What to do with 20 hours layover in Beijing?

architectures and their styles in the forbidden city

Making the most of a layover can turn an otherwise mundane wait into a memorable adventure, especially when your layover destination is a vibrant city like Beijing. With a 20-hour layover in Beijing, you have the perfect opportunity to explore some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, indulge in delicious cuisine, and immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage. From historic sites to bustling markets and scenic gardens, Beijing offers a plethora of experiences to make your layover truly unforgettable. So, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to make the most of your time in Beijing during a layover.

Morning Itinerary

Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City:

Upon arriving in Beijing in the morning, start your journey by visiting Tiananmen Square, an iconic landmark of China, where you can admire the magnificent view of the Tiananmen Gate Tower.

Next, head to the nearby Forbidden City, the imperial palace complex from the Ming and Qing dynasties, which is the largest and best-preserved wooden structure ancient architectural complex in China.

Wangfujing Pedestrian Street:

After exploring the Forbidden City, take a leisurely walk to Wangfujing Pedestrian Street, one of Beijing’s most famous shopping streets, where you can taste various Beijing specialty snacks such as Zhajiangmian (fried sauce noodles), douzhi (fermented mung bean juice), and jiaoquan (fried dough ring).

Midday Lunch

Choose a restaurant near Wangfujing Pedestrian Street for lunch and try the famous Beijing dish, Peking duck.


Afternoon Itinerary

Summer Palace:

In the afternoon, head to the Summer Palace, the largest imperial garden in China, where you can explore highlights such as the Long Corridor, Kunming Lake, and Longevity Hill.

Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan):

After visiting the Summer Palace, make your way to the Old Summer Palace, which, despite its turbulent history, still retains its unique charm.


Evening Itinerary

National Centre for the Performing Arts:

If time allows in the evening, attend a performance at the National Centre for the Performing Arts to experience Beijing’s cultural atmosphere.

Guijie (Ghost Street):

Alternatively, you can opt to visit Guijie, also known as Ghost Street, to sample a variety of night market snacks and experience Beijing’s nightlife.


Important Notes:

Time Management: Make sure your sightseeing itinerary allows for enough buffer time to avoid missing your connecting flight due to traffic or other unforeseen circumstances.

Transportation: Beijing has a well-developed public transportation system, including subways, buses, and taxis, which you can use to get to various attractions. You can also use bike-sharing services or walk to experience the city’s urban charm.

Ticketing: Popular attractions such as the Forbidden City and Summer Palace may require advance online ticket purchase, so it’s advisable to make preparations in advance.

Weather: Depending on the season and weather conditions, be prepared with sunscreen or warm clothing to ensure comfort during your sightseeing adventures.

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