Beijing Layover Tour

me great wall of china ps 2

The Beijing Layover Tour is perfect if you’re planning to transit Beijing but you don’t have a tourist visa. Chinese Visas for U.S. citizens aren’t cheap so it can blow your budget if you’re just passing through town. Luckily, a few years back, the Chinese government created the 72-hour Visa-Free Transit policy.  This is essentially a short tourist visa and it’s absolutely FREE but you MUST meet all of the requirements: (1) You must hold a valid passport from one of the approved countries (2) Have valid international travel documents (3) Qualify for entry into the next country you are traveling to (4) Have a confirmed airline ticket leaving the country within the 72-hour window.  You can find out more information HERE or by visiting the Chinese embassy website.

The Tour Company:

Beijing Layover Tours is the company we used for this tour.   I booked it via the internet a few months before our trips and the cost was $280 USD (for two people).  The tour lasted 10 hours and included stops at the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square. 

Some of the times on the itinerary were changed due to more/less time at each attraction or traffic.  However, we did NOT feel rushed at any point during the tour. This company has excellent ratings on Tripadvisor so be sure to check them out if you’ll be passing through Beijing!  


Highlights from our tour. See more HERE.other marching guards ps


with our guide ps

us beijing china tiananmen square ps

Have you taken an airport layover tour? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!

BEIJING layover tour pinterest-

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  1. Reply

    That’s awesome! I’m super glad to know this, thanks for the info! 🙂

    1. Reply

      Great, I’m glad you like it!

  2. Reply

    Beijing in one day! I would think that’s a lot to cram into the day. great wall and palace though seems awesome. I’ve once done a layover tour of Buenos Aires aaages ago and it was rushed and actually made me more tired to travel!

    1. Reply

      Well, that’s unfortunate that you felt rushed. We had so much time, 8 hours, so we didn’t feel rushed at all. Plus, our layover was 14 hours so we got to relax and have a nice meal before we boarded our flight home.

    • anna
    • August 8, 2015

    So clever that tour companies are now doing this. Good quick way to see a city and its highlights!

    1. Reply

      Sometimes all you need is the highlights! It was pretty amazing for an 8 hour tour.

  3. Reply

    So great that China is allowing travelers to take advantage of long layovers with the free visa. Looks like you guys had the Great Wall all to yourselves going so early!

    1. Reply

      I was surprised to hear about the 72 hour visa as well. I’m glad I did the research or we would have been stuck in the airport for 14 hours,

  4. Reply

    Great idea and looks like a very well planned tour!

    1. Reply

      The tour was extremely well planned. We had time for everything but also time to enjoy everything.

  5. Reply

    What a cool idea to use the layover for sightseeing! Thanks for writing down the info about the visa, I didn’t know that kind of visa existed! I usually don’t prefer to stop in China as I hate that gmail and Facebook are not working, but if I can take stroll to Great Wall, why not!:)

    1. Reply

      It’s annoying not to have proper internet/social media but it’s also a great idea to see something more than your phone/computer screen. I use it as a social media detox time!

    • Olga
    • August 10, 2015

    Looks like a great tour!!

    1. Reply

      Thanks, Olga!

  6. Reply

    I wish all countries organised something like this. 10 hours to explore a city – or at least, the essentials – is great. I spent 15 hours layover in Miami and if I had found an organised tour of the city I would have done it. Instead, I just stayed at the airport and… slept!!

    1. Reply

      I agree! Too many people waste too many hours sitting around in airports. I’m sure there are other places that offer this service and I’m looking for them all!

  7. Reply

    This is great information! We’re always looking for longer layovers and tours to go on and this one looks great! A great price as well!

  8. Reply

    This is so much better than just sitting around in the airport. I once had an 8 hour layover but the airport was too far from the city. Its best if most places offer trips like this. Make better use of your time

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