Top Tips for Beijing Airport Layover Tours

Beijng layover tours


Maximize Your Layover in Beijing with These Tip

Got a long layover at Beijing airport? Great news! Beijing is a top spot for travelers just like you, waiting for their next flight.

Why sit in the airport when you can embark on an exciting Beijing airport layover tour?

It’s the perfect chance to stretch your legs and fill your trip with fun memories!

Here’s a quick guide to make your Beijing layover adventure as awesome as it can be: Grab your map, put on some comfy shoes, and get ready for a mini-adventure that’ll make your layover fly by in no time!

Let’s turn that stopover into a standout experience!

Beijng layover tours


Short Layovers: Under 8 Hours

With less than eight hours at your disposal, the best plan is to stay within or near the airport.

Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijng Daxing Airport offer a variety of activities that let you enjoy a touch of local flavor without the stress of navigating far.

Dive into some shopping at the airport’s numerous boutiques, or indulge in delicious local cuisine at one of the many eateries.

This way, you can savor the essence of Beijing right at the airport, enjoying a relaxed layover without worrying about the travel time to and from city attractions.

Beijng layover tours


Medium Layovers: 8-12 Hours

If you have 8 to 12 hours to spare, you’re perfectly positioned to explore the deeper layers of Beijing’s rich cultural landscape.

This amount of time is ideal for visiting monumental sites like the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall or the majestic Forbidden City.

Both locations are easily accessible and offer a profound glimpse into the historical and artistic heritage of Beijing.

To ensure a smoother and more fulfilling visit, try to schedule your exploration during off-peak hours to sidestep the crowds.

It’s also wise to plan an early morning arrival in Beijing, as the last entry to these significant sites usually falls between 4 and 5 PM, allowing you a more relaxed and immersive experience.

Beijng layover tours


Long Layovers: 12+ Hours

With a generous layover of over 12 hours, Beijing opens up with endless possibilities for discovery.

This extended time is perfect for a leisurely visit to the less crowded, yet equally majestic, Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China.

Here, you can marvel at breathtaking views and stroll along the paths of this ancient marvel.

Additionally, take the opportunity to explore the iconic Forbidden City and the historic Tiananmen Square.

However, be aware that during peak tourist seasons such as summer school holidays and public holidays like National Day or May Day, securing entry tickets can be challenging.

To ensure a smooth and fulfilling experience, it’s wise to plan your visits and book your tickets well in advance to avoid any potential disappointments.

Beijng layover tours


Visa Requirements and Exemptions

Understanding the visa requirements for China is crucial before you embark on your layover adventure.

Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a visa in advance.

However, Beijing offers a convenient transit visa exemption for travelers from 53 countries who plan to stay for a short period.

This 24-, 72-, or 144-hour visa-free transit allows travelers to leave the airport and explore the city, provided they have an onward ticket to a third country.

It’s important to check the most current visa policies and ensure that you meet all the criteria to take advantage of this opportunity.

Beijng layover tours


Layover Entry Permits: A Quick Guide

If you qualify for visa-free transit, obtaining a layover entry permit upon arrival is your next step.

Once you land, head to the dedicated counter for transit visa exemptions, where you’ll present your travel documents, including your passport and proof of your onward journey.

The process is typically straightforward, but having all your documents organized and ready can make it even smoother.

This permit is your key to unlocking a brief but beautiful glimpse into Beijing’s rich cultural landscape, so taking the time to understand and prepare for this process is well worth the effort.

Beijng layover tours


Types of Tours Available

Exploring Beijing on a layover offers a variety of tour options that cater to different interests and experiences.

Here’s a closer look at what you can choose from:

Historical Tours: Dive into Beijing’s Past

For history enthusiasts, historical tours are a perfect way to delve into Beijing’s rich and fascinating past.

These tours often include visits to iconic sites such as the Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and Summer Palace.

With knowledgeable guides bringing the stories of ancient emperors, dynasties, and architectural marvels to life, you’ll gain a profound appreciation for Beijing’s historical significance.

Cultural Tours: Experiencing Local Life

Cultural tours offer a more intimate look at Beijing’s contemporary and traditional lifestyle.

