Recent Searches
Clear
Drum Tower (Gulou)
Drum Tower (Gulou)

Drum Tower (Gulou)

Dongcheng Qu, Shi Cha Hai, Beijing

The Basics

Many Beijing cultural tours include a stop at the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower, as the structures are Beijing icons. Drum Tower tours often include a rickshaw ride through the nearby hutong alleyways and a live drum performance. You can visit independently easily enough, buying either a single ticket to the Drum Tower or a combination ticket that includes the Bell Tower for a moderate fee. At 154 feet (47 meters) high, the Drum Tower is slightly smaller than its sibling, but still offers sweeping views over the nearby hutong and across to Jingshan Park.

Show all
4-Hour Private Tour to Beijing Drum Tower with Drum Performance and Rickshaw
4-Hour Private Tour to Beijing Drum Tower with Drum Performance and Rickshaw
star-5
$82.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Great tour:)
This tour was interesting and our guide Lucy was very knowledgeable and fun. We visited a local family during our tour of the Hutong and saw how they lived. The drum performance was not on due to a conference but we still went up the Drum Tower via the very steep stairs and learnt about the history of the tower & drums.
Michelle_L, May 2019

Things to Know Before You Go

  • The Drum Tower is a must for history buffs.

  • Plan to visit both the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower. They’re just 299 feet (91 meters) apart.

  • Wear flat, comfortable shoes for climbing the tower. The steps are steep.

  • If you want a photo of the Drum Tower, climb the Bell Tower for the best view.

  • The square around the tower is wheelchair-accessible, but the tower itself is not.

Show all

How to Get There

The Drum Tower stands opposite the Bell Tower on Bell Tower and Drum Tower Square, positioned directly on Beijing’s north–south central axis. It’s about 4 miles (6 kilometers) north of Tiananmen Square by road, and a 5-minute walk north of Shichahai subway station (line 8).

Show all

Trip ideas

Exploring the Hutongs of Beijing

Exploring the Hutongs of Beijing


When to Get There

Many travelers plan their visit to the Drum Tower around the timing of the live performances on replica drums. These run hourly in the morning and afternoon, with a break for lunch, but only last for a few minutes, so aim to arrive early. Like the Bell Tower, the Drum Tower is open from morning until late afternoon seven days a week and can get extremely crowded over major Chinese public holidays.

Show all

Telling Time in Ancient China

Chinese officials had many ways of telling the time to ensure the city’s drums were accurate. Incense clocks measured time by burning incense, which was often elaborately shaped. It was even possible to set an alarm by, for example, fixing a bell to a smouldering incense stick so it would fall when the incense burned through. Water clocks, which measured time by the dripping of water, were first used around 5,000 years ago.

Show all