Beijing Airport Layover Tours: Short & Sweet Visits

Beijing layover tours


Enjoy Beijing’s Highlights on a Quick Layover Tour!

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

Start your adventure the moment you land in Beijing! Your personal guide or driver will be ready to welcome you at the Capital Airport (PEK) or your nearby hotel, proudly displaying your name.

Skip the taxi lines and head straight to the Great Wall or the city center, with no delays.

  • Full Assistance Provided: Your guide or driver will help with everything, from buying tickets to picking a spot for lunch, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience.
  • Professional and Prompt: They’ll be there waiting, dressed professionally and ready to assist you for up to an hour after your plane lands.
  • Tour Options: Choose between an 8 or 10-hour tour and make the most of your time instead of waiting at the airport.
  • Luggage Handled: We’ll take care of your bags, loading them into the vehicle so you can explore freely.
  • Safe Return: After your tour, we’ll ensure you’re back at the airport in plenty of time for your next flight. For longer stays, we can drop you off at your hotel.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Our tour times adjust to fit your layover, giving you a hassle-free experience.
  • Entry Permit Reminder: If you’re arriving at Capital airport, allocate about 2 hours to secure a 24/72/144-hour temporary entry permit before 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

Get ready to explore in comfort and style! It’s important to wear the right shoes and clothes so you can enjoy every moment of your adventure without a hitch.

  • Shoe Advice: Opt for comfortable walking shoes. Flip-flops and heels aren’t suitable for trekking the Great Wall or wandering around city sites.
  • Weather Watch: Always check the weather forecast before your visit. Be prepared for rain, snow, or extreme temperatures.
  • Stay Comfortable: Our drivers and guides will do their best to keep you dry, warm, or cool, adapting to whatever the weather throws our way.
  • Cold-Weather Gear: Need winter wear? Let us know at least one week in advance when you book your tour during the winter months, and we’ll provide cold-weather clothing (note: sizes may vary).

Dress smart and stay prepared to make the most out of your Beijing experience!

Luggage Solutions

Make the most of your Beijing layover without the baggage hassle! Here’s how you can manage your luggage smartly while you explore.

  • Direct Transfers: Typically, if you’re flying through Beijing Capital Airport, your checked luggage will be sent directly to your final destination.
  • Left Luggage Service: Want to explore light? Use the Left Luggage counters available at all three terminals of the airport to store your bags for a few hours or even days.
  • Custom Luggage Solutions: Need special luggage handling? Just ask us for a quote.
  • Example Scenario: Flying from Amsterdam to Manila with a stop in Beijing? Your bags will go straight from Amsterdam to Manila.
  • Check with Your Airline: Always confirm luggage details with your airline to ensure everything goes smoothly.

We value your time in transit and are here to make your layover comfortable and enjoyable, whether it’s just a few hours or a full day of discovery in Beijing!

Beijing layover tours


Cash & Currency Exchange

Get ready for your Beijing adventure by preparing your cash in advance! Here’s why and how you can manage your money for a hassle-free experience:

  • Convert to RMB: We recommend exchanging your money to RMB (Yuan) before you arrive, so you can save time during your transfer.
  • Cash for Tickets: Credit cards aren’t accepted at the Great Wall ticket booths for entrance, cable car, or toboggan tickets, so it’s handy to have cash ready.
  • Currency Exchange & ATMs: If needed, 24-hour currency exchange counters and ATMs are available at all terminals of the Beijing airport.
  • Estimated Cash Needs: Plan to have about 150-200 RMB (around $30 USD) per person in local cash. This will cover activities like the cable car, chairlift, or toboggan, as well as any snacks or drinks during your visit.

Having some RMB on hand when you arrive can make your trip smoother and let you enjoy every moment without worrying about finding an ATM!

Choose Between a Guide and a Driver

Experience the culture and history of a place like never before with the help of a local tour guide! Here’s why choosing a guide can enhance your trip:

  • Deep Dive into Culture: A tour guide offers you a local’s perspective, enriching your understanding of the area’s history and culture.
  • Ask Away!: With a guide, you can satisfy your curiosity by asking unlimited questions.
  • Consider the Cost: Keep in mind, hiring a tour guide does come with an extra fee, which varies.

Alternatively, if you prefer to explore independently:

  • Cost-Effective Travel: Using a comprehensive guidebook and some pre-trip research might be enough. In this case, consider hiring a non-English/Chinese-speaking driver for more budget-friendly transport.
  • Efficient Exploring: Although drivers offer less historical insight, they can still transport you to various sites, wait while you explore, and ensure timely pick-ups and drop-offs.
  • Communication Made Easy: Use the WeChat translator function for real-time communication with your driver. Simply long-press a message, tap the arrow, and select ‘Translate’ to convert text into your language.
  • Traveler’s Tip: WeChat isn’t just for translation; it’s invaluable for connecting with locals across China.

We highly recommend downloading WeChat to make your travel in China smoother and more interactive!

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 different arrival and departure times, you’ll likely have a private tour just for you and your group. Here’s what this includes:

  • Private Vehicle: Enjoy a dedicated vehicle for all transfers between the airport, sights, and your hotel.
  • Exclusive Travel: No other passengers will share your vehicle, and there won’t be any intermediate stops.
  • Ideal for Groups: These tours are perfect for families, friends, or colleagues traveling together.
  • Customizable Itinerary: Tailor the tour to fit your group’s specific interests.

Enjoy the privacy and flexibility of a tour that’s crafted just for you!

Beijing layover tours Mutianyu Great Wall


Getting Your Tickets for the Great Wall and Forbidden City

It’s advisable to buy tickets for the Great Wall of China in advance, and we can handle the booking for you. Just provide your full names and passport numbers.

For the Forbidden City, securing tickets can be more difficult:

  • Ticket Release: Tickets are released online at 8 pm each night (local time), but the quantity varies.
  • High Demand: Due to its popularity, it’s challenging to predict ticket availability.

To avoid disappointment, we strongly recommend booking Forbidden City tickets online at least 7 days in advance through third party platforms like Viator or Klookonce 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 ready and waiting for you at the B exit, holding a sign with your name on it. Here’s how we ensure a smooth pickup:

  • Flight Tracking: We monitor your flight number to ensure your driver is there when you land, no matter what.
  • No Worries About Delays: If your flight is delayed, we’ll adjust the pickup time without any additional charge.
  • Automatic Cancellation Policy: If delays make the trip impossible, we will automatically cancel the trip.
  • Driver Waits for You: While you explore various sites, your driver will wait and take care of your belongings.
  • All-Inclusive Service: The cost of the car, as well as the driver’s food and accommodation, are included in the 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

  • The Ultimate Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour (Prices From RMB350)

    Enjoy a short, sharp Great Wall adventure travel experience in spectacular Mutianyu on an intimate, private trip. Admire Beijing’s iconic Great Wall in just a few hours without getting footsore. Make the most of your layover time on this fully guided tour, with optional drop-off. A minimum layover of 9 hours is required. Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours. Learn More

  • Beijing layover tours -Mutianyu

  • Skip The Line-Forbidden City & Tian’anmen Square Layover Tour(Prices From RMB350)

    Experience the best of Beijing by visiting the spectacular Tian’anmen Square and the famous landmark-Forbidden City without sacrificing comfort or convenience. Spend a half day exploring the highlights of Beijing. Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours. Tip: You might want to remember Forbidden City is always closed on Mondays, except for national holidays and summer vacation from July 1st till August 31st. Chairman Mao Memorial Hall is closed every Monday. Learn More

  • Beijing layover tours - Forbidden City

  • 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

  • Beijing layover tours - Huanghuacheng great wall

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

    Make the most of your long layover and discover the best of Beijing with a personal guide. Enjoy a personalized experience with photo ops at all of Beijing’s most popular sites. Entrance fees, lunch, tour guide, and private air-conditioned transport included, leave the organizing to us. Learn More

  • Mutianyu Great Wall Tiananmen Forbidden City layover tour


Essential Travel Tips

Prepare for a smooth Beijing visit with these essential travel tips:

  • Flight Number: Always provide your actual flight number (e.g., CA123 for Air China) instead of the booking reference to ensure correct airport pickups and drop-offs.
  • Phone Number: Use a mobile number with the correct international code (e.g., +6177 for Australia) to ensure we can reach you if needed.
  • Email Communication: We use your email for non-urgent updates—no spam, just essential info.

These simple steps will help make your travel experience stress-free!

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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