Home China Guide Beijing Tour Planning How to Plan a Trip to Beijing

How to Plan a Trip to Beijing

Our clients on the Great WallTake a private tour to enjoy a walk on the Great Wall at your own pace.

Planning on visiting Beijing? Whether you are spending one week in Beijing or just making a stop during your Asian trip, Beijing is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

Use this page to help get inspiration and be prepared for your upcoming trip.

Getting a Visa… or No Need to Get a Visa

All foreign visitors must have a passport. Usually, foreigners need to apply for a visa before traveling to China.

As of 2018, Beijing has adopted a 144-hour visa-free transit policy. You can stay in Beijing for 144 hours without a visa. See more about the policy.

The Best Things to Do

Beijing is one of the most popular cities in the world, renowned for its rich cultural heritage. You should not miss the following things:

The Great WallFollow our experienced guide to visit the Great Wall that is less crowded.
  • Walk along the Great Wall: a must-do activity in Beijing. The Great Wall section at Mutianyu is recommended because it’s less crowded and has convenient facilities. Read this comparison between different sections of the Great Wall.
  • Explore the Forbidden City: the second most popular attraction in Beijing. It is hard to get an idea of the great size of the imperial palace until you are in it.
  • Savor the Summer Palace — while one palace was forbidden, this one remains inviting. Wander where the royals relaxed in the warmer months.
  • Discover the enchanting hutongs. Sightsee, shop, and dine in ancient residential and shopping streets. If you are interested, we can help you enjoy a home-visit to a traditional hutong courtyard house.
  • Experience other things, such as Beijing roast duck, a kung fu show, or an acrobatic show.

How Long to Stay

Three days are enough if you only want to see the essence of Beijing. A recommended itinerary is as follows:

Day 1: Discover the Forbidden City and the hutongs.

Day 2: Hike the Great Wall at Mutianyu and visit the Temple of Heaven.

Day 3: Visit the Summer Palace.

Click to see our handcrafted itinerary with detailed descriptions and vivid pictures as a starting point for your tailor-made tour.

If you want to discover more of Beijing, you will need one or two days more. Our travel experts are happy to tailor-make a Beijing tour according to your special interests and requirements, or see our Beijing tours for some inspiration.

The Best Time to Go

The Temple of HeavenThe Temple of Heaven

Beijing is suitable for travel all year round. However, in terms of seasons, September to November is the best season to visit Beijing as it is the most beautiful and comfortable one.

The Best Season: September–November

  • Nice weather: Beijing’s weather during these months is usually quite temperate and nice.
  • Relatively few tourists: While queues will likely be longer than in winter, travelers can still visit many attractions without having to wait at all.

High Season: April–October


  • Warm weather: It makes eating outside and people-watching highly popular.
  • Long days: You can often cram in a lot of sightseeing before enjoying a late dinner.


  • Crowds: You should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time queuing and be able to withstand the noise of big tour groups comprised of Chinese visitors.
  • Heat: Beijing can become very hot in the summer, especially in July and August.
  • High costs: Expect to pay top prices for everything from flights to hostels during the peak season.
The Fobidden CityOur private tours of the Forbidden City will help you avoid the crowds.

Take our private tour to enjoy a more comfortable trip. Your guide will help you skip the lines at the famous Forbidden City, lead you to explore a less crowded part of the Great Wall, and keep you refreshed with ice water and air-conditioned private transport.

Low Season: November–March


  • Less crowds: There aren’t nearly as many tourists during the winter months, making it far easier to see the attractions.
  • Lower prices: Both flights and hostels are considerably cheaper during the low season.


  • Cold weather: Beijing's winter is cold and dry with occasional snow. The average temperature is below freezing.
  • Short days: It will start getting dark quite early (around 5pm) so make sure to plan your day and sightseeing accordingly.
The Forbidden City in winterThe Forbidden City in winter

Visiting During Chinese Holidays: Please Book Well in Advance

If you plan to visit Beijing during China's summer holiday season (July and August) and China's public holidays (Labor Day on May 1st–3rd, National Day on October 1st–7th, and the Spring Festival around late January or early to mid-February), please book well in advance because train/flight tickets and hotels are sold out quickly.

Read more about Beijing’s weather.

Recommended Hotels 

Beijing is a huge city with a vast range of accommodation options suiting every budget, including hotels, hostels, traditional hutong courtyards, guesthouses, and boutiques.

There are several areas you can consider when choosing your hotel: central Beijing (Wangfujing), northeast Beijing (Chaoyang District), and the Houhai area.

Central Beijing (Wangfujing)


  • 1. A number of hotels, from budget-friendly options to high-end luxurious suites.
  • 2. Located in central Beijing, it is in walking distance to Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City.
  • 3. It’s a massive shopping street with a lot to offer.

Recommended hotels hand-picked by our local specialists:

  • Peninsula Hotel Beijing (5-star)
  • Novotel Beijing Peace (4-star)

Northeast Beijing (Chaoyang District)


  • 1. It is a new business district, surrounded by touring conveniences.
  • 2. It is home to hundreds of skyscrapers and newly-built mid/high-end hotels.
  • 3. Subway Line 1 connects this area with Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City.

Recommended hotels hand-picked by our local specialists:

  • Crowne Plaza Beijing Chaoyang U-Town (5-star)
  • Ritan Hotel (4-star)
  • Hotel Eclat Beijing (boutique)

Famous Food You Should Try

Peking DuckPeking duck

Beijing has food from all over China as well as from many parts of the world. There are thousands of restaurants, including Chinese restaurants, Western restaurants, vegetarian restaurants, Muslim restaurants, and Asian restaurants.

There are quite a few dishes which are unique to Beijing, and one of the most famous specialties is roast duck. The famous roast duck chains of restaurants are Quanjude (全聚德) and Dadong (大董).

Your local guide can give you recommendations according to your tastes and requirements. He/she can help you to order dishes, giving you a hassle-free dining experience.

More Preparations to Make Your Trip Better

1. Read some movies or books about China and Beijing. See 10 Movies to Watch Before Going to China.

2. Get your mobile phone plans in order. Make sure your SIM card is compatible on a Chinese network if you plan to use it. Read some information about Internet access in China.

3. Learn a few words of Chinese, such as “please”, “hello”, “thank you”, and “excuse me”. Strangers are more likely to show kindness when you make an attempt to speak in their local language.

Discover Authentic Beijing with Us

hutongRide to the old hutong area with your guide and take a rickshaw through the 300-year-old hutongs.

If the above information is not enough for you to plan your Beijing tour, feel free to contact us

Our specialists will help you to maximize your travel experience by suggesting the optimal trip for the time you have available and the things you love to do.

Here are some sample Beijing itineraries for inspiration. They’re able to be tailor-made down to the finest detail according to your tastes and interests.