Beijing Stopover - a few questions?

Feb 5th, 2010, 06:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 30
Beijing Stopover - a few questions?

We arrive in Beijing late July early morning and we are there until late morning of the following day. There are 4 of us, we would like to visit the Great Wall and see if we have time to visit a few other tourist sights as well, eg, Summer Palace, Forbidden City? but dont know if we will have time.
PeterN_H I have read several of your responses on this forum and have gathered from your information that we are better to take a taxi on arrival to our hotel (not booked yet) somewhere in the city. I travel in Hong Kong alot and know this to be the case there as well.
Can you advise the best way about getting to the Great Wall from then on? Are we better to pre-book a trip, given the small amount of time we have. Will it be more expensive to book something through out hotel on arrival?
Please can you advise the most reasonable and sensible (in your opinion) way of visiting the Great Wall and maybe somewhere else of interest?
I dont think of course that we will have time the next day to do any sightseeing.
Am not sure of the distance to city centre hotels from Beijing Airport???
Temps end of July will be very hot will they not?
Appreciate any help.
dreamweaver is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,032
If it were me (and not knowing how tired you expect to be upon arrival) I would consider trying to maximize time by taking a taxi directly from the airport to the Great Wall and later in the day (around noonish?) on to your hotel. The airport is on the way to the Mutianu section of the Great Wall so it doesn't make a lot of sense to backtracking. THis plan would also work for the Bedaling section but I think you would prefer Mutianu.

Contact your hotel in advance and they may be able to arrange a private taxi (or car/driver) at nonexhorbitant rates to do this.

If you only have time for one other, I would recommend the Forbidden City over the Summer Palace.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 09:59 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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We flew into Beijing about 9pm. We also had a very short time. We had the next day and untill noon the following day when we left for the port to meet our cruise.

Beijing can be seen by using the subways, buses and catching a taxi on the street, but you will waste time dealing with the arrangements on the spot. If you want to make the most of your limited time, make the transportation arrangements before you arrive. You will see more and enjoy it more especially after a long flight.

NoFlyZone suggestion is great. We found private arrangements to be a good value for us, especially since we were able to see what we wanted with out wasting time finding the mode of transportation. Some will say we got taken, but compared to doing the same type of arrangements other places, it was a very good bargin. We started early the first day (7am) and saw Badaling, the Summer Palace (around noon) and the Forbidden Palace (around 3-4). So I would think you could easily do two sights that day, if leaving from the airport, then checking into the hotel later.

Also depending on when you flight leaves the next morning, if you could go over to the Temple of Heaven around 7am, you would see the people doing their morning excerise routines in the park. That is one of our favorite memories from Beijing. You also will get a nice view of the Temple even if you don't have time for a tour. Maybe check out early and visit or drive though the park on the way to the airport.

Have a good time.
cwn is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 04:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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> have gathered from your information that we are better to take a taxi on arrival to our hotel

There's certainly no blanket recommendation to take a taxi either in Beijing or Hong Kong, and in the case of Beijing it is entirely dependent on time of arrival, destination in town, number in party, and amount of baggage. Setting aside the peculiarities of the airport run, in general by far the best way to get around Beijing is by metro, with vast savings in time and costs, and often best for the airport, too.

With only a day to spend, and one that begins with an arrival by plane, you'll have to limit yourself to a relatively nearby Great Wall spot, and a relatively brief stay. Both Badaling and Juyong Guan can be reached with speed and ease by bus from Desheng Meng, with departures every few minutes, meaning that you can start out at any time regardless of any variation in arrival time, time taken reaching hotel, time spent on breakfast, then spend just as long there are you like before coming back the same way. Even so, so can say goodbye to a total of around three hours in travel. The Forbidden City's last entry time in the summer is 4.10pm, and they start herding people out shortly afterwards, so allowing for lunch (there are light meals available within the Palace itself) your time will be short, but if you have the energy you can still amble round Tian'an Men Square afterwards.

You can also consider chartering a taxi to either Badaling, Juyong Guan, or Mutianyu (¥350) dropping you at the Forbidden City on the return.

The weather in July is something you can look up for yourself on the Internet in a matter of seconds, as is the distance of the airport from the city centre, although that's not as important as traffic, time of day, and exactly which part of the city cnetre you are in to calculating the time necessary. For such a short stay for maximum convenience you might well want to consider the Traders Upper East, the Novotel, or the Ibis, depending on your budget. The first is a quick journey by cab as it is on the northeast side of the city avoiding the worst of the traffic and making the return journey equally easy, and the other two are directly outside exit C of the Airport line's San Yuan Qiao station, which could scarcely be more convenient, the same stop also being on subway line 10. This might also enable you to make use of some time the following day.

Peter N-H
PeterN_H is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 05:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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P.S. Under no circumstances should you consider either hiring a hotel vehicle unless money is no object as the rate for a car for one hour can be double the rate for an entire day trip by taxi. Nor should you involve the hotel in advance in the charter of a third-party vehicle, even supposing it is willing, as the rate will indeed by exorbitant compared to what you need to pay, and the only advantage would be to have a vehicle waiting. The hotel's involvement should in general be limited to having the receptionist write down in Chinese the route you want to take, how long you want to spend at the Wall, and how much you want to pay, so you can show this to a driver.
PeterN_H is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 10:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 30
Thank you all for your replies and information. Will take your advice and confer with my friends. We notice there a lots of websites or Companies that offer trips from the airport to the Great Wall etc, can anyone recommend the name of one they have used?
Have decided to check into our hotel later in the day and go from the airport once we have freshened up (hopefully this will work)
dreamweaver is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 08:50 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 878
Sounds like a good plan to get the most out of your short time.

Check on Cruise Critic Message Board...a internet site for cruise info...I know you aren't cruising, but many cruisers do day trips to Beijing from the port...they share their infor on this site.

At the main message board there is a section... Ports of Call or on this and then click on Asia (China).
You should find some reports on car and drivers used by others recently in Beijing.

For us, I did an internet search, found several servicies listed and got prices for what we wanted to do from each. We were happy with our driver, but it has been several years now, so you might want to check with drivers used more recently.

Have a good trip.
cwn is offline  

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