Let’s start by saying that the worst use of layover hours in Beijing would be to sit around in the airport. Beijing is an exciting and exotic city with many iconic sites and attractions. Don’t miss the opportunity to see some of the sites of Beijing during your layover hours in Beijing airport. Many people don’t realize how easy it is to use those layover hours on a short excursion into the city or to the Great Wall of China. A 72 hour visa is readily available to visitors from 51 nations and the visa can be arranged on the spot at Beijing airport.
If you have 8 layover hours or more in Beijing then you have enough time to see the city or visit the Great Wall. Don’t waste your time trying to visit the city independently as you will spend a lot of time arguing with taxi drivers, getting lost and maybe even miss your return flight. If you want to make sure that you use your layover hours in Beijing in the most efficient way and guarantee that you will not miss your return flight then the best thing to do is take an organized layover tour.
With a layover tour you are met at Beijing Capital International Airport by a guide holding a sign with your name. You are whisked out of the airport and into an air conditioned car. Then without wasting any time you are taken to the sites you want to see in Beijing and at the end of the tour returned to the airport for your departing flight.
So what can you squeeze into a layover tour in Beijing? Presuming you have about 8 hours you should choose between the city and the Great Wall. Calculate how much time you will be able to spend on your tour taking into account that you need to be back about 2 hours before your departing flight. If you have a short layover you will still be able to fit in the major sites of Beijing city. On a layover tour the guide can take you passed many of the sites which just need a photo-op and not a long stop like the Olympic Stadium, Water Cube and the Performing Arts Center (the “Egg”). If you were not with a guide driving you from place to place you would never be able to fit in a visit to all of these places as just getting to them would eat up all of your layover time. A city layover tour would include Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and a drive through the quaint hutongs of Beijing.
If you’d like to use your layover time in Beijing by visiting the iconic Great Wall then your guide can take you to the Mutianyu section of the Wall which is easily accessible and closest to the airport. The breathtaking Wall is surrounded by lush countryside and will live up to your expectations. No need to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience even if you will only be in Beijing for a layover.