Best Ways to Make the Most Out of Beijing Layover
If you have found yourself with a layover at Beijing International Airport, you may now be wondering what to do with your time….besides sleep!
There’s plenty to do at PEK. If you have a boarding pass for a same-day flight, you can go explore any terminal. You can entertain yourself there with fine restaurants and shopping for a few hours without ever leaving the terminal.
And, if you have more than 9 hours layover you can head out to explore Mutianyu Great Wall and make it back in time to board your next flight feeling refreshed and with a few Beijing memories to add to your travel experiences.
With a little planning and a spirit of adventure, a long layover can create memories to last a lifetime. Take the following steps to ensure your layover is as enjoyable and as stress-free as possible:
Plan Ahead For Time Spent in the Airport
Even if you explore the city during your layover, you will likely spend at least a few hours hanging out in the airport before customs or after security.
Bring a paperback book, Sudoku puzzles, or a handheld gaming device to kill time. Free WiFi is available but can be difficult for visitors from outside of China to access.
Keep Luggage Secure
If you’re lucky, your airline will take care of your luggage — or you’ll travel light enough to keep it all in one backpack. Many visitors, however, must juggle multiple suitcases.
Carrying these items with you is not practical, but thankfully, luggage service is available at the airport. The cost of storage depends primarily on the length and weight of the bag.
Create an Itinerary
With only a few hours available, you’ll want a detailed itinerary to help you make the most of every minute.
Avoid excessive ambition; traffic, weather, and other factors will likely prevent you from tackling more than a few main attractions in a single layover.
Build in plenty of time for transit. Also consider whether you’ll want to stretch your legs after a long flight.
Traffic conditions can dramatically alter your layover timeline. Before your trip, investigate typical conditions for the day and time you expect to travel. Adjust your plans accordingly.
East part of Beijing can be especially frustrating during rush hour commutes; attractions in the heart of the city may prove untenable. Sometimes, attractions on the outskirts of the city like Huanghuacheng Great Wall are a better fit.
It typically takes vacationers several days to conquer Beijing’s transit system — time that is clearly not available during your layover. Planning can help, but your layover experience could prove a lot less stressful if you let somebody else handle transit concerns.
Local car companies offer meet-and-greet services, allowing you to travel directly from the airport to the Great Wall or other top destinations. Otherwise, the Airport Express may be your best bet for accessing the city.
A little time and a detailed itinerary can pave the path to a delightful layover experience in and around Beijing. You’ll never regret ditching the airport and making the most of those extra hours.