Secure Forbidden City Tickets: Ultimate Guide [2024]

The Ultimate Guide to Booking Forbidden City Tickets
The Ultimate Guide to Booking Forbidden City Tickets

Last Update on May 9th 2024:

Please note that you can no longer book Forbidden City tickets by email. Now, all tickets must be booked online

Lasted update on Jan 2024:

New Ticket Procedures at the Palace Museum from Nov 1, 2023

Good news! Starting November 1, the Palace Museum is streamlining the ticket checking process for all visitors.

How to Reserve a Spot:

  • You can book for either the morning or the afternoon.
  • Use the “Palace Museum” Mini program on WeChat to pick your time.

When to Show Your Ticket:

  • If you pick the morning, show your ticket by 12:00 PM.
  • If you pick the afternoon, start showing tickets at 11:00 AM.

Remember, to enjoy your visit without any wait, come at the time you picked!

Booking Forbidden City Tickets
The Ultimate Guide to Booking Forbidden City Tickets
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.

Getting tickets for the Forbidden City can can be challenging, especially for first-time visitors..

You can buy your tickets online up to 7 days in advance, but remember, you can’t purchase them on the day of your visit.

In this helpful guide, we’ll walk you through the simple steps to book your Forbidden City tickets online, so you can focus on having a fantastic time exploring one of China’s most famous landmarks.

If You Are in A Hurry

Here are the best third-party platforms to book tickets for major sites.

These platforms not only offer a streamlined ticket purchasing process but also provide additional benefits such as user reviews, package deals, and sometimes even discounted rates.

Forbidden City Ticket Prices

  • 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

How to Book Forbidden City Tickets

Below are the six best methods to book Forbidden City tickets. We’ll provide a step-by-step guide for each method to ensure a smooth booking experience:

# Booking Method
1 Book tickets through the Palace Museum’s official website
2 Book tickets on the Palace Museum’s official WeChat Mini Program on your phone
3 Book tickets via third-party booking websites such as Viator and Klook
4 Ask a Chinese-speaking friend or colleague for assistance with the booking process
5 Buy tickets in person
6 Choose a guided, hassle-free tour
book forbidden city tickets
The Ultimate Guide to Booking Forbidden City Tickets

1. Official Website Booking

Great news for visitors! The Forbidden City has recently reopened its ticket booking service, now available directly through its official website..

This easy online system lets you book a visit to the magnificent Forbidden City from home, allowing you to explore its rich history and stunning architecture with just a few clicks.

Follow these easy steps to book your tickets online: 

1. First, sign in with your email address.
booking forbidden city tickets

 

2. Once you’re signed in, click the red “Book Tickets” button.
booking forbidden city tickets

 

3. Pick the dates you want to visit and choose between a morning or afternoon trip.
booking forbidden city tickets

 

4.  Decide how many tickets you need.
booking forbidden city tickets

 

5. Click the “next” button.
booking forbidden city tickets

 

6. Fill in your personal info.
booking forbidden city tickets

 

7. Check your order to make sure everything’s right.
booking forbidden city tickets

 

8. Make your payment and you’ll get your reservation details.
booking forbidden city tickets

2. WeChat Mini Program Booking

The WeChat mini program is a convenient option for booking tickets online, provided you have WeChat installed on your device.

It’s 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:

  • adult
  • senior
  • minor
  • 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.

Forbidden City confirmation message
The Ultimate Guide to Booking Forbidden City Tickets

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.

How to Book Forbidden City Tickets via WeChat Mini Program

1. Avoid Mondays: First things first: the museum is closed on Mondays, so plan your visit accordingly.

2. Book Early: To avoid disappointment, be sure to book your tickets well in advance, especially during peak seasons.

3. Advance Booking: 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. Nightly Ticket Release: 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. Pre-enter Your Details: Enter Identity Information Early: By putting in your name and other details ahead of time, you can save time,thus enhance your chances of successfully purchasing tickets online for the Forbidden City.

6. Save Frequent Visitor Info: 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.

7. Carry ID for Ticket Collection: Don’t forget to bring your ID when picking up tickets at the South Gate of the Palace Museum.

8. Child Policy: 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.

9. Cancellation Policy: 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.

10. Expect Queues: Be prepared to queue for security checks and ticket collection, especially during busy periods.

11. Dress Appropriately: Lastly, wear comfortable shoes and clothing that’s suitable for walking and weather conditions.

3. Booking Forbidden City Tickets via Third-Party Websites

If you’re looking for more flexibility in ticket options or language support, online ticketing platforms can be a great option.

Websites such as Viator and Klook offer skip-the-line tickets.

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.

4. Assistance from a Chinese-Speaking Friend

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!

5. In-Person Ticket Purchases

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.

6. Opting for a Guided 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.

FAQs on Booking Tours and Tickets

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.

Booking Forbidden City Tickets
The Ultimate Guide to Booking Forbidden City Tickets

Quick Online Booking for Forbidden City Tickets

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.

