When I booked my flight to Pakistan I was super excited for a long layover in China I took the opportunity to explore Beijing. If you didn’t know China allows YOU to have 72-144 (1- 6 days) hour of free visa if you happen to pass by the country. However, I was only therefore for 2 days and 1 night so I wanted to make the most out of it.
I reached China in the evening and took the opportunity to rest up after my 14-hour flight at the Grand Mercure Beijing Dongcheng hotel. I woke up early morning the next day and to only happen to find out that most places are only open after 10 am.
Thus I decided to have a driver to show me around China and asked him to drop me to the Tiananmen square which is a public plaza but greatly known for pro-democracy protest in 1989. Followed by The Forbidden City which is the former Chinese imperial palace, if you don’t know the forbidden city served as the home to the emperors. As mentioned, I had personally wanted to go early as possible as I knew the place would get crowded mid day.
After exploring the place I was feeling the adventure and decided to take local transit for the rest of the day. Thus headed to the Lama Temple, which is the largest lamasery in Beijing. The Lama temple is also known as the “Younge Temple” which means the Harmony and Peace Palace. I was honestly amazed by the architecture of the temple. Fun fact: the world’s tallest Buddha statue is located there and is made out of a tree. Along the way, you will see monks walking along and doing their daily activities.
Later I decided to walk to my hotel this allowed taking a trip to the local markets. While I was there I went into souvenir shops and bought a few things and eat at a local restaurant. To tell you the truth I enjoyed more taking local transit and seeing the supermarkets, I had honestly felt more connected to the locals. Just remember to check the weather as in May it’s the cold season.
I would definitely suggest you book the hotel closer to downtown this will give you a chance to explore many more places with the short stay you will have. I hope you will have a wonderful layover as much as I did.