7.5 hour night layover in Beijing - What to see and eat
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Feb 22, 2013 9:39 AM Last Post By: bengbubob
Feb 19, 2013 10:59 PM
7.5 hour night layover in Beijing - What to see and eatI know Beijing layovers have been covered a few times on here, but I haven't seen a lot about what to do for a night layover.
I'm arriving to PEK at 18:20 from Tokyo-Narita and have a flight leaving for London at 1:55. That leaves me about 7.5 hours. It's a Thursday night in March.
I've never been to Beijing (or anywhere in China) and would like to see it. I understand that I can obtain a stopover stamp and head into the city without paying a fee.
What's good to see at night? Any must-try dishes or restaurants? It'd be nice to have a big dinner and a few drinks so I can sleep right away when I get back on the plane.
Thanks in advance!
Feb 20, 2013 1:48 AM
1Yes, assuming you have a UK Passport, you should be able to get a visa free stamp. Assume landing at 1820, clear immigration by 1920. Take the express train down to Dongzhimen (I think you need cash only), then take the metro (line 2) from there to Qianmen. THis is the south side of Tiananmen Sq. I think they close off the square at dusk, but you can still walk long the outside and see in easily. Walk north to the Gate of Heavenly Peace (the one with Mao's portrait), then in towards the entrance to the Forbidden City (I think this is open).
Take a right before the get to the entrance gate of the F.C (which will be closed by now), following the path running beside the moat. You'll end up on Donghuamen Dajie. Walk along this road until you get to Wangfujing (Beijing's main shopping street). Walk down (south) this...plenty of shops and restaurants down here.
You can get the metro from here back to the airport (change at Jiangguomen and Dongzhimen). Running between Wangfujing and Dondan stations is the Oriental Malls. In the basement are loads of restaurants. Make sure you are on a train well before midnight - check what time the last airport train is. Otherwise, a taxi is cheap, from Wangfujing to the airport shouldn't cost more than £10-15.
A walking map...ignore the funny long way round, the area is pedestrianised so doesn't show on the map.
Feb 20, 2013 1:54 AM
2With the airport train, you have to buy 2 tickets, one to Dongzhimen (25 RMB), and a separate one when you get to Dongzhimen (2) for the onward trip.
The only restaurant I know round there is a small place called Yibaidu Gangshi hot Pot. They have a picture menu in English. Tasty food. It's a little obscure, but on Xitang Hutong. It;s only a few minutes walk from the top of Wangufjing Street.
Better known (although I don't like the chain) is Quanjude Peking Duck. Their have a branch half way down Wangfujing at 9 Shuaifuyuan Hutong (a side street).
Feb 20, 2013 1:55 AM
Feb 20, 2013 2:03 AM
4Hi, dear, you do have 7.5 hours in total, but i think it is hard for you to hang out in Beijing to visit something because you need 1 hours to exit the airport, 3 hours ahead for leaving Beijing for your international flight, 2 hours for round-way commuting between airport and downtown if no traffic jam happens. So you there are actually 1.5 hours at your disposal. Staying in the airport and dining around is kindly suggested.
Hope it helps.
Feb 20, 2013 2:27 AM
5Bella makes a good point about traffic jams, but only on arrival (hence taking the train). If you get a taxi back from Wangfujing between 11pm and midnight, there should be very little traffic. I've made it in 25 minutes from inside Chaoyangmen Gate. Journey shouldn't take more than 45 mins. You'll have already checked in, and have your boarding pass, so getting to the airport 1 hour before departure should suffice. Make sure you go to the correct terminal (Air China is Terminal 3, 第三号航楼,国际)
1920 Dep Airport on train
2020 Arrive Qianmen. Start walking
2130 Arrive Wangfujing, find late dinner
2315 Get taxi
0000 Arrive Airport
Feb 20, 2013 3:01 PM
6In my opinion, doable.
Had done it a few times in a similar window, and about to do it again soon too.
In addition to #1’s
... Take the express train down to Dongzhimen (I think you need cash only), then take the metro (line 2) from there to Qianmen…
-To save time on the return Airport Express, I usually bought a return trip (2 tickets: 25rmb+25rmb) at the airport.
-Expect a long walk for the transfer between Airport Express and the subway ticket booth.
-Watch for the Airport Express last departure from Dongzhimen to the airport is about 10:30pm.
-When you are in the Dongzhimen Subway, make sure to board train (line#2) going the south direction, which should say the next station is Dongsishitiao. (My local friend and I still boarded trains going the wrong direction occasionally.) In case of airport delay and if you want to cut short of the downtown excursion, you can go straight to the Wangfujing Station by transfer from line #2 to line #1 at Jianguomen Station.
-Wangfujing outdoor street food is worth browsing for fun, do not know if it opens in cold weather?
Feb 20, 2013 11:50 PM
Feb 21, 2013 12:05 AM
8It is absolutely essential, that you have the destination written down on paper (in Chinese characters, of course) when flagging down a taxi. That is "Captial airport, terminal 3" (if that is your terminal for departure). You can ask a (Chinese) flight attendant in the inbound flight to scripple it down on a piece of paper - or have somebody in the airport doing it.
Do not expect taxi drivers (nor most Chinese) to understand a word of what you are saying.
Feb 22, 2013 9:39 AM
9You will spend half of that time getting into the city and back out to the airport. Last time I came into Beijing during that time it took me 2.5 hours to get down near Tiananmen Square. Should take about one hour to get back out to the airport but I am sure you need to be there at least an hour and a half before departure. Not much time to see or do anything. Guess I would go to Tiananmen Square and Wangfujing street Mall area but not sure it is worth your time. Will cost about $25 or more to take a taxi each way.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$155.60 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$22.12 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$25.83 per night