I highly recommend using either Viator and Klook to book your tickets.

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. 

Don’t just take my word for it, though – check out the online reviews of Viator or Klook to see why they are the go-to platform for booking your Forbidden City tickets.

Essential FAQ on Booking 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?

A: Yes, you can book tickets to the Forbidden City online through the Palace Museum’s official website or independent booking platforms such as Viator or Klook.

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: Can I purchase Forbidden City tickets using an overseas phone number?

A: Many travelers have experienced difficulties when trying to use overseas phone numbers with the WeChat app for ticket purchases, often receiving an error message stating the number is invalid.

The recommended solution for international visitors is to book tickets through the Forbidden City’s official website, which offers an English version.

This method is designed to be straightforward and hassle-free, ensuring you can secure your visit without the need for a Chinese phone number.

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.

Alternatively, you can ask a Chinese-speaking friend or colleague for assistance or use online ticket vendors like Viator or Klook

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.

Booking Forbidden City Tickets
The Ultimate Guide to Booking Forbidden City Tickets

How to Reach the 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.

Booking Forbidden City Tickets
The Ultimate Guide to Booking Forbidden City Tickets

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.

Forbidden City Map

The Ultimate Guide to Booking Forbidden City Tickets

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).

Curious about the top places to stay in Beijing? Explore our guide to 7 Must-Stay Locations in Beijing: Culture Meets Comfort!

 

FAQs:

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
The Ultimate Guide to Booking Forbidden City Tickets

Conclusion 

Booking Forbidden City tickets online is a straightforward process, and with this comprehensive guide, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience. 

Remember to book well in advance, either via the WeChat mini programm, Email or online ticket vendors such as Viator or Klook.

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.

Lastly, to maximize your trip, ensure you don’t overlook the Temple of Heaven, a captivating destination merely 4km from Tiananmen Square.

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:

Planning a visit to Xi’an?

Discover the ultimate guide to purchasing Terracotta Army Museum tickets online and unlock valuable tips for an unforgettable experience.

Wishing you enjoyable travels!

Booking Forbidden City Tickets

 

Ricky

10 Responses to “Secure Forbidden City Tickets: Ultimate Guide [2024]”

  1. Indy

    Hi, what is the name of the WeChat mini programme? I want to search it within WeChat but , Oh, and you mentioned a QR code – I might have missed it, many thanks

  2. Ricky

    Hello! The name of the WeChat mini program is “故宫博物院.” My apologies for the oversight. As for the QR code, it should be on the lower part of the page. If you’re having trouble seeing it, let me know and I’ll assist further. Thank you for reaching out!

  3. Yvonne

    Hi there,
    Can I check do we need a China mobile number in order to purchase the entrance ticket from the Wechat mini program?

    • Ricky

      Yes, for many WeChat mini programs, especially those tailored for local services or events in China, a China mobile number is often required for verification purposes. This is to ensure authenticity and to provide a point of contact for any transactional communications. If you’re looking to purchase an entrance ticket from a WeChat mini program, having a China mobile number can be a crucial step in the process. It might be helpful to consult with someone locally or check if there are alternative purchasing methods available if you don’t have a China mobile number.

    • Ricky

      Thanks so much for reaching out with your question! While I’m not entirely sure about recent email bookings, I’ve got a super tip for you: why not give the website a try? You can visit https://bookingticket.dpm.org.cn/ to book directly. It’s quick, easy, and you’ll get all the info you need in just a few clicks!

  4. Jenny

    Re booking via email. We will only know if we are successful in getting the tickets the following day. So if unsuccessful, that means got to try again for another day?

    • Ricky

      Yes, if you’re booking Forbidden City tickets via email or any official platform, you’ll typically find out if your booking was successful the day after you submit your request. This means if you don’t secure tickets for your preferred date, you indeed need to try again for another day. The booking process for the Forbidden City is designed to accommodate the massive interest from both local and international visitors, with tickets being released 7 days in advance and a daily visitor limit set to ensure a manageable and enjoyable experience for everyone​.

      The system requires accurate passport information for all visitors at the time of booking because tickets are tied to individual identities to prevent fraud and resale. If unsuccessful on your first attempt, it’s advisable to have a few alternative dates in mind and try to book for those as soon as you can, given the high demand, especially during peak tourist seasons​.

      Additionally, it’s important to remember that the Forbidden City does not sell same-day tickets, emphasizing the need to book in advance. With visitor numbers capped daily, early booking not only secures your entry but also aids in planning your visit more smoothly, allowing for a better overall experience of this historic site​.

      For a hassle-free visit, it’s recommended to familiarize yourself with the entry procedures and make use of the various resources available for planning your tour route through the Forbidden City. This ensures you get to see the highlights and have an enriching visit​.

  5. Daniel

    May I ask whether the booking by email still work? I can’t see the email booking instruction on the English website anymore

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