7 Tips on visiting The Palace Museum (Forbidden City)

The Palace Museum (formerly Forbidden City/ Imperial Palace), no doubt is the highlight of the trip, especially if you are paying very first visit to Beijing, China. But…you will also find this magnificent palace is always busy and crowded, tour groups come and go, whistling noise everywhere like this:

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Oh darn…this is so annoying, right?  Thinking of skipping this place? No, you shouldn’t! It is still worth visiting. There are some tips I would like to share with you based on my previous visit. You can still enjoy your tour, taking nice photograph, feel the environment and study the history!

#1 Visit early morning/ late afternoon

Get there before 8:30am (operation starts), not that many tours you will see. Get to Tiananmen (the front entrance to the palace), which is also a must see monument and be ready to buy your entrance ticket to the palace. Otherwise, do your tour in the late afternoon, but I’m sure you’ll be missing out a lot of things.

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#2 Avoid weekends and public holidays

Do not schedule your visit in the weekends and public holidays, especially the National Day Golden Week (begins Oct 1st), your tour will be totally ruined.

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#3 Dress comfortably

As you will be spending hours touring around, a pair of good shoe is important. Make sure your attire is proper and comfortable.

 

#4 Get guidance

How can you not study this historic site? Get a map, book, an audio guide (advisable, rent at the counter near the entrance) or hire a reliable tour guide if you don’t mind spending a little bit more money.
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#5 Explore the palace

There are 3 major routes you can do the tour, the east, central axis and west. Many tour companies take central axis route that basically takes about an hour or two. Since you have paid for the entrance fee, why not explore all the gems?
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#6 Get to the right entrance

There are two entrances to the palace – the southern gate (午门wu3 men2) and the northern gate (神武门shen2 wu3 men2). The southern gate is right behind Tiananmen, where you should begin your tour here because the route is officially set one-way from south to north (front to back). Getting the wrong entrance will mess up everything.
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#7 Get up to Jingshan Park for panoramic view 

This is another not to be missed place where you can have a panoramic view of the palace and Beijing city. You will see the park situated across the main road after exiting the northern gate.
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Operation hours :

8:30am – 7:00pm (peak season from Apr to Oct) /8:30am – 4:30pm (off season from Nov to Mar)

Closed on Monday

Website : http://www.dpm.org.cn/index1024768.html

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3 thoughts on “7 Tips on visiting The Palace Museum (Forbidden City)

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