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How to Plan A Trip to Beijing (Cost, Itinerary) 2024/2025

Written by Cindy Updated Mar. 5, 2024

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.

This page would help you get inspiration and be prepared for your upcoming Beijing trip from local and professional insights.

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The Best Things to Do in Beijing

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

  • Walk along or camp on the Great Wall: a must-do activity in Beijing. We recommend the Mutianyu section, which is the most child-friendly and not too crowded, or the wild Jingshanling/Jiankou section for hiking and camping.
Great Wall of China, Beijing top attractionOur guide and guests camping on 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. Guided by our local guide, you could visit the hidden halls to learn about the secrets and story behind them.
Forbidden City, BeijingOur guests explore the Forbidden City
  • Savor the Summer Palace - a resort for the royal family, known as the "Museum of Royal Gardens". Wander where the royals relaxed in the warmer months.
Summer PalaceOur guide and guests take photos at the Summer Palace
Beijing hutongBeijing Hutong - South Luogu Lane
  • Experience other things, such as Beijing roast duck, a kung fu show, or an acrobatic show.
Beijing roast duckBeijing roast duck

Things to Do Recommended for Family with Kids

  • Enjoy an easy walk at Mutianyu Great Wall equipped with an advanced cable car, chairlift, and toboggan, or Camp on the Jiankou Wild Great Wall with a BBQ dinner.
  • Take a rickshaw through hutongs and play with a Chinese yo-yo made of wood or bamboo in a hutong's courtyard
  • Go on a treasure hunt in the National Museum of China
  • Experience Modern Beijing — 'Smart' Restaurant Lunch and Beijing's New CBD Skyline

Things to Do Recommended for Couples

  • Enjoy a stunning sunset at the Great Wall with a romantic picnic, a good witness for anniversaries or birthdays
  • Taste fine rice wine in a hidden hutong. It's a private moment for the two of you.
  • Enjoy the night cityscape on the Western Hills
  • Go to the Place and express your love on "the Sky Screen"

Beijing Trip Itinerary: 4 Days Suggested

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

  • Day 1: Arrival and explore Wangfujing or Sanlitun
  • Day 2: Discover the Forbidden City and the hutongs.
  • Day 3: Hike the Great Wall and visit the Temple of Heaven.
  • Day 4: Visit the Summer Palace and departure.

Click to see more details on our 4-Day Beijing Private Tour or 5-Day Beijing Family Tour

You could also learn more on our Top Beijing Itineraries: From 1 Day to 5 Days with Side Trips

Extended China Tours from Beijing

For first-timers to China, Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai are the most classic route that offers you a window to Old and New China. See our 8-Day China Golden Triangle Tour - Ideal for First-Timers

Another most chosen itinerary would be our 2-Week Beijing- Xi'an-Zhangjiajie-Guilin-Shanghai Tour, crafted to offer a delightful blend of cultural immersion and natural beauty.

For a family tour plan, you could refer to our 12-Day Beijing-Xi'an-Chengdu-Guilin/Yangshuo-Shanghai Tour, including pandas, cultural activities, outdoors, and iconic landmark visits.

If you are looking for a China winter tour, we recommend the combination of China, Xi'an, Harbin, and Shanghai, immersing yourself in a romantic and spectacular snow world. See our 8-Day Shanghai– Beijing– Harbin–Xi'an Tour.

Our travel experts are happy to tailor-make a Beijing tour according to your special interests and requirements.

Beijing Trip Costs

The reference price of a private Beijing tour for a group of 2-4 people is about USD200 per day per person. (This doesn't include the cost of international flights).

A Beijing trip cost will vary according to your accommodation choice, type of transportation, dining, and other expenses.

Beijing lies in the top price band in the Chinese Mainland but is still below the Western city prices found in China's most expensive cities of Hong Kong and Macau.

We recommend booking 3 months in advance to ensure that you have more options and opportunities for comparison.

When booking with us, you'll receive a 100% refund of any payments made to China Highlights if you cancel up to 3 weeks before departure (more details here⇒).

