Things to Do on a Layover in Beijing

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Are you going to have a layover in Beijing? How will you make the best use of your time? Stuck in the hotel room to take a long rest, or run into the downtown to see the capital of China?

If you have more than 6 hours to spend, why not take a short day trip in Beijing of one or two “must-see” attractions?

Why more than 6 hours?

Check your timetable first while planning a layover tour in Beijing.

Check your timetable first while planning a layover tour in Beijing.

Though Beijing Capital International Airport is roughly 20 miles from the city center (about 40 minutes’ drive to the downtown), you should figure out the time to exit the airport and go through customs(usually more than 1 hour) and leave enough time to return and go through security again. Also remember, you have to get back around 2 hours prior to the departing flight. So if you’d like take a Beijing city tour during your layover, you’d better have more than 6 hours so that you will not rush to visit the city.

After calculating the time of your layout, now let’s move on to the nest question.

What to do during those hours?

Enjoy a quick view about the cultural-rich city during your layover in Beijing.

Enjoy a quick view about the cultural-rich city during your layover in Beijing.

For the short time of layover (always 8-15 hours), it is impossible to see all the “Top 10” attractions. But visiting the “Top 1” must see sight in your mind is absolutely no problem!

According to thousands of customers’ reviews, we suggested the Best 5 things to do on a Beijing Layover as a reference for you:

  • Tiananmen Square

    The world’s largest square in the heart of Beijing is opened whole day for free. You can visit there in day time and as a gate to the Forbidden City. Also, if your layover is too early to visit other attractions, you can go to the square viewing the national-flag-raising ceremony in the early morning. The start of time depends on the time of sunrise.

  • Forbidden City

    The world’s largest palace complex is the most visited sight for any Beijing tour. As the home to 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties, Forbidden City is the best place for you to explore and experience the long history, the imperial culture and ancient architectural arts in one go.

    Travel Time: 2 hours
    Open Hours:
    April – October: 8:30-16:10
    Time of finishing selling ticket: 16:00
    November – March: 8:30 – 15:40
    Time of Finishing selling ticket: 15:30

  • Hiking The Great Wall

    Located in the northern of Beijing, the Great Wall is 600 km long with 8 sections. Mutianyu and Badaling sections will be the good choice for your short Beijing tour. It usually takes one and a half hours from the airport to the each of the great wall section, and the Great Wall hiking always takes 2 hours.

    Badaling Great Wall

    Opening hours: 6:40-18:30
    Hiking time: 2 hours
    How to Get there?

    Mutianyu Great Wall

    Opening hours: 7:30-17:30
    Hiking time: 2.5 hours
    How to Get there?

  • Imperial Gardens

    As one of the imperial capitals, Beijing is full of luxurious and magnificent imperial gardens, which opened as parks for the public. The most famous one is the Summer Palace, which is the largest and best-preserved imperial garden in the world. It shows the classical Chinese garden architecture to travelers around the world. Beside, the Jinshan Park, near the back gate of the Forbidden City where you can enjoy the panorama of the Forbidden City, as well as the nearby Beihai Park are also a wonderful place for a walk.

  • Beijing Hutongs

    If you are keen on experience the local life, then taking a Beijing hutong tour is a great way to see the daily life and sights of REAL Beijing. You can have a walk, ride a bike or just take a rickshaw through the old Beijing’s alleys and lanes to explore how the locals’ life is like. There are also many interesting sights and stories hidden in the hutongs waiting for you.

    For time limit, you can choose to go Gulou hutong area or Shichahai area. There are many hutongs gathering together so you can travel them all in one go. The famous Houhai Bar Street is in Shichahai area, where there are many bars and restaurants for you to spend a leisure time there. The bars are opened till the early morning.

Now, there may be a list of things to do in your Beijing layover. Let’s solve the last but not least question.

How to Get There?

The Airport Express Train is connecting the airport and the downtown Beijing.

The Airport Express Train is connecting the airport and the downtown Beijing.

Beijing Capital International Airport is served by Airport Express Train and Capital Shuttle Buses which transfer between the airport and downtown Beijing. To save much time and keep from the crowds, you can take a taxi from the airport to your downtown hotel. For detailed transportation guide, please click here.

For most convenience, you can take a VIP private tour with private guide and vehicle. Everything will be handled according to your needs and all you have to is just tell us what you want and then enjoy it.