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  1. China
  2. Beijing
  3. Forbidden City

Lonely Planet Experiences: Small-Group Beijing City Tour

Product ID: 10724
Stroll in the Temple of Heaven Park and visit a Taoist temple, eat a local lunch and ride the subway, visit historical Tiananmen Square, enter the incredible Forbidden City, and see amazing views from Jingshan Park on this guided Beijing walking tour.
About this activity
Duration: 6 hours
Printed or mobile voucher accepted
Instant confirmation
Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

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Experience

Highlights
  • Join tai chi and traditional pastimes in the Temple of Heaven Park
  • Explore the iconic Tiananmen Square and understand its local significance
  • Blend in with the locals by taking part in their morning exercises in Temple of Heaven Park
  • Discover the secrets of the Forbidden City as your guide tells you its secrets and lore
  • Climb to the top of Jingshan Park for great views over ancient Beijing
Full description
Experience the best travel stories for yourself! Join a local expert and uncover hidden gems on this Lonely Planet Experience.

Looking for the ultimate Beijing city tour? This just might be it. Hit the icons, partake in local activities, ride the subway, and gain insight into life as a local right here on this Beijing city tour.

Meet your local guide at the east gate of Temple of Heaven metro station, and start your Beijing tour with a bit of morning exercise with locals in one of the city’s most popular parks and historical sites, Temple of Heaven Park. It is full of people of all ages taking part in traditional pastimes such as tai chi, fan dancing, diablo, kite flying, water calligraphy, and more.

Join in some of the activities, soaking up the park’s relaxed atmosphere. Visit the temple and ritual sites inside, where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would offer sacrifices to heaven and pray for good harvests.

From there, jump on Beijing's subway to travel to the very heart of the city for a visit to one of Beijing's icons: Tiananmen Square.

As we wander through this immense square your local guide will enlighten you as to why Tiananmen is so special to the Chinese people. From there, we'll pass through the Gate of Heavenly Peace (adorned with its famous Mao portrait) to enter the famed Forbidden City. Off-limits to most of the world for 500 years, this ‘city’ houses the best preserved cluster of ancient buildings in China, and is a must-see spot in Beijing. Discover some of its secrets and learn about some of the legends while enjoying a tour through its many buildings.

After leaving the Forbidden City,  grab a simple lunch at a local restaurant to devour tasty authentic Chinese food. Then continue to gain a new perspective of the immensity of the Forbidden City from the top of the pagoda in Jingshan Park. High on a hill overlooking the city, this is the best place to take in stunning views of not only the Forbidden City, but the ancient heart of Beijing.

This ultimate Beijing tour will end in Jingshan Park, where you are free to spend more time exploring, or head back into the heart of Beijing to take in more of the city’s sights.

If you would like to continue to experience what real grass root is like in the hutong areas, and sample some of the most popular snacks in Beijing, feel free to join us in the afternoon Beijing food tour at 16:00. Your local guide can give you more information if you are interested.
Includes
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Transport & entrance fees as indicated
  • Entrance to the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, and other historical sites mentioned
  • Lunch
What’s Not Included
  • Entry to historical sites inside the Temple of Heaven Park
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Outside East Gate of the Temple of Heaven (in Chinese:天坛东门). You can reach this meeting point either by taking Metro Line 5 and getting off at Tiantandongmen Station, or you can take a taxi here by showing the Chinese script for East Gate of Temple of Heaven to your driver.

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Important information
Know before you go
• During national holidays and on weekends, sites in Beijing can be extremely crowded. If you wish to avoid the busiest times, visiting Beijing outside of these periods or taking your Urban Adventure on a week day are recommended.

• You will be walking most of the day so please make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes

The Forbidden City has now implemented a "real name" ticketing system that requires us to give visitors' full names and passport numbers when booking tickets to the Forbidden City. Please ensure that you provide this information in the Special Request box at the time of booking your Urban Adventures Beijing Insight tour.

Chinese law requires that all travellers must provide their name, gender, nationality, passport number and birthdate to their tour operator. Failure to do so could result in a traveller not being able to join their tour, or for the entire group to be denied access to sites. Please fill out these details when booking and bring your passport.
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 9 reviews

Review summary

  • Service
    4.6 / 5
  • Organization
    4.1 / 5
  • Value for money
    4.4 / 5
  • Safety
    4.6 / 5
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Very interesting & informative, a great way to see these amazing sites

Getting to Temple of Heaven from our hotel was a breeze, and had no trouble meeting up with our guide and other group members. Lots of walking but at a good pace that allowed for photos as well as information sharing. Travelling on the subway to Tiananmen Square was fun. The Forbidden City was fabulous and our guide was great in helping us see the best of this massive site. Lunch there was disappointing and some of the food tasted off. Continued the tour which lasted around 6-7 hours. Major problem at the end when trying to get a taxi back to our hotel and guide advised they didn't really do picks up where the tour finished and suggested getting the subway by ourselves. This felt too overwhelming so we wandered around, got harassed by rickshaw drivers and ultimately took one (at a highly inflated cost) after feeling lost and exhausted. This difficulty with transport needs to be addressed or at least advised prior to the tour as it ultimately soured what was a really good tour.

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June 24, 2017

How lucky was I?

I was so lucky to be able to do this tour with Vivienne; and even better I was the only person so it was practically a 5 star personnel tour. As the name says it really was an insights and secrets shown tour. Vivienne showed me a side of Beijing, as we walked through all the main attractions, that I would never have been able to see, meet local people, be told the superstitions and the temple protocols, and to be able to understand a China and Beijing that as a tourist, has eluded me. HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS TOUR, AND YOUR LUCK IS IN IF YOU HAVE THE WONDERFUL VIVIENNE AS YOUR GUIDE. EXCELLENT

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June 23, 2012

Toller Einblick ins alte Peking

Statt 10-20 Personen würden wir zu zweit geführt. Toller Einblick in den Park und Tempel des Himmels sowie die verbotene Stadt. Während der 6 h erhielten wir sehr viel, zum Teil aber auch verwirrende Informationen. Unbedingt nach einer Pause im Café in der verbotenen Stadt fragen. Die Tour lohnt sich auf jeden Fall, Mittagessen war inklusive und gut.

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October 2, 2017

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Urban Adventures Asia & Russia

Product ID: 10724