Making the most of our Beijing, China Layover

6:15 AM Jess Lauchengco 6 Comments

I am fond of long haul flights with a long stop over -- because it's either I go out of the airport or it's a needed break for my legs to stretch it all out and walk. Our recent flight from LAX to MNL had a 10-hour stop over in Beijing, China. We flew with Air China --which we will never ever book again.

Visiting Great Wall of China during a layover tour
It was damn cold up there
The great take away from this trip tho is we got to see the Great Wall of China in person. I booked a layover trip via Viator. From Beijing airport, we got our own chauffeur brought us to The Great Wall, and then to Forbidden City and back to airport. 

You can book your trip here like how I did:

Layover Permit
But before you are allowed to go beyond the airport territory you will need a layover permit;
Since we just have a 10-hour lay over, we are under the 24-hour visa free transit category.
Getting a Temporary Entry Permit in Beijing china for a layover tour

The counter is just right in front of the gate where where we arrived. Just line up there and then show your 2 boarding passes. Includes start of destination - china - end destination. Then they will put a sticker in your passport. Note that, you MUST have both boarding passes for them to give you a permit. There was also a language barrier with the airport staff which delayed us a lot. My advice is.. Stay in line in the said counter, if they ask you to go somewhere else, don't go there yet until you get the temporary entry permit.

How long can you stay in China with just this permit? I found this Travel China Guide very helpful:

Driver waiting at the Arrival Hall
Our driver was waiting for us in Starbucks (arrival hall) holding my name written in a paper. We were late for an hour because of airport staff who kept on confusing us. We went with him in the parking lot and rode a Black VW Sedan. He doesn't speak english a lot tho.

But.. We have a an english speaking tour guide thru his cellphone. It's the first thing he gave us. We also have free 2 bottles of water which we used to dissolve Emergenc. Unbelievably, it was colder in China than in California during winter. lol

How much Yuan Cash Money do you need for the layover?
I had to prepare money for the shuttle, tram and entrance tickets. It is also for the food you'll be eating while on tour. I actually prepared 120USD for this trip for 2 people.

Entrance tickets to great wall of china - mutianyu

The Great Wall of China
So there you go, after 2 hours of mixed transportation we finally arrived.

Forbidden City
We met with our driver in the parking lot again. We spoked to our english speaking guide and told us that we are heading to forbidden city. They also provided a hand-written map where we will be meeting up again. Along the trail going back to where we will be meeting our driver again. We found some street foods that my mom and I tried.

Back in time
So we were dropped by the Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) just in time before our next flight. If you do not want to go out of the airport then, I have found some great stop over tips here:

You can book your trip here like how I did:



  1. Hello, your post is very interesting. I’m also planning to apply for the temporary entry permit. Did you find the whole process easy or difficult? And other than the sticker, didthey also put an entry stamp while clearing the immigration system? Thank you so much in advance

  2. It is actually very easy & cheap to get both to the Great Wall and the Forbidden Palace (as well as Tienanmen Square, which is a short walk from the latter).
    The metro system is easy to use, with an option to change the language to English and the signage is also very good so easy to ensure you get on the trains going the right way. Certainly the Metro ride from Tienanmen Square station to the airport is easy and quicker than going by car, just one change of line)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. That is change the language on the ticket machines.

  3. When your website or blog goes live for the first time, it is exciting. That is until you realize no one but you and your. hire Chinese employee