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How to Plan Your Beijing Visa-Free Tour

The Forbidden CityThe Forbidden City is a must-see for your Beijing visa-free tour.

Since December 28, 2017, Beijing has extended its visa-free transit policy from 72 hours to 144 hours, and expanded the visa-free area to include Tianjin and the neighboring Hebei province.

In other words, you can travel in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei for as many as 6 days without a visa. Here are some tips to help you maximize your stay.

Am I Eligible for Beijing’s Visa-Free Policy?

The 144 visa-free policy makes touring Beijing more convenient and more feasible for foreign travelers of 53 nationalities.

Travelers qualifying for visa-free transit must travel to/from Beijing by plane, ship, or train via designated ports, must stay within the Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei area, and must leave within 6 days for a third country or region.

Passport holders of the following countries are eligible for the visa exemption program:

  • Americans (of 6 countries): the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and the Republic of Chile
  • European citizens (of 39 countries): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Belarus, and Monaco
  • Oceanians (of 2 countries): Australia and New Zealand
  • Asians (of 6 countries): South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar

See How to Transit Through China for 144 Hours Without a Visa.

3 Key Tips for Your Visa-Free Beijing Trip

1. Transit Ports Are Not Limited to Beijing’s Airport

The most popular way to get to Beijing is by airplane through Beijing Capital International Airport. However, it is not the only option.

Passengers traveling on a cruise ship or train also have the opportunity to enjoy this policy.

Tianjin Cruise Port is often used by travelers. It is about 170 kilometers (100 miles) from Beijing.

Our transfer service makes it convenient for you to take a Beijing trip after you disembark from your cruise ship.

Travel by cruise Passengers traveling on a cruise ship also have the opportunity to enjoy the 144-hour visa-free policy.

These are the transit ports you may use:

  • Beijing Capital International Airport
  • Beijing West Railway Station (direct trains from Hong Kong only)
  • Tianjin Binhai International Airport
  • Tianjin International Cruise Home Port
  • Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport
  • Qinhuangdao Port

2. Include Hong Kong or Macau in Your Itinerary

This policy requires that passengers must be in transit to a third country or region. Hong Kong and Macau are considered to be third countries/regions for transit purposes, and you won’t need a visa for a short stay there either.

You can include them in your itinerary to meet the policy’s criteria and also do some sightseeing there, for example: USA – Beijing (6 days) – Hong Kong (3 days) – USA.

3. You Can Extend Your Trip to Tianjin or Hebei


With this policy, you can not only travel within Beijing Municipality, but you can also cross into neighboring Tianjin Municipality or Hebei Province.

Compared to the capital, Tianjin is a laid-back city featuring European-flavored neighborhoods. You can easily take a Tianjin daytrip from Beijing.

You can also experience some quieter Hebei historical sites. You can see rarely-visited stretches of the Great Wall and stroll around ancient settlements and walled towns.

How to Spend Your 144 Hours (6 Days)

Beijing’s main attractions are historical sites and cultural experiences. Six days are plenty to cover the highlights of Beijing, and discover what interests you in Beijing/Tianjin/Hebei.

The Great Wall at Mutianyu The Mutianyu Great Wall is child-friendly.

The Most Popular Sites You Shouldn't Miss

  • The Great Wall at Mutianyu: This is a restored Great Wall section with fewer crowds, the most impressive scenery, and a convenient cable car service. If, however, you’d like to catch some nighttime view of the Great Wall, a night tour to the Simatai section will give you a different and unique experience.
  • The Forbidden City: The world’s largest and best-preserved imperial palace was constructed in 1420. See how to visit the Forbidden City.
  • Tian'anmen Square: A landmark of Beijing, it is the largest famous square in the world.
  • The Summer Palace was used as a summer retreat by the emperors.
  • The Temple of Heaven , a holy imperial temple, offers you a chance to have an interesting experience watching local people doing their morning exercises.

Get more inspiration from our page: The Top 20 Things to Do in Beijing .

Attractions to Enjoy If Traveling with Children

  • A hutong trip with some cultural experiences, such as learning to apply facial makeup for the Beijing opera, learning Chinese calligraphy, and learning Chinese paper cutting skills.
  • An encounter with giant pandas at Beijing Zoo, which is one of the most easily accessible places to see giant pandas in China.
  • A kung fu show in the Red Theater at night.

For more recommendations and tips, see our article: How to Plan a Family Trip to Beijing.

Beijing hutongVisit a local family in Beijing hutong.

A Sample 144-Hour Itinerary for Your Reference

To optimize your visa-free enjoyment of Beijing, we suggest you arrange to arrive in Beijing in the daytime and depart six days later:

  • Day 1: Arrive and free time jetlag adjustment
  • Day 2: Visit Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, and a hutong
  • Day 3: Visit the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall at Mutianyu
  • Day 4: Visit the Summer Palace and Beijing Zoo
  • Day 5: Enjoy more of Beijing/Tianjin/Hebei
  • Day 6: Free time and depart

For more details, see our 4-day itinerary below.

Take a Visa-Free Beijing Tour with Us

The Temple of HeavenTravel with us to discover more of Beijing.

As your transit time is limited, you are recommended to book a private tour to enjoy hassle-free convenience, with expert help to make the most of your time.

We are glad to help tailor-make a Beijing tour for you. Here are two recommended itineraries that can be customized to your visa-free needs:

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