Reference Prices for a Trip to Beijing

  • International flights to Beijing: 800 to 1,300 USD for an economy round-trip flight from the USA (or Europe).
  • Domestic travel to Beijing: 500 to 1,500 yuan (80–230 USD) for an economy one-way trip by plane; 400–1,000 yuan (60-150 USD) for a second-class one-way trip by high-speed train
  • Cost of accommodation in Beijing: 3-star/economy (40–80 USD/per night); 4-star/boutique (80–200 USD/per night); 5-star/luxury (100–500 USD/per night). Hotel prices could increase by 50% to 100% during major holidays such as Labor Day (May 1-5) and National Day holiday (October 1-7).
  • Cost of dining in Beijing: 1.50–5 USD for a snack like pancake; 5–15 USD per meal per person for a good restaurant; 30–60 USD for more expensive. See the top restaurants in Beijing with their prices and specialties for reference.
  • Cost of transportation in Beijing: Metro fares are 3–8 yuan (0.50–1.20 USD), public buses are 1–5 yuan (0.10–0.70 USD), and taxis charge 13 yuan (2 USD) within three kilometers, and thereafter cost 2.3 yuan (0.3 USD) per kilometer.
  • Cost of Beijing attraction tickets: tickets for most attractions in Beijing range from 30 to 100 yuan (5–15 USD). There are a few free attractions in Beijing such as Houhai, Tian'anmen Square, Tianning Temple, and the 798 Art Zone.

The Best Time to Visit Beijing

Beijing is approximately at the same latitude as Philadelphia in the U.S. (but drier in winter and wetter in summer) and Madrid in Spain (though colder in winter).

Although you could travel to Beijing throughout the year, autumn (September and October) is the most recommended season to visit, as the weather is usually quite temperate, and there are relatively few tourists.

The high season is from April to October. Pros: warm weather and long days; cons: crowds, heat, and high costs.

The low season is from November to March. Pros: less crowd and lower prices; cons: cold weather and short days.

We recommend that you book at least 3 months in advance if you plan to visit during these Chinese holidays:

  • China's summer holiday season (July and August)
  • Labor Day (May 1–3)
  • National Day (October 1–7)
  • Spring Festival (late January or early to mid-February)

Read more about Best Times to Visit Beijing, Travel Tips.

Take our private Beijing 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.

Where to Stay in Beijing

Beijing map

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:

  • Qianmen Street area: best for first-timers and sightseeing travelers; near the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven
  • Wangfujing Street area: best for first-timers and shopaholics; near the Forbidden City
  • Hutong area: best for families with children and culture lovers; near Lama Temple and Drum Tower
  • Sanlitun area: best for young people and night owls

If you want to experience old Beijing life, you can opt to stay in a traditional hutong courtyard.

Famous Food You Should Try in Beijing

Beijing snackBeijing snack – ice-sugar gourd

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 that 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.

How to Travel around Beijing

It is very convenient to travel around Beijing. You can choose a subway, bus, or taxi according to your preference.

Beijing is China's No. 1 gateway city and it has two airports: Beijing Daxing International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport. Both airports have domestic flights to Beijing. Beijing Capital International Airport is closer to the downtown area.

Public Transportation

Beijing subway

Although buses in Beijing are abundant, the subway has more and clearer English signage and is faster.

Beijing's subway lines can take you to most attractions within Beijing city, like the Forbidden City and Lama Temple. It is also an economical way to get around Beijing.

The Great Wall is located far from the downtown area. But you can still use public transport to get there, although it takes a long time. Learn more on How to Get to the Great Wall (Options & Costs).


Taxis are also a useful option though they cost a bit more. It's hard to get a taxi during rush hours (7–9 am and 5–9 pm).

Private Transportation

Booking a private tour with your own driver and English-speaking guide is what we recommend, as it is the most hassle-free option to avoid traffic congestion and help you maximize your time.

Tips for a Beijing Trip

1. visa requirements: usually, foreigners need to apply for a visa before traveling to China. If you met the relevant qualifying criteria of the 144-hour visa-free transit policy, you could stay in Beijing for 144 hours without a visa.

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

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

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

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 popular Beijing itineraries for inspiration. They're able to be tailor-made down to the finest detail according to your tastes and interests.

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

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