After I climbed and did Backpacking the Great Wall of China in Beijing, now I wanted to share these travel guides based on my experience especially for first time visitors.
Beijing, formerly know as Peking, is the capital of Peoples Republic of China. The city attracts tourist because of its rich history, culture as well as several heritage sites. Beijing have four seasons that you can enjoy – Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. China ranked as second most active country this year, 2017, with average of 6189 steps walked a day. Be prepared to walk, 1 Kilometer (approx. 10mins walk) is considered near.
Philippines peso exchange rate = 1RMB = 7.7PHP
Travel Document Requirements
- Visa is required for Filipino to enter Mainland China which includes Beijing. How to apply Chinese Visa?
- Your passport that is valid for at least another 6 months
- Confirmed return flight
- The following may be asked by Immigration Officer in NAIA before departure – have these documents ready to avoid getting offloaded.
- Confirmed hotel reservation
- Sufficient funds for the duration of your travel – you may show proof of your income or savings
- IO might ask some information regarding your source of income – job or business. Just be prepared supporting documents
(Disclaimer: Having these documents does not give assurance that you will be cleared by IO, it’s still based on profiling or evaluation of the IO)
A rough estimate of Php10,000 – Php 15,000.00 (excluding Airfare) will cover your basic expenses going around the famous tourist attractions in Beijing listed in “Where to Go” below this post.
How to get there
Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is the main international airport serving Beijing and where most commercial airlines arrived. It is located 32 km northeast of Beijing’s city center.
From Manila, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines offers direct flights to Beijing 3 and 4 times a week respectively. Air China offers daily flights to Beijing. Flight time is approximately 4h and 20m.
Airfare usually varies but if you can book ahead of time, about 6months advance, you might be lucky to avail promo fares. Ceb Pac promo fares to Beijing is usually around Php3,000.00 one way. Regular fares can goes up to Php15,000.00 round-trip.
- Subscribe to airline seat sale alert and download airline mobile app.
- Use third party booking sites such as Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights
When To Go
Depending on what you want to experience, Beijing has four seasons to choose from.
April to May is Spring with cold windy days even sandstorm hits the city frequently and may delay some trips.
June to August is Summer, usually hot but with high chance of rainfall.
September to October is Fall, this is the best time to visit Beijing when the temperature is cool and have plenty of sunshine (but lately, clear blue skies are not always visible due to smog). Avoid the Golden Week (first week of Oct) celebration where crowd can be jam packed.
November to February is Winter with snowfall and average day temperature is 0 degC. But for those who want to experience snow, these months are for you.
Where to stay
Its always good choice to stay near the city center. There are budget friendly hostels near Forbidden City, Wangfujing and Qianmen Area. You can allot Php1500.00 – Php 2000.00 per night for a twin room for a hostel with high guest rating in Agoda. For solo backpackers, dorm type hostels are also available for around these areas for only Php500.00 per night.
Budget Twin Rooms Options (click on the photos)
- Always book a hotel which is walking distance to a subway station.
- Read feedback from previous guest – Tripadvisor, Agoda.com and Booking.com are reliable sources of hotel feedback
There are several options to get around in Beijing – taxi, public buses and subway. Beijing has an extensive network of subways and buses and most of the attractions within the center of Beijing are accessible via subway. However, subway stations are far apart, and most of the time you cannot walk from one station to the other. RMB 3 is the minimum fare in subway for the first 6km. Beijing subway system is easy to use, just plan your routes.
Similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus Card, Beijing has Beijing Transportation Smart Card that can be used for the public bus and subway. Card is available in any customer service counter of subway stations. One person per card policy applies.
From Airport to City, Airport Express is available and is interconnected to two subway lines.
- When purchasing single trip ticket and your destination requires transfer from one subway line to another, just enter your final destination and transfer to another line without the need to buy another ticket.
Don’t make the same mistake like I did when I visited Beijing, I always purchased a ticket on the first subway line, then purchase another ticket for my second line though it is interconnected.
- Air pollution level in Beijing is high compare to global average. Consider using face mask when going around Beijing. 3M N95 mask is known to be enough to filter airborne particulates.
Where to Go
Other interesting places to see to visit within the city.
- Summer Palace
- Wangfujing Shopping Street and Street Food
- Qianmen Street and National Center of Performing Arts (“The Egg”)
Estimated Budget for 3days/2nights – Php 10,000.00
|Hotel Accommodation, 2nights||Php 1200.00|
|Philippine travel tax||Php 1620.00|
|Great Wall Join Tour||Php 2200.00|
|Forbidden City Entrance Fee||Php 500.00|
|Temple of Heaven Entrance Fee||Php 110.00|
|Food, 500 a day||Php 1500.00|
|Getting Around by Beijing subway||Php 200.00|
|Airport Express (two rides)||Php 400.00|
|Pasalubong / Souvenir||Php 1500.00|
Php50 = 1 Usd
Note: You can just adjust above budget if you are couple or group of 3-4. You might save a little in accommodation and food expenses.
- I usually allot an emergency/contingency fund whenever I travel- additional 20% of my total budget (for above budget, Php2,000.00) . Anything can happen when we travel, so better have some emergency fund if needed.
Enjoy planning your itinerary.