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Beijing Mutianyu Layover Tour- Doable? Reputable Drivers?

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Hi all,

I arrive in Beijing-Terminal 3 around 2:45 pm on a Friday, and my international flight is at 1:30 AM (roughly 10 hour layover).

I would love to be able to visit the Mutianyu in this time, but I have a few concerns:

1) Given that I am arriving at PEK at 3PM and need to go through immigration, is it feasible to visit Mutianyu before visiting hours close?

2) Can anyone suggest a driver/reputable tour company that will pick me up and drop me off at T3?

3) With a 72 hour free visa, will I still need to clear customs and re-check my bags, or will my luggage go straight to my final destination? I am asking because I don't want to take a tour while having to manage my luggage or worry about re-checking.

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    1) Closing time is 4.30pm or 5pm depending on the time of year, and even if you had a car ready and waiting it's about 1.5 hours to get there.

    There are other more distant sites that are open 24 hours or not officially open at all, and thus you can wander up them any time you like. If daylight hours are long enough at the time of year you arrive, then this would be another option. Ba Da Ling and Juyong Guan may be reached rather more quickly, and in summer stay open until 7pm and 7.30pm respectively. Jin Shan Ling can be reached in about 2.5 hours and is open 24 hours.

    2) There really aren't any reliable tour companies except those that can be relied upon to charge you far too much money. If you want to view the Great Wall at all costs you might choose to use one of these. Typically it's best to negotiate with a driver for an off-meter rate, and that's best done a day or two in advance by talking to drivers you take around the city for other purposes, or who you flag down for the purposes of negotiation. At 3pm you're heading towards the time at which many drivers will be thinking of heading out to hand over the vehicle to the night driver (typically about 5pm) so this really might be tricky. NB: If trying this method (or going anywhere else by cab from the airport) do NOT talk to anyone who approaches you in the arrivals hall, but only to real cabs waiting at the rank.

    Taking a taxi one-way on the meter to Ba Da Ling would cost about ¥214 on the meter one-way, plus tolls (I'd guess at ¥40 in total). The last express bus back is at 5pm (summer), so you'd need to pick up another cab when you were ready to return. This is also one time you might consider a 'black' (illegal) cab back, which would typically be ¥200 back to town (tolls included). This does not carry the same risks as picking one up at the airport (which should NEVER be done), and if you share with Chinese trying to get back will cost you ¥50 per seat.

    3) The latter will be a matter of whether your domestic and international airlines speak to each other, and you should ask them. But there are plentiful left luggage counters at the airport with cheap rates, so even if you collect your bags you won't have to take them with you.

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