Beijing Airport Layover Tours

Beijing layover tours


Experience Beijing’s Best with a Short Layover

Passing through Beijing? See Beijing during your waiting time! Take a picture in front of the world-famous Great Wall and all the highlights are not to be missed…

If you have a layover of 9 hours or more and are eligible for 24/72/144-hour direct transit Beijing visa-free layover, taking a private tour of Beijing’s top attractions, such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Tian’anmen Square.

We offer transfer services to and from Beijing Capital Airport during your waiting time, with pickup and drop-off directly from your arrival terminal and return to your departure terminal following the tour.

The terminals at Beijing Capital Airport are numbered 1 to 3, and our services are available for all terminals.

Distance to Sights

Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is located 32 kilometers outside the city center, and the Great Wall area is approximately 66 to 140 kilometers away from the airport.

Even with just a few hours, you can still enjoy a tour of the Great Wall, explore the charming alleyways of old Beijing, and visit the Imperial Palace.

Below is the table of distance between Beijing Airport and the Great Wall & city sites:

Site Distance from Beijing Airport Travel Time by Road
Mutianyu Great Wall 66 km 1.5 hours
Tian’anmen Square & Forbidden City 30 km 1.5 hours
Temple of Heaven 35 km 1.5 hours
Huanghuacheng Great Wall 77 km 2 hours
Jiankou Great Wall 90 km 2.5 hours
Summer Palace 40 km 1.5-2 hours
Olympic Stadium 30 km 40 minutes – 1 hour
Jinshanling & Simatai & Gubekou Great Wall 144 km 2.5-3 hours
Juyongguan Great Wall 68 km 2 hours
Badaling Great Wall 78 km 2.5 hours


Minimum Time Needed

In short, 9 hours is the minimum amount of time you need to comfortably visit Mutianyu Great Wall (the closest section) from the airport, assuming everything goes well, without delays or mistakes.

The time includes:

  • Applying for a 24/72/144-hour temporary entry permit: 2 -3 hours
  • Walking to the vehicle: 10-20 minutes
  • Driving to the nearest Great Wall: 1.5 hours
  • Visiting the Wall: 1 hour
  • Driving back to the airport: 1.5 hours
  • Checking in before an international flight: 2 hours

The total time needed for this trip is 9 hours.

If your flight layover is less than 9 hours, we suggest that you stay at the airport instead of going sightseeing due to the possible traffic.

You can explore the shops, restaurants, and services available at the airport instead.

Missing a flight due to delays or traffic can be very stressful, so it’s best to stay within the airport if you have limited time.

Your Layover Itinerary

The tour begins as soon as you arrive in Beijing.

Your guide or driver will meet you at the Capital Airport (PEK) arrival gate or your hotel near the airport, holding a sign with your name on it.

You can avoid the queues for local taxis at the airport, and your driver will take you directly to the Great Wall or city center without any delays.

Your guide or driver will be happy to assist you with any reasonable requests, such as purchasing entrance tickets or stopping for lunch.

They will wait for you for one hour from the landing time, dressed professionally, and their time clock will start automatically.

If necessary, your luggage will be loaded into the vehicle to make the most of your layover time.

Instead of waiting for hours at the airport for your connecting flight, you can enjoy an 8 or 10-hour Beijing layover tour.

After the tour, you will be returned to the airport ahead of your scheduled departure time, escorted by your guide or driver.

For longer layovers, your driver can drop you off at your accommodation near the airport or in the city center. Beijing has lots of good places to stay for your trip.

Tour times are offered according to your layover schedule.

As a guideline for the Capital airport, please allow approximately 2 hours to apply for a 24/72/144-hour temporary entry permit before beginning your tour.

For flights to Europe or America, check-in is at least two hours before your scheduled departure time.

Need to get a visa-free permit at the airport? Click here to download the free guide to the application for a temporary stay permit (PDF)

Beijing layover tours


Beijing’s Must-Visit Attractions: When to Go

Site Opening Hours
Mutianyu Great Wall 7:30 – 18:30 (March 16 to Nov 15); 8:00 – 17:30 (Nov 16 to Mar 15)
Huanghuacheng Great Wall Opens/closes at sunrise/sunset
Simatai Great Wall 8:00 – 22:00 (Apr to Oct); 7:00 – 21:00 (Nov to Mar)
Jinshanling Great Wall 6:00 – 18:00 (Apr to Oct); 7:00 – 17:00 (Nov to Mar)
Forbidden City 8:30 – 17:00 (Apr to Oct); 8:30 – 16:30 (Nov to Mar)<br>Closes on Mondays, except legal holidays
Tiananmen Square 5:00 – 18:00
Summer Palace 8:30 – 17:00 (Apr to Oct); 9:00 – 16:30 (Nov to Mar)
Temple of Heaven 8:30 – 17:30 (Apr to Oct); 8:00 – 17:00 (Nov to Mar)
Ming Tombs 8:00 – 17:30 (Apr to Oct); 8:30 – 17:00 (Nov to Mar)


