6 Ways to Make the Most of Your 10 Hour Layover in Beijing
Layovers in Beijing can be an annoying hold-up in your trip, or they can be a fantastic way to see a new city without committing to a whole trip to a new country. Why not make the most of this opportunity to explore a new city? Below, we highlight a few of your best options for keeping yourself occupied:
Option 1: Have a Snooze at the Airport
If you’re in desperate need of some shut-eye, don’t hesitate to take a brief nap at the airport. You’ll find the lounge far more conducive to resting than most airport settings.
Premier lounges also offer buffets, alcoholic beverages, and WiFi access. This isn’t the most exciting option for your layover, but it could provide the respite you desire.
Option 2: Escaping the City- Mutianyu Great Wall
If you’re eager to leave the airport but not quite ready to tackle the hustle and bustle of the city, look to the Great Wall of China as a highly memorable alternative.
As one of the Great Wall’s best-preserved areas, Mutianyu is home to several distinctive watchtowers worth checking out. This portion of the Great Wall also boasts a convenient cable car system.
You’ll probably be through Immigration and to transport in 2-3 hours. You should be back at airport 2 hours before departure to give you ample time to get through the immigration, security, and to boarding gate. That leaves you essentially 5 hours to play with, including transport to/from Mutianyu Great Wall.
For this you’d need to prearrange a private driver to pick you up at airport early in the morning, drive to Mutianyu and back to the airport for drop off.
Option 3: Looking For More Quiet Getaway–Huanghuacheng Great Wall
There’s a lot to love about Mutianyu Great Wall, but it can be unfortunately crowded at times. Depending on when your layover occurs, you may prefer the relative peace and quiet of Huanghuacheng.
Featuring a lot more ruins and a lot less development than Mutianyu, Huanghuacheng is particularly beautiful at sunset. Be sure to build at least four hours into your expedition to account for travel to and from the Great Wall.
Option 4: Take a Guided Tour of the City’s Most Notable Sites
At the famed Tiananmen Square, you’ll find the Gate of Heavenly Peace, which is perfect for photos. If you arrive at sunrise or sunset, you can witness the daily flag raising or lowering ceremonies.
After you explore Tiananmen Square, you stop by the Forbidden City, which is situated close enough to allow for a combined visit during your layover.
Keep in mind, however, that the last admission of the Forbidden City takes place at 3:30 pm in winter or 4 pm in summer — and the entire attraction is closed on Mondays.
If the Forbidden City fits into your schedule, you’ll encounter China’s most impressive imperial architecture.
Option 5: Enjoy the Art–Check Out 798 Art District
Sometimes referred to as theDashanzi Art District, this art zone brings a collection of decommissioned military factory buildings to life. Unique already due to their architectural style, these buildings house a thriving artistic community.
Contemporary galleries and edgy street art dominate the district, but the fun doesn’t end there. As you browse this vibrant enclave, you’ll also find brewpubs, cafes, and plenty of souvenir shops.
Option 6: Try Local Foods — Especially Peking Duck
Set aside time to enjoy at least one traditional Beijing dish. Peking duck may be your best bet. This local delicacy has often been imitated throughout the world, but it’s definitely at its best when consumed at home in Beijing.
Peking duck can be found at a few restaurants within and near the airport. If you have the chance to briefly leave the airport, however, you’ll want to try the dish at one of several fine dining establishments in the heart of the city. Keep in mind that some restaurants (such as the renowned Jing Yaa Tang) require visitors to alert staff to Peking duck orders at least three days in advance.
A Few Things to Note…
Beijing Capital International Airport is huge. You’ll see flights arriving and departing from just about every corner of the world. Just remember you’ll need to allow adequate time to get to your gate. As a transit airport, you will need to put your bags through a scanner before gaining entry to the lounge area.
From art galleries to the Great Wall, layover options abound in and around Beijing. There’s no need to limit yourself to the airport. Make the most of this opportunity to discover what, exactly, makes Beijing so special.