By far, the Beijing trip in March 2016 was the most laid-back, hassle-free international travel Mary and I have ever had. There were no getting lost or scammed the entire time we journeyed back to 3,000 BC. We intended the trip to be exactly that way – relaxed, and a real vacation. We are true-blooded DIY travelers but we wanted to give it a try. We were not disappointed.
Read more about the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Lama Temple, Ming Tombs and Beijing Zoo in this link.
If you want to see what we did at the Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Tea House, Hutong and Rickshaw Ride and our stay at Days Inn Forbidden City, read here.
For visa concerns (which we get asked a lot on), find out more here.
So now that you’ve seen the places you can visit in 3 days, let me break down to you how the costing looked:
ACCOMMODATION – DAYS INN HOTEL (FORBIDDEN CITY)
This is a mere 5-10 minutes walk away from the Tiananmen Square so even if we missed it on the paid tour (there was a government function at the time), we were still able to walk there one afternoon and have our photos taken with the Chairman Mao Zedong.
Tip: If you’re willing to risk it, book close to your arrival date because most of the rooms will be on sale. Why, we booked ours with Agoda and got a 50% off.
Final charge: PhP 6,896.91 3 nights, 2 pax (exchange rate March 2016 1 CNY = 7.25 PHP)
Individual charge per pax: PhP 3,448.46 (PhP 1,150 per night per pax)
VISA FEES AND REQUIREMENTS
Transact directly at the Chinese Embassy in Makati. Requirements and other details here.
I had to expedite my passport renewal and I couldn’t get a slot before our flight so I used the Passport Express Service and paid PhP 2,000 – avoid this by filing for an extension instead, or select an appointment date at least a month prior to your intended date of travel. Extension is actually free, read more on DFA’s advisory.
Single Entry Visa Fee: PhP 1,200
3-DAY TOUR IN BEIJING:
This includes an English-speaking guide who can take your photos, a driver and your own rented car the entire duration of the tour. We were picked up at the hotel around 7-8am depending on our destination for the day and dropped off at around 4-5pm.
Package Price: PhP 30,000 2 pax, 3 days
Individual price: PhP 15,000 for 3 days (PhP 5,000 per pax per day)
You think it’s expensive? Imagine how far the Badaling Great Wall is, and if you don’t know anyone and have no access to social media (we didn’t know we had to use a VPN), the Great Wall trip might take an entire day. For us though, it took us half a day with the afternoon to spare for other spots. It’s really maximizing your time and money. Plus, after you learn the history of the place, take a few photos, you don’t have to walk or get lost because you just get in the car and sleep while waiting to get to the next destination. Cool, huh?
AIRFARE (Via Cebu Pacific)
This trip was booked 7 months prior to flight date, so we got it kind of cheap at PhP 4,276.50 per person, round trip, without baggage allowance.
We really didn’t have to bring so much money because everything is basically paid for before we even left Manila. Save for a few:
- Philippine International Travel Tax – PhP 1,620 per pax
- Taxi from Beijing Airport to Days Inn Hotel (1am and 30 kilometers) – PhP 3,000 for 2 pax (hotel service was PhP 2,000 per pax)
- Tea (Rose, Lychee, Pu’erh, Green Tea) – PhP 5,000 (also includes pasalubong to boss, family and our own stock. We still have a few of them till now – Oct. 2017)
- Great Wall miniature – I honestly don’t remember anymore but we bought a few for the house and pasalubong
- Great Wall tea set – PhP 700
- Chinese bread – PhP 500 (approximate)
- Great Wall bonnet – less than PhP 100
- Great Wall album – PhP 780