Travel in Comfort

​You will travel by time-saving private car or minivan, no large bus. All our vehicles are modern comfortable and equipped with:

  • air conditioning
  • working seat belts
  • front air-bags
  • fire extinguisher

Each vehicle can accommodate a different number of passengers and bags. You will use:

  • Magotan/Nissan Teana (4 seats): Recommended for 3 passengers and 3 bags, this is the standard choice for frequent travelers. Our economy car provides an elegant and comfortable ride for passengers.
  • Buick (6 seats): Recommended for 4 to 6 passengers and 4 bags, this option offers exceptional value for small groups. The spacious interior of the 6-seat Buick can comfortably transport your group.
  • Ford Transit (14 seats): Recommended for 7 to 14 passengers and 8 to 10 bags, this van is suitable for transporting small groups. With comfortable and practical space, the 14-seat van is a great choice for your transportation needs.
  • Joylong (18 seats): Recommended for 15 to 17 passengers and 10 to 14 bags, this is the perfect choice for company or school trips. The 18-seat van offers plenty of seating for your colleagues or guests. For more details, please click the link provided.

Dress Smart & Check the Weather

We recommend donning comfortable walking shoes for your visit. Flip-flops and heels are unsuitable for walking on the Great Wall or exploring city sites for extended periods.

It is always wise to be prepared by checking the the weather forecast for any potential rain, snow, or extreme temperatures. In case of adverse weather conditions, our drivers and guides will strive to ensure your comfort by keeping you dry, warm, or cool as necessary.

Please note that we can provide cold-weather clothing (though the size may not be an exact match) if you make a booking with us at least one week in advance during the winter months.

Luggage Solutions

Entrust your luggage to either us or your airline.

Typically, passengers on layover tours arriving and departing from Beijing Capital Airport will have their luggage sent directly to their final destination from their origin airport.

If you wish to store your bags while exploring Beijing, the airport provides Left Luggage counters at all three terminals, where you can leave your luggage for a few hours or even a few days.

For additional luggage requirements, please request a quote.

For instance, during a layover in Beijing between flights from Amsterdam, the Netherlands to Manila, the Philippines, your luggage will be sent directly from Amsterdam to Manila.

Please note that this information serves as a guideline, and we strongly recommend confirming specific details with your airline.

We understand the value of your time during transit.

Whether you have only a few hours between journeys or simply desire the safety and comfort of a Beijing tour following a flight or train trip, we are here to assist you.

Beijing layover tours


Cash & Currency Exchange

We recommend exchanging your money into RMB (Yuan) before your arrival to save time during your transfer.

This is because the Great Wall ticket booth does not accept credit cards for entrance, cable car, or toboggan tickets. Having some RMB on hand when you arrive can be quite useful.

Additionally, 24-hour currency exchange counters and ATMs are available at all terminals of the Beijing airport.

We estimate that you will need approximately 150-200 RMB or around $30 USD per person in local cash.

This extra amount will come in handy if you plan to use the cable car, chairlift, or toboggan to visit the wall and return, or if you wish to purchase food or refreshments during your trip.

Choose Between a Guide and a Driver

When accompanied by a tour guide, you can delve deeper into the culture and history of a place from a local’s perspective.

A guide serves as your personal resource, allowing you to ask as many questions as you desire.

However, hiring a tour guide comes with an additional cost, which can vary in amount.

If you find pre-travel research and a comprehensive guidebook to be sufficient, a more cost-effective alternative is hiring a non-English/Chinese-speaking driver for your transportation needs.

While you may not receive as much historical context, a driver can still take you to various sites, wait for you, and know when to pick you up and drop you off.

The WeChat translator function enables real-time communication with the driver, who can use the app to translate your language.

This feature is particularly helpful during layovers.

To access the WeChat translation tool, long-press a message and tap the arrow icon on the right-hand side.

The subsequent row should display a ‘Translate’ option, which, as the name suggests, will convert the text into your native language.

WeChat is a highly useful app for travelers in China, and we strongly recommend it for communication with Chinese individuals.

In case of any misunderstandings with a non-English-speaking driver, please contact our office at +86 185 1025 4530.

Further reading:

Want to learn more about the history of the Great Wall of China? Click here to download free history of the Great Wall of China Ebook (PDF)

Enjoy a Personalized Private Tour

​Due to varying arrival and departure times, it is unlikely that you will join a group, resulting in a private tour for you.

This arrangement includes a dedicated vehicle for private transfers between the airport, sights, and your hotel.

There will be no other passengers in the same vehicle and no intermediate stops.

These tours are perfect for families, groups of friends, or even work colleagues traveling together.

Additionally, you can customize the tour to cater to your group’s specific interests.

Beijing layover tours Mutianyu Great Wall


Getting Your Tickets for the Great Wall and Forbidden City

There is no need to purchase Great Wall of China tickets in advance, as the ticket office at the foot of the Great Wall is open daily.

