Highlights of Our Quick Layover in Beijing

By CrustyCanucks - May 25, 2017

Beijing China


Family, friends, and regular readers of the site may be looking at the title of this post and be thinking 'hey, you two never went to China!' 

But alas, we did! (Albeit it was on a short layover, but we've discussed it, and we decided it still counts)

China's ancient cultural and culinary history has fascinated us both for years and our desire to see the Great Wall of China, the limestone karsts of Yangshuo, and the skyline of Shanghai in person has always been right up there with our desire to see almost anything else on this great planet of ours. 

So when we had the chance to spend just under 48 hours there on a long haul flight layover, we had to jump at it, and since China now offers a visa-free stop to those who stay 72 hours or less, the layover opportunities are seemingly endless. What did we end up doing on our layover in Beijing? Well, after we took a shuttle in from the airport and get our bearings, here is what we got up to, and I hope it can help you have a fun layover in Beijing as well. 


The Forbidden City. With a name like that, how can you not be intrigued? Located in the city center and not too far from the airport at all, the Forbidden City sprawls over a 70 acre expanse, and is considered to be the largest palace estate in the entire world. As you would expect, it is also a UNESCO world heritage site. Built around 1400, the palace was the home for the Ming and Qing dynasties and is deservedly one of Beijings most visited tourist sights. We admired the architecture here for many of our valuable layover hours, which architecture-admirers know helped lay the foundation for much of the architecture you see all over Asia.



Okay, we got to see the Forbidden City, but there is no way we could have seen the Great Wall in only two days, is there? Well, after some rest we were off The Great Wall of China, or if we were being honest, the Great WALLS of China.  The walls were built over the course of centuries to keep our bands of marauders from the dynasties of those behind the walls. While the wall never really totally stopped this from happening, it did leave a worldwide icon that we feel like we had to see once, even though it was for a feeling moment. Luckily, we visited the Mutianyu section, and since it is located further away from the city, it was less crowded and allowed us to maximize our short time there. 


Even though we had to catch a plane out of town, our last stop on our Beijing Layover was at the Beijing Railway Station. As we consider ourselves both amateur train-lovers, we wanted to see how this high-tech train mecca worked up close. Even though we weren't boarding a train (this time!), it was exciting to look at the Destinations board and see places like Mongolia and Siberia, in addition to the unbelievable way that the station handles the crowds each day.  

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