These tours might take you through bustling local markets, serene temples, and quaint hutongs (narrow alleys) where you can witness daily life and interact with locals.

Imagine starting your morning with a Taiji lesson at the Temple of Heaven, where the tranquil surroundings amplify the graceful movements and meditative atmosphere.

It’s a beautiful way to connect with a centuries-old practice in one of Beijing’s most iconic settings.

Activities such as tea tasting ceremonies, calligraphy lessons.

These activities not only offer a taste of the culture but also create personal connections and unforgettable memories.

Beijng layover tours


Night Tours: Beijing After Dark

Beijing takes on a magical glow after dark, and night tours offer a chance to dive into the city’s vibrant nightlife.

These tours often include visits to illuminated landmarks such as Nanluoguxiang Hutong, Houhai Bar Street, and the Drum Tower area, where you can sample a tantalizing array of street foods.

If you arrive in the late afternoon, visiting the Simatai Great Wall & Gubei water town at night is a fantastic option, offering breathtaking views under the stars.

A night tour provides a completely different perspective of the city, filled with lights, energy, and unique attractions that come alive after sunset.

Private vs. Group Tours: What Suits You Best?

To make your layover tour as enjoyable and efficient as possible, consider customizing your experience to suit your preferences and schedule.

Deciding between a private or group tour depends on your personal preferences and the kind of experience you’re looking for.

Private tours offer a tailored itinerary, more flexibility, and personalized attention from your guide, making them ideal for those who prefer a more intimate and customized experience.

Group tours, on the other hand, are often more cost-effective and provide a social environment where you can meet fellow travelers.

They follow a fixed schedule but offer the benefit of shared experiences and camaraderie.

Beijng layover tours (1)


Packing Essentials for a Day Tour

Pack smart for a day in Beijing. Wear comfortable walking shoes for all the exploring you’ll do.

Bring a small backpack with essentials: a water bottle to stay hydrated, a portable charger to keep your devices powered, and some snacks to keep your energy up.

Don’t forget a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.

A light jacket or sweater is also a good idea for cooler evenings.

Lastly, carry a travel guide or use a smartphone app to navigate easily.

Currency Tips: Spending Money in Beijing

Be prepared with local currency, the Chinese Yuan (CNY).

Have some cash on hand for small purchases at markets or street vendors.

While major credit cards are accepted in many places, some smaller shops and eateries may only take cash or local payment apps.

ATMs are widely available, but notify your bank of your travel plans to avoid issues.

Use currency exchange services at the airport or in the city for convenience, and watch for the best exchange rates.

Beijng layover tours


Transport Options: Best Ways to Get Around

Beijing offers a range of transport options for getting to and from the airport.

The Airport Express Train is a quick choice, seamlessly connecting you to the subway system.

Taxis are plentiful, but be sure to use official taxi stands and have your destination written in Chinese.

For a more comfortable and personalized experience, consider booking a private car service.

Time Management: Ensuring You’re Back On Time

Manage your time to make the most of your layover.

Plan your itinerary with some buffer time for unexpected delays.

Set reminders on your phone to ensure you don’t miss your return to the airport.

Aim to be back at the airport at least two hours before your international flight for security checks and last-minute purchases.

This mindful planning lets you enjoy Beijing without the stress of rushing back.

Beijng layover tours


Where to Eat

Exploring Beijing’s culinary scene is a must. Sample iconic dishes like Peking duck at renowned restaurants such as Quanjude or Da Dong.

For a taste of local street food, head to Nanluoguxiang Snack Street where you can try everything from jianbing (Chinese crepes) to tanghulu (candied fruit). Each bite offers a new adventure!

Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Options

Beijing caters to all dietary needs. Vegetarian options are plentiful at places like Pure Lotus and King’s Joy, which offer creative, delicious meat-free dishes.

If you’re gluten-free, look for restaurants that specify ingredients or ask for dishes made with rice or corn.

Many modern eateries are becoming more accommodating to various dietary restrictions.

Beijng layover tours


Shopping in Beijing

Shopping in Beijing is an adventure in itself.

