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Layover in Beijing

What to do with an 8+ hour layover in Beijing

· Travel,China

Get the Most of Your Layover in Beijing

If you find yourself with a long layover in Beijing then you're in luck because there are plenty of options available for you to explore.

Whether you're looking to see China's ancient history, vibrant shopping scene, or local delicacies, all can be found in the Chinese capital.

To get where you want to go, you will need to decide on transportation. If this is your first time to China, I recommend taking a taxi from the airport to your destination.

You will find signs for taxis around the airport. Have where you want to go written down in Chinese prior to getting in the taxi. This will make communication easier. Depending on where you want to go, the total cost will likely be around 60 to 120 Yuan ($9 - $16 US dollars).

While the subway is a convenient and cheaper option (27 Yuan or roughly $4 US dollars) to reach your destination, the first time using it can be very confusing. Plus, you won't be able to see Beijing along the way.

History

If you are looking to witness China's rich history, then a quick tour to Tiananmen Square is a must.

If you are looking to witness China's rich history, then a quick tour to Tiananmen Square is a must.

A trip from the airport will take about 50 minutes with the fee at roughly 100 Yuan ($14 US dollars).

When you arrive, make sure to have your passport ready. You may need it to enter Tiananmen Square.

Tiananmen Square is surrounded by national government and historical buildings. Most notably is China's Forbidden Palace (故宫) where the last emperors of China lived.

Next to it is also the National Museum of China.

The entrance fees vary. Some are free and some have a small fee.

Shopping, Dining, and Luxury

If you want to get a glimpse of the life of China's elite, then a trip to Sanlitun is the right choice for you.

If you want to get a glimpse of the life of China's elite, then a trip to Sanlitun is the right choice for you.

Conveniently located 30 to 40 minute drive from the airport (one of the shortest drive times to a a major attraction in Beijing).

Here you'll see one of mainland China's most developed and technologically advanced neighborhoods.

Tell your driver to take you to Taikoo Li Mall (三里屯太古里) and you won't regret it.

Here you'll be able to shop till you drop, taste international cuisine, and see some of the tallest buildings in Beijing.

This is perhaps one of the best places to just walk around and explore. There's no doubt you'll be able to find something of interest to you.

Money

It is recommended that you withdraw money from an ATM prior to leaving the airport.

The currency exchange companies at the airport give very poor rates and a high fee. The ATMs have a fair exchange rate and the fee is usually low - around $2 US dollars.

If you run out of money outside the airport don't panic. It is easy to find ATMs throughout Beijing.

Many places in China do not accept Visa, Master Card, or American Express.

About the Author: Alexander Parini

Alexander is a recent graduate from Portland State University in the United States where he received his undergraduate degree in political science. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in international relations at Peking University in Beijing, China.

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