn (late September to early November), when the weather is mild.
While there are some peak times with larger crowds, these seasons generally offer a more enjoyable experience for visitors.
To avoid the largest crowds, it is recommended to arrive early in the morning when the palace complex first opens, or to visit in the afternoon after the peak visitor times have passed.
9. Why is no one allowed in the Forbidden City?
A: The Forbidden City was once the exclusive residence of the imperial family and their entourage and was considered off-limits to the general public.
Today, it is a museum and popular tourist attraction, but there are still some areas that are restricted to preserve historical artifacts and structures.
Booking Forbidden City tickets online is a straightforward process, and with this comprehensive guide, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.
Bring a valid form of ID, and allow plenty of time for ticket collection and security checks.
With these tips, you’re sure to enjoy your visit to one of China’s most iconic landmarks.
Immerse yourself fully by combining visits to the Square, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven.
Additionally, when planning your delightful one-day city tour in Beijing, make sure to include a visit to the enchanting Summer Palace.
This magnificent attraction adds a touch of grandeur and beauty to your itinerary, perfectly complementing the must-see destinations of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven.
Please note that the Forbidden City is closed on Mondays. This makes it an ideal day to visit the Mutianyu Great Wall instead.
For a detailed guide and additional tips on how to explore the Mutianyu Great Wall, please refer to the following post: Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Mutianyu Great Wall (+ 6 FAQs)
To further enhance your Beijing experience, especially your visit to the Forbidden City, we recommend exploring the following informative posts.
They are packed with fascinating insights and useful tips that cover various aspects of the Forbidden City.
This will ensure you discover even more reasons to be enchanted by this historical wonder:
- An Insider’s Guide to Delving into The Forbidden City
- 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Visiting The Forbidden City
- Forbidden City FAQs: The Ultimate Guide to a Seamless Visit!
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Wishing you enjoyable travels!