72 hours in Beijing Visa Free – What to See,Do, and Eat

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Getting a visa to visit China can be a pain, especially if you’re traveling full-time. Spending 72 hours in Beijing is not. Visitors from 51 countries can spend 72 hours in Beijing visa-free and as I found, it is plenty of time to see the sights and get a taste of Peking.

72 hours in Beijing – See the Sights

Beijing is a massive city packed with history. Thankfully seeing the highlights is relatively easy. With just 72 hours in Beijing you can easily visit the following:

Tiananmen Square:

As one of China’s largest squares, this spot has seen its share of events. From the Ming Dynasty to the massive square we see today thanks to Mao Zedong, Tiananmen Square has been the focal point for much of Beijing’s history. Surrounding the square you will also find the 10 Great Buildings, the Monument to the People’s Heroes, and the spot where a boy squared off with a tank in the Protests of 1989 where, to this day, an unknown number of people lost their lives.

The Forbidden City:

Located next to Tiananmen Square is the massive epicenter of Beijing – The Forbidden City. Touring its inner walls can take all day depending on how detailed you want to get. To maximize time, having a guide is best. Not only will you better understand what you are looking at but you will have an insider to help you navigate the massive crowds.

Great Wall of China:

Another 72 hours in Beijing must is visiting the Great Wall of China. There are several sections open to the public with Badaling being the most scenic and flattest. This also makes it the most crowded. To avoid the crowds consider Juyongguan where you will find a harder climb but fewer people to share it with.

Eat Beijing

Sampling some of China’s delicacies is more than doable with only 72 hours in Beijing. Here are my highlights:

Streets Eats:

With 72 hours in Beijing consider taking a food walking tour with Hias Gourmet. This great street food tour gets you an insiders take on Beijing eats which goes beyond bugs on the stick. My favourite street eats included chilli covered steam buns, and pineapple sticky rice. Drool.

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Peking Duck:

Do not let your 72 hours in Beijing’s slip away without sampling the city’s most famous dish – Peking Duck. Crispy, fatty, delicious Peking duck.

There is no shortage of places serving up this homegrown dish but for my 72 hours in Beijing I chose Da Dong. This popular spot was great but crowded and required reservations. It is a bit modern and felt less authentic but the bird was more than worth it.

Souvenirs Anyone?

If you’re looking for a souvenir from your 72 hours in Beijing trip consider jade jewelry. Although the city is swimming in it, beware of tourists traps and fakes. Here is a good article to tell what is real and what isn’t.

If jewelry isn’t your thing how about some tea? On my 72 hours in Beijing I stopped in at Dr. T’s traditional Chinese teahouse. There I sampled several types of tea – all with healing powers of course. Prices were steep in comparison to market stalls so I sampled there and decided what I liked then bought at a stall.

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See it All

As you can see, 72 hours in Beijing is enough time to see and sample the city highlights. To make things easier I took a Beijing Essentials Tour through Viator, which was great. It allowed me to enjoy Beijing worry free and therefore concentrate on the difficult questions like what to eat next?

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What say you?
Thoughts on my 72 Hours in Beijing tips?
Let’s hear it!

For more reviews from Asia and beyond see HERE.


— Beijing Essentials Tour on Viator  

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Although I was provided a complimentary Beijing Essentials Tour through Viator,
the experience, opinions, and 72 Hours in Beijing visa-free was my own.


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  • TJ Ash

    Good tips here. Looks like you can cover all the highlights in just 3 days. Thanks for this!

  • Harly Smith

    I have stuck to visiting Hong Kong because of the hassle with getting a visa for China. This is good to know that there are options, especially for short visits. Would be a great layover trip.

    • For sure Harly. This makes it that much easier and 3 days, as you can see, is plenty for Beijing. There are a few other cities in China offering 3 day visas as well FYI!

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