Beijing Layover Guide (PEK)

What are you looking for in PEK?
Tours/To do | Relax/Sleep | Internet/SIM | Transport | Storage | Money

Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) in an enclave of Chaoyang District and Shunyi District in China. The airport serves Beijing and is located 32 km (20 mi) northeast from the city centre. The airport was opened on 1 March 1958 and has had international commercial flights since. Beijing is the capital of China and global power. It is a cultural, financial and political epicentre as well as one of the oldest cities in the world.

Can you leave Beijing Airport (PEK) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
It's possible to visit Beijing during a layover with a visitors visa. (more info).

Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing

Beijing Organized Tours

Lama Temple

Visit the Tibetan-style Yonshe Temple or Lama Temple which seems like seeing ancient Beijing since it is considered as the largest and most perfectly preserved lamasery in present day China. It was initially built in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty and served as the residence of Emperor Yongzheng when he was a prince. The Qing Dynasty changed it to become a lamasery in 1744, and so it became the national centre of Lama administration. Explore the Temple and discover the treasures within. » book this tour

Mutianyu Great Wall

The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, one of the most famous sites in the world. Take the time to climb up the 20th Watchtower and take in the scenic view from this historical landmark. Marvel at the amazing structure that can even be seen from space. There is a relaxing return coach transfer to Mutianyu Great Wall from Beijing downtown. » book this tour

Forbidden City

This UNESCO World Heritage site, was home to 24 emperors throughout the centuries. Once forbidden to access without permission from the emperor, now you can discover its wonders.The huge complex holds paintings, calligraphy, and ceramics of the imperial collections. The Forbidden City is full of yellow royal buildings. Learn about the rich history and the fascinating of residents such as royals, concubines and eunuchs who once lived here. » book this tour

Beijing Things to do / Sightseeing

The Great Wall Of China

As part of the seven wonders of the world, these ancient series of walls total a length of 13,000 miles and remain one of the most significant symbols of China and a very important part of imperial Chinese history. Built as defensive architecture by ancient dynasties over steep mountains and is more than 2,300 years old. The longest wall in the world beautified with great scenery of mountains is without a doubt a must-see attraction pulling in an estimate of 25 million tourists every year, with tunnels and towers to explore.

Time required: Full Day.

Airport to here: Approximately 1 – 2 hours.

The Forbidden City

Forbidden to ordinary people as it is considered a divine place, legend has it the enormous palace was built as a depiction of heavenly palaces. Floors of some of the great walls are paved with specially baked golden bricks. Explore the largest imperial palace in the world including 980 buildings and 8,886 bay of rooms for a collection of ancient Chinese art, artefacts, traditional gardens and traditional Chinese architecture.

Time required: At least 2 hours.

Airport to here: A taxi trip takes roughly 41 minutes.

The Temple Of Heaven

The god of heaven was worshipped by emperors of the famous Ming and Qing dynasties in ancient times. The well crafted monumental architecture and landscape design are made as such to reflect mystical cosmological laws believed by the Chinese to be central to the workings of the universe. Discover the famous Echo Wall (The Whispering Wall) that encompasses the Imperial Vault Of Heaven which makes wireless communication between two people metres apart facing north possible and The Triple Sound Stone, rectangular stones of which when you stand on the first and shout you hear one echo, two echoes when you stand on the second and three echoes when you stand on the third!

Time required: Take 2 hours to explore.

Airport to here: It takes 48-50 minutes to reach this destination by taxi.

Take A Hutong Tour In A Rickshaw

A chance to explore a feng shui-compliant plan of a significant element of ancient Beijing and socialize with local residents in a Rickshaw. Hutong family visits are permitted where you can learn traditional chinese games, fights and cooking lessons.

Time required: Full Day.

Airport to here: It takes 38 minutes to reach this destination by taxi.

Visit The Beijing Zoo

The Beijing Zoo is a zoological park found in the Xicheng District of Beijing. It is one of the oldest zoos in the world since it was founded in 1906 during the late Qing dynasty. The zoo serves as a center of zoological research that studies and breeds rare animals from various continents. It is the largest zoo in China which has the famous Panda House that attracts tourists every year to see admirable Pandas. It also has an aquarium where you can learn about various marine life.

Time required: An hour or 2 to explore.

Airport to here: It takes 35 minutes to reach this destination by taxi.

The Ming Tombs

Visit the imperial cemetery list by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site that is a resting place for all 13 emperors of the Ming dynasty surrounded by mountains, which offers extensive Chinese culture evidence and insights on imperial Ming dynasty eras and heritage. It is a green environment that includes underground palaces, and walkway through huge human and animal sculptures that represent the Ming dynasty.

Time required: 2-3 hours to explore.

Airport to here: A 48 minute drive by taxi will bring you to The Ming Tombs.

The Old Summer Palace

Originally named Imperial Gardens, it was destroyed in 1860 by French and English troops. The old summer palace used to be a grande imperial garden resort for Qing Dynasty Emperors. It was made up of three gardens namely, Garden Of Perfect Brightness, Garden Of Eternal Spring and Garden Of Elegant Spring. It contained thousands of wooden palaces that were burnt to the ground by the troops surviving with only European architecture stone structures. A very important part of Chinese imperial history.

Time required: An hour should be the minimum.

Airport to here: It takes 35 minutes to reach this destination by taxi.

Things to Do in Beijing Airport (PEK)

Relaxing and Sleeping

Airport Lounges and Relaxing
There are numerous lounges in each terminal. » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online

Hotel and Sleeping
There are many hotel options less than a mile away. » view all or book an airport hotel online

Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
There are no designated rest areas within the airport.

WIFI/Internet and SIM Card

WIFI/Internet: Free WiFi is available for 60 minutes, connect to the “YUL Wi-Fi”

SIM Card: There are several shops within the airport that sell SIM cards. » buy a global sim card for Beijing, China that you can use for other countries as well!

Transportation to/from airport

Taxi: Taxi stands are found outside the central exit of the Arrivals of each terminal.

Train: The Airport Express railway runs between Terminals 2 and 3, and Dongzhimen and Sanyuanqiao Metro stations (more info).

Bus: Numerous local city buses and interprovincial coaches are available from the airport. (more info).

Shuttle: Several hotels provide airport shuttle services for their guests.

Car rentals: Car rental counters are available onsite at the arrival halls of each terminal in the airport. » view available cars or rent a car now online

Parking: The parking lots are found close to each terminal and there is information online about the availability of booking and reservation.

Luggage Storage & Lockers

There are storage rooms found at three locations; the 1st Floor of Arrival Hall in T1, the 2nd Floor of Departures Hall of T2 and the 2nd Floor of Arrival Hall of T3-C. » book a luggage storage or locker at Beijing Airport (PEK) online (subject to availability).

Money Exchange and Withdrawal

- Beijing Airport (PEK) ATMs, currency exchanges and banks