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How to Plan a Beijing Layover Day Tour

The Forbidden City is a must-see for visitors to Beijing.The Forbidden City is a must-see for visitors to Beijing.

This article offers a scheduled guide aimed at helping you plan an ideal layover day tour/trip to make the most of you stopover at Beijing airport.

Beijing Layover Day Tour Itinerary

To give you an idea of what is possible, see this sample day tour, with minimum times needed in brackets, so you can leave out attractions that you don’t have time for. The following itinerary requires 15 hours between flights.

1. Arrive and leave your luggage at the airport (1 hour)

Upon arrival, it takes about an hour to pass through immigration, baggage collection, and customs at Beijing International Capital Airport. It is recommended that you leave any baggage that you don’t need for the day at an airport baggage storage counter.

Tian'anmen Square in BeijingTian'anmen Square

Terminal 2: Baggage storage counter near gate 9 in the arrival hall and gates 8 and 10 in the departure hall. Telephone: 010-64598151 or 010-64598152

Terminal 3: Baggage storage counter east side of arrival hall on the second floor. Telephone: 010-64558580

The fee is 20–50 yuan per bag per day depending on size. Ensure that you keep a lock on your bag at all times.

2.  Travel to central Beijing (1½ hours)

Beijing private transferOur private transfer can make your trip more convenient and time-saving.

On average 1½ hours should be enough to get to central Beijing by road, but at peak traffic times 2½ hours may be needed. Tian’anmen Square is the center of Being and a good landmark attraction to start a day in Beijing from.

For even better convenience, you could always use our safe, reliable and fast private transport service with 24/7 customer service.

3. Visit Tian’anmen Square (1 hour)

Iconic Tian’anmen Square is home to the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong and offers great views of other famous sites such as the Great Hall of the People and the National Museum of China.

4. Visit The Forbidden City (2 hours)

Head north through Tian’anmen Square and take the pedestrian subway under Chang’an Avenue for the Forbidden City (officially known as the Palace Museum). 

You will need to book tickets for this attraction in advance to avoid lines and possible disappointment, and while 2 hours is the minimum time recommended, an in-depth tour with one of our knowledgeable guides is better.

To get the best experience, check out How to visit the Forbidden City.

5.  Visit Jingshan Park (1½ hours)

The bird's eye view of the Forbidden CityThe view of the Forbidden City from Jingshan Park.

Having journeyed through the Forbidden City, walk up to the pavilion at the top of Jinshan Park for unparalleled views over the palace grounds and the golden rooftops.

6. Explore  the hutongs (2 hours)

From Jingshan Park, it’s a short walk to China’s historic hutongs (alleyways) in the heart of the city. As ancient as the city itself, these alleyways hold unique charm and are home to numerous restaurants and cafes.

7. Return to Beijing Airport (2 hours)

At least 4 hours before your flight departs leave the Lama Temple, and take a taxi to the airport. If you elect to explore Beijing with our private guide and transport service we will make sure you get to the airport in plenty of time for your flight.

Choosing What to Visit in Beijing

Here are some of the top attractions in Beijing that you could see in a day trip:

 

Attraction Type Recommended time for a visit (hours) Open Hours from Beijing International Airport
Tian’anmen Square Historical site 1 Day and evening 1.5
The Forbidden City Culture and historical site 2-3 8.30am to 5pm Apr-Oct, to 4.30pm Nov-Mar 1.5
The Temple of Heaven Scenic & Culture 3 Day 1.5
Mutianyu Great Wall Scenic 4 7am to 7pm 3
Lama Temple Culture 1 9am to 4.30pm 1.5
Simatai Great Wall Scenic 4 Day and night 3
Houhai Lake Cultural, shopping, and eating 2 Day and night 2
The Summer Palace Culture and scenic 3 8.30am to 5pm 2
Jingshan Park Scenic 1.5 6am to 7pm 1.5

Meals and Shopping

Beijing roast duck is a dish you should not miss. 

Beijing is the perfect place to sample local specialties as well as any number of cuisines from throughout China. Our guides to the best dishes to try in Beijing and the city’s top restaurants could offer a good starting point.

Need Help with Your Beijing Layover Tour? Look No Further!

Beijing private tourOur private travel service will make the most of your time in Beijing. 

China Highlights offers Beijing tours, which can be customised to suit your preferences to ensure you get the most out of your visit. These tours could take you anywhere from the Forbidden City to the Summer Palace or to the lesser toured parts of the Great Wall.

Here are two samples of Beijing layover itineraries for your inspiration:

Feel free to contact us with an inquiry. Our travel consultant will be in touch within 24 hours with some suggestions.