Cable car and toboggan tickets can be obtained at the ticket office, either at the entrance or at the top.

Typically, you can approach the entrance and gain immediate access, with a potential wait time of just five minutes in line.

Please ensure you have cash (RMB) or a credit card on hand to purchase Great Wall of China tickets.

Due to high demand, obtaining tickets for the Forbidden City has become increasingly challenging.

Forbidden City tickets are released at 8 pm each night (local time), but there is no fixed number made available.

To avoid disappointment, we strongly recommend booking Forbidden City tickets online at least 7 days in advance through third party platforms like Klook or Viator once they become accessible.

For more information on how to obtain Forbidden City tickets, please refer to the post: The Ultimate Guide to Booking Forbidden City Tickets Online

Meeting Points & Free Waiting Time

Your driver/guide will meet you at the arrival exit of the terminal you arrive in, after luggage claim and passport control, holding a sign with your name on it.

Just follow these easy steps after you land to meet your driver:

Temporary Entry Permit Application: Follow signs saying “Temporary Entry Permit Application”. It’s a short 5-minute walk.



Apply for the Visa: There might be a queue, but it usually moves quickly. Just apply for the temporary visa so you can leave the airport.



Head to Customs: Once you have your temporary visa, walk over to China customs.

Catch the Train: After customs, go downstairs to the T3E train station. There’s a train that’ll take you to T3C in about 5 minutes.


Baggage Claim: When you exit the train at T3C, look for signs to the baggage claim area, specifically the one that points to “B Exit”.



Meet Your Driver: Your driver will be waiting for you at the B exit, holding a sign with your name.

Don’t worry about flight delays – your driver will have all your flight details and will wait for you, no matter what.

We’ll use your flight number to keep an eye on your arrival time, so your driver is there when you are.

If your flight is late, we’ll adjust your pickup time at no extra cost.

If your flights are delayed to the extent that the trips are no longer possible, the trips will be automatically canceled.

Throughout your trip, your driver will wait for you while you visit various sites, and they will take care of your belongings.

The cost of the car, food, and accommodation are always included in the driver’s fee.

Did you know how to enjoy 24-hour direct transit or 72-hour visa-free transit?  check out: Beijing Layover Transit Visa for more tips.

Popular Layover Tours

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  • Skip The Line-Huanghuacheng Great Wall Layover Tour(Prices From RMB480)

    Escape the crowded Great Wall, and enjoy a personalized experience of quiet Huanghuacheng with your own guide and vehicle. Save time with skip-the-line entries and take in the highlights of Huanghuacheng. A minimum layover of 10 hours is required. Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours. Learn More

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  • Forbidden City & Tiananmen Square, Mutianyu Great Wall One Day Layover Tour(Prices From RMB540)

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Essential Travel Tips

Don’t miss your flight number!

When flying into or out of Beijing, it is essential to provide your flight number.

We use this information to determine the correct terminal for pickup, check arrival times, and identify where to drop you off at the airport.

Please ensure you provide the accurate flight number.

Some guests mistakenly provide the booking reference (a 5 or 6-digit code composed of numbers and letters) instead.

Flight numbers can be identified by their format: starting with 2 letters (representing the carrier, such as CA for Air China, MU for China Eastern Airlines, TG for Thai Airways, BA for British Airways, AA for American Airlines, etc.) followed by 2-4 numbers specific to the flight.

Your phone number is important.

The phone number provided in the booking form is our only means of contacting you in case of any issues.

Please ensure your number is correct and includes your international country code, as we will be contacting you from Beijing.

For example, an Australian mobile phone number starting with 77 should be entered as +6177, and an American mobile number starting with 905 should be entered as +1905.

If you are unsure, please enter the number as it is and add a note with your country in the additional details of your reservation.

Avoid using your home phone, work landline, or any other number where we cannot reach you during your arrival or departure.

Your email is important.

For non-urgent communications, we will primarily use email to get in touch with you.

Rest assured, we will not send you any spam.

Interested in a layover tour, any questions? The quickest way to find answers to your questions is to review the most frequently asked questions. If you can’t find the information you are looking for please feel free to contact us.

Book a Layover Tour With Us Today

Fill out the form below and let us know your layover tour needs. We will get back to you with the best layover tour ideas and options, based on your layover circumstances and time in Beijing. You are also welcome to send us your tailor-made tour plan by filling out the form online to book your Beijing layover tour. 
Note: As the last admission of most sights is around 4:00 pm, it is very important that we have your complete flight details, arrival & departure flight numbers, and phone number, as this lets us see how long of a layover you will have, and help you finalize your itinerary. 

If you haven’t received a response from us within 24 hours, it could mean one of two things: our email might have landed in your spam/junk folder, or there could be a typo in your email address. Please check your folders and contact us again to let us know. This issue has occurred several times recently, making it impossible for us to reach the requester.

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