For unique souvenirs, visit the bustling Silk Market or Panjiayuan Antique Market where you can find traditional crafts, silk garments, and intricate jade pieces.

These authentic gifts make perfect mementos of your trip.

Bargaining Tips: Getting the Best Deals

When shopping at markets, bargaining is expected. Start by offering half of the asking price and negotiate from there.

Always be polite and friendly, and don’t be afraid to walk away if the price isn’t right.

With practice, you’ll master the art of getting great deals.

Handy Mandarin Phrases for Tourists

Learning a few basic Mandarin phrases can enhance your experience in Beijing.

Phrases like “ni hao” (hello), “xie xie” (thank you), and “duo shao qian” (how much?) can go a long way in helping you connect with locals.

Showing an effort to speak the language is often appreciated.

Apps and Tools for Communication

Technology can bridge the language gap. Download apps like Google Translate or Pleco, which offer translation and pronunciation help.

WeChat is also a handy tool for communication and payments. These tools make navigating a foreign language much easier.

Tourist Scams to Avoid

Stay vigilant against common tourist scams.

Be wary of overly friendly locals offering unsolicited tours or tea house invitations, which can end up being overpriced.

Always use official transportation and be cautious with your belongings in crowded areas.

Cultural Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts

Respecting local customs is crucial. In Beijing, it’s polite to give and receive items with both hands and to bow slightly as a sign of respect.

Avoid discussing sensitive political topics and always be courteous in public spaces.

Following these guidelines will ensure a respectful and enjoyable visit.

Beijng layover tours



Q: What if my layover is shorter than expected?

A: No need to worry! Even with a shortened layover, there’s a lot you can still enjoy.

Consider a quick visit to a nearby attraction or indulge in some local cuisine at the airport.

We recommend having a flexible plan B that allows you to experience a slice of Beijing without leaving the airport.

Q: Can I leave the airport during my layover in Beijing?

A: Yes, you absolutely can, provided you meet the visa requirements or qualify for a visa-free transit.

This allows you to step out and explore some of Beijing’s wonders. Just make sure to keep an eye on the time and the distance from the airport.

Q: What are the best options for overnight layovers?

A: Overnight layovers open up a world of possibilities!

You can book a hotel near the airport for a restful night, or if you’re up for an adventure, head into the city center.

Night tours or a casual stroll through Beijing’s illuminated streets can be magical.

Q: How do I handle visa and customs issues during my layover?

A: Navigating visa and customs regulations is crucial.

Check if you need a transit visa beforehand or if you are eligible for the 24-, 72-, or 144-hour visa-free transit depending on your nationality and the duration of your stay.

Always keep your travel documents handy and follow airport signs to the transit visa counters.

Q: Tips for managing luggage during short city tours?

A: Travel light and smart! Many airports, including Beijing, offer luggage storage services, allowing you to explore hands-free.

Consider packing a day bag with essentials such as water, snacks, and travel documents.

Utilizing small, secure backpacks or crossbody bags can also keep your belongings safe during your tour.

Layover Guide

Exploring Beijing during a layover? Check out these posts for all the info and tips you need to make the most of your time!


2 Responses to “Top Tips for Beijing Airport Layover Tours”

  1. Amalia Pischis

    Hello, I would like to get from PEK airport on 7th of May to the Great wall of China ( the trail I choose to do is not as important at the moment). How much it will cost a personal driver? Can you arrange it for me?
    And I would like to get back to Beijing city center the same day.

    Thank you in advance for your response.
    Kind regards

    • Ricky

      Hello Amalia,

      Thank you for reaching out! I’d be delighted to help you arrange a personal driver for your visit to the Great Wall of China on May 7th.

      For a round trip from PEK airport to the Great Wall and then back to Beijing city center, the cost typically ranges from 800 to 1200 RMB, depending on the exact route and duration of your visit.

      I can certainly arrange this for you and ensure everything goes smoothly for your adventure. Could you please provide me with any specific preferences or requirements you have for the trail or the schedule?

      Looking forward to assisting you with your plans.

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