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Passing through Beijing? See Beijing during your waiting time! Take a picture in front of the world-famous Great Wall and all the highlights not to be missed…
If your layover is 9 hours or more – on a 24/72/144-hour direct transit Beijing visa free-layover take a private tour of the Great Wall/Forbidden City /Tian’anmen Square with transfer services to and from Beijing Capital Airport during your waiting time. Collection and return are available directly from your terminal of arrival and return to your departure terminal following your tour. The terminals at Beijing Capital Airport are numbered 1 to 3.
The Distance Between Beijing Airport and the Great Wall & City Sites
Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is located 32 kilometers outside the city center, from the airport till the Great Wall area is about more or less 66 to 140 kilometers. With just a couple of hours, you’ll certainly have time to take a tour of the Great Wall, stroll through old Beijing alleyways, and check out the Imperial Palace.
- Beijing airport (about 66 km) Mutianyu Great Wall, 1.5 hours by road;
- Beijing airport (about 30 km) Tian’anmen Square & Forbidden City 1.5 hours by road.
- Beijing airport (about 35 km) Temple of Heaven, 1.5 hours by road.
- Beijing airport (about 77 km) Huanghuacheng Great Wall, 2 hours by road;
- Beijing airport (about 90 km) Jiankou Great Wall, 2.5 hours by road;
- Beijing airport (about 40 km) Summer Palace, 1.5 – 2 hours by road;
- Beijing airport (about 30 km) Olympic Stadium, 40 minutes –1 hour by road;
- Beijing airport (about 144 km) Jinshanling & Simatai & Gubekou Great Wall, 2.5 -3 hours by road;
- Beijing airport (about 68 km) Juyongguan Great Wall, 2 hours by road;
- Beijing airport (about 78 km) Badaling Great Wall, 2.5 hours by road.
Time Allowance–How Long Do You Need?
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 and without mistakes. The time includes:
- Apply for 24/72/144-hour temporary entry permit: 2.5-3 hours
- Walk to the vehicle: 10-20 minutes
- Car to the nearest Great Wall: 1.5 hours
- Visit the Wall: 1 hour
- Car to airport: 1.5 hours
- Check in before an international flight: 2 hours
Total time: 9 hours.
If your flight layover is less than 9 hours, we suggest you put your feet at the airport instead of sightseeing due to the possible traffic, check out what the shops, restaurants and services of the airport have to offer. There’s nothing worse than the stress of missing a flight.
The tour begins from the moment you arrive in Beijing. You will be welcomed at the Capital Airport (PEK) arrival gate or your hotel near the airport. Your guide/driver will hold a sign with your name at the arrivals hall, after luggage claim/passports controls. Avoid any queue for local taxis at the airport; Your driver will take you with no delay to the Great Wall/city center straightaway.
Your guide/driver will assist you with any reasonable request (purchase entrance tickets, stop for lunch, etc). They will wait for you 1 hour from landing time in their professional attire and their time clock will start automatically. Your luggage, if necessary, will be loaded into a vehicle to make good use of your layover time.
Enjoy an 8 or 10-hour Beijing layover tour, instead of waiting for hours at the airport for your connecting flight. Following the tour, you will return back to the airport ahead of your scheduled departure time, and continue with your journey escorted by your tour guide/driver.
Tour times are offered according to your layover schedule. As a guideline for the Capital airport, allow approx. 2.5 hours to apply for 24/72/144-hour temporary entry permit to begin your tour. Check-in for flights to Europe/America is at least two hours before your scheduled departure time.
Need to get the visa-free permit at the airport? Click here to download the free guide to the application for temporary stay permit (PDF)
Opening Hours of Top Attractions in Beijing
- Mutianyu Great Wall: 8:00 – 18:00 (March 16 to Nov 15); 8:30 – 17:00 (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). 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 by Time-Saving Private Car or Minivan
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:
- 4 seats Hyundai/Camry: Recommended passengers 3 • Bags 3. The standard for frequent travelers. Our economy car offers an elegant and comfortable choice for passengers.
- 6 seats Buick: Recommended passengers 4, 6 • Bags 4. Exceptional value for up to 6 passengers. 6 seats Refine/Buick has a spacious interior with plenty of room to transport a small group
- 14 seats Ford Transit: Recommended passengers 7, 10, 12, 14 • Bags 8, 10. Suitable for transporting small groups. 14-seats van offers a comfortable and practical space.
- 18 seats Joylong: Recommended passengers 15, 16, 17 • Bags 10, 12, 14. A perfect choice for a company/school trip. 18-seats van has plenty of seating for your colleagues or guests. For more details, look here.
Wear Comfortable Shoes & Check Weather Forecast
We recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes. Flip-flops or heels are not very good for walking on the Great Wall/city sites for several hours. It always helps to be prepared, and check the weather forecast to see if rain, snow or very cold/hot weather is predicted. If weather extremes should occur, our drivers & guides will do their best to keep you dry, warm, or cool depending on what is needed.
Note: we can supply cold weather clothes (the size may not exactly match) if you book with us 1 week in advance in winter months.
Luggage in Layover
Leave your luggage with us or your airline. Passengers on layover tours arriving and departing from Beijing Capital airport will normally have their luggage sent to their final destination from their airport of origin. If you’re looking to ditch your bags while you explore Beijing, the airport offers left Luggage counters at all the three terminals. You can leave your luggage for a few hours to a few days. If you will have greater luggage requirements please ask for a quotation.
For example a layover in Beijing in between flights from Amsterdam, the Netherlands to Manila, the Philippines. Luggage will be sent directly from Amsterdam to Manila. The information is only a guideline and it’s always recommended to check precise details with your airline.
We are aware of how important your time is while in transit. Whether it be that you only have a few hours in between journeys or that you just want the safety and comfort of a Beijing tour after a flight or train journey, we can help.
Money Exchange & Estimated Local Cash Needed
It’s advisable to exchange your money into RMB(Yuan) prior to your arrival to avoid wasting time in you transfer. As the Great Wall ticket booth doesn’t take credit cards when buying entrance/cable car/toboggan tickets. It’s handy to have some RMB when you arrive. There are also 24-hour currency exchange counters at Beijing airport in all terminals as well as ATMs.
Estimated local cash is 150RMB – 200RMB or around $30 USD per person. The extra cash is necessary if you want to take cable car/chairlift/toboggan to the wall and back, or stop for any food or refreshment along the way.
Hire a Guide or Just a Driver
Visiting with tour guide you will learn about the culture and history of the place on a deeper level and from a local’s perspective. A guide is your personal resource. You will be able to ask as many questions as you want. However, the cost of tour guide hire is an additional expense, whether small or large.
If pre-travel research and a good guide book are sufficient for you, then a much less expensive option is to hire a Non-English / Chinese speaking driver to take you around. You won’t get as much of the history, but a driver can take you to the sites, wait for you and he knows where to take you and when to bring you back.
By using WeChat translator function, you can communicate with driver in real time who have the app and translate into your language, which are especially helpful during your layover.
To activate this WeChat tool, simply long-press on a message and tap the arrow icon on the right-hand side. The next row should include an option called ‘Translate’ which, as the name implies, will convert the text into your native language.
WeChat is a very useful app for anyone traveling in China. I highly recommend it for communication with Chinese people. If there is any misunderstanding with the non-English speaking driver, please call our office (+86 185 1025 4530).
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)
Free Cell Phone Rental Service
The Free cell phone rental service is available once booking your layover tour with us. You would be able to get free local calling service upon your arrival if required. The service includes one cell phone and local calling Sim with unlimited local calls in case you need to contact us during your layover tour. This is suitable for your private layover tour without a tour guide. You would be able to explore the sites on your own with 100% worry-free. A cell phone will be returned back at the airport before your departure.
Join a Group or Go It Alone
As the chance of joining a group is low due to different arrival/departure times, it will be a private tour for you. This means that you will enjoy a dedicated vehicle (private transfer) for the ride between the airport and the sights or your hotel, with nobody else in the same vehicle and without any intermediate stop on the way. These are ideal for families, groups of friends or even work colleagues traveling together — and you can personalize these tours to suit your group’s particular interests.
Purchase Entrance Tickets in Advance or Not
It’s not necessary to purchase tickets in advance. The ticket office at the foot of the Great Wall is open daily. Cable car/toboggan tickets are available at the ticket office either at the entrance or on the top. You can usually waltz up to the door and get right in—maybe you’ll have to wait for all of five minutes in line. You will need cash (RMB) to buy attractions tickets.
Note: you will need to show your real passport at the ticket booth when buying tickets to the Forbidden City. At Forbidden City, just look for the “passport window” ticket counter and make sure you have your passport with you. They have kept the “passport window” operational since western visitors cannot currently use the online system for advance booking.
Easy to Locate Meeting Point & Free Waiting Time
Your driver/guide will meet you at the arrival exit of whichever terminal you arrive in, after luggage claim/passports controls, by holding a sign with your name.
Your driver has all the flight information and will wait for you if your flight delayed. Your flight number will be used to track your flight and ensure your driver is waiting for you when you land.
If your flight is delayed, we will reschedule your pickup time without any additional charge. We monitor delays and update the time we send your driver accordingly. If your flights are delayed, so the trips are no longer possible, the trips will be automatically canceled.
During your trip, your driver will wait until you finish the visit of any sites, and will take care of your belongings. A cost for the car, their food and accommodation will always be 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.
Most Popular Layover Tours:
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. Minimum layover of 9 hours is required. Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours. Learn More…
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…
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 entry and take in the highlights of Huanghuacheng. Minimum layover of 10 hours is required. Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours. Learn More…
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, lucnh, tour guide, and private air-conditioned transport included, leave the organizing to us. Learn More…
Tips & Useful Information
- Don’t miss your flight number! If you are flying into Beijing or leaving the city by plane, the flight number is a required information. We use it to know to which terminal we have to provide the pickup, to check the arrival time or to verify where to drop you at the airport. Double check that you are providing the right number. Some guests provide the booking reference instead (a 5 or 6 digits’ reference composed by numbers and letters). The flight number can be recognized because it starts with 2 letters (identifying the carrier, CA as Air China, MU as China Eastern Airlines, TG as Thai Airways, BA as British Airways, AA American airlines….) followed by 2-4 numbers identifying the flight.
- Your phone number is important. The only way we have to contact you in case of any issue is the phone number indicated in the booking form; please check that your number is correct and complete it with your international country code as, in case of contacting you, we will do from Beijing. (for example, a mobile Australia phone starting with 77 will be +6177, and American mobile starting with 905 will be +1905). If you are not sure about it, please fill in as is and add a note with your country in the additional details of your reservation. Please don’t use your home phone, work fix phone or any other number where we can’t reach you on your arrival or departure.
- Your email is important. In case of non-urgent communications, we will preferably use the email to communicate with you. Don’t worry, we will not spam you.
Interested in 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 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, phone number, as this lets us see how long of a layover you will have, and help you finalize your itinera
If you have not heard from us within 24 hours, that means one of 2 things. Our email to you may be in your spam/junk folder, or there may have been a typo mistake on your email address. Please check your folders, write to us again and let us know. This has occurred several times recently and it was not possible to get in touch with the requester.