Few hours in Beijing- what to do?

Feb 8th, 2014, 09:17 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 31
Few hours in Beijing- what to do?

My daughter & 3 friends are travelling to Europe in July. Both ways their flights stop in Beijing for a few hours. Going over they will have all up about 8 hours & coming home about 10 hours. Both ways they arrive about 6 am. They leave at 2pm & 4pm . Is it feasible to get into Beijing to see something? What would be the easiest places to get to? I'm guessing Tiananmen Sq or the Wall would be their highest priorities. As far as I know none of them have been there so any experience of Beijing would be a bonus. It would sure beat the inside of an airport for many hours.
Thanks in anticipation
aussiesue2001 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 06:50 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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For one trip you could go to the Great Wall, preferably the Mutianyu section. It would be better to pre-arrange transportation as getting there by public transportation from the airport is not really a practical option. For the other rip you could go to town (using the subway) and choose the Forbidden city and area.
JPDeM is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 08:55 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Assuming your daughter is an Australian citizen, she will need a visa to enter China. She has to apply for this before she arrives, it takes a few days/weeks. The cost is AUS$98.5 for a single entry, so it is not cheap. If she wants to go into the PRC on both ends of the trip, a multiple-entry visa costs AUS$125. See http://au.china-embassy.org/eng/ls/vfc/t1038740.htm. (If she has an APAC card, she can enter visa free.)

Also bear in mind that in July it will be chock- a- block with tourists, especially the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, mentioned above, as this is the closest section to Beijing. It gets most of the bus tours. The Tiananmen Square area is very large, and crowds can be more dispersed, but I have been in the Forbidden City in July with crowds which were of an alarming size trying to move through the rooms and courtyards. It could also be quite hot.

Finally bear in in that traffic, esp. into Beijing on a weekday which at 7:30 AM could be quite bad. It is rush hour. Taking public transport into Beijing is a good idea. Gong by car to Mutianyu, they could run into traffic as well. Even without traffic, it is about an hour by car from the airport to Mutianyu.

My guess is that with landing and entry Immigration, getting money, checking carry on luggage, figuring out next steps, etc if their arriving flight is on time they will be ready to head out by about 7:30 AM. They also need to be back at the airport about 2 hours before their flight to make it through Immigration. So it will work out to about 4.5 hours for one of their layovers, and about 6 hours for the other . I am not sure it is worth the hassle for that short a time (esp on the inbound to Europe). But work backwards from there and leave ample time for traffic.

I would think the best plan is the Airport Express to the Dongzhimen Subway Station and then switch to the subway (or taxi from there) to Tiananmen Square. They can walk around there, possibly including the Forbidden City. Then head back by subway/Airport Express. See http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/feature_2...bway/index.htm for info on the subway system.
Cicerone is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 09:05 PM
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Sorry, as an Austrlain citizen transiting in the PRC for less than 24 hours, your dauthter shoudl be able to enter visa-free. I have never used this way to go into the PRC, so don't know much about it. I beleive the airline issues these. Your daughter should check the PRC embassy website or with her airline.
Cicerone is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 12:34 PM
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Thanks for your helpful replies.
Any ideas where one would start to organise transportation? They haven't started to research this yet as the trip has only just been booked
aussiesue2001 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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By the way, australians can transit visa-free for 72 hours so the information above is incomplete or incorrect.
For a driver you can check here: http://www.thebeijinger.com/classifieds/cars-drivers
JPDeM is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 12:21 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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I would like to recommand an mobilephone app for calling taxis in Beijing,which is called 嘀嘀打车.Most beijingers use it to call the taxi now.Your daughter can easily find it in the phone app store.Hope it will help.
Tiilll is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 05:06 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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There are 72-hours transit visa-free has been available for some time to citizens of most developed nations arriving at Beijing with onward tickets to third countries.

Reaching Tian'an Men Square and viewing the Forbidden City, for instance, would be no problem at all using public transport, and very cheap. The Airport Express line leaves from right outside the terminals, reaches the city in about 20 mins (more swiftly than any other method), and connects directly to the metro (subway) system.

Stop at an ATM (bank machine) in the terminal to get a little Chinese cash, buy an Yikatong (stored value transit card) at the Airport Express station, and Bob's your uncle. The card requires a deposit of ¥20 but all other cash handed over is spendable value, and the convenience of the card makes the loss of ¥20 worthwhile. It can be kept for a second trip, and passed on to friends visiting Beijing in the future. Most metro trips are merely ¥2, regardless of the number of changes, and metro is the way you get swiftly around the city. The surface is largely stationary and the last thing you want is an over-priced expat-targeting car and driver.

There are plenty of left luggage offices at the airport with clearly listed prices.


The Airport Express has a separate fare of ¥25 one way, and you pay again (¥2) when changing to the main metro system to reach the Forbidden City. The card is simply wiped on a terminal each time you enter and exit the system, and can be topped up at almost any station using English-speaking machines or at a counter.

Unexpectedly, Wikipedia has a reliable metro map, kept more up to date that the one on Beijing's official site, and easily downloadable or printable.


As you'll see, it's one stop to Suan Yuan Qiao, south on Line 10 to Guomao, and west on Line 1 to Tian'an Men East. Signage and announcements are in English.

In short, there's certainly time to do significant sightseeing.
temppeternh is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 169
I'm looking at a possible 24-36hr layover in Bejing in December - all this info (esp from temppeternh) is incredibly helpful.
bubblywine is offline  
Feb 14th, 2014, 01:55 AM
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Wow- thanks for all the information. It really is helpful. The girls have got long trips to & from Europe . All the hints & info you've given will make their trip home really interesting- thanks again
aussiesue2001 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2014, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 125
they could do the Mutianyu Great Wall or Tian`anmen Square and Forbidden City,just perfect time to do
Violet_1125 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2014, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
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You can get a visa at the airport when you arrive called a Transit Visa. You can be there for 72 hours but can not leave the city. There is a train that goes to the center of the city and I would spend your time at Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. That is enough time. Remember to check in to the airport for your next flight you should be there about 2 hours before departure. As you will see traffic in Beijing is a nightmare and a taxi will take over an hour.
ChinaDave1 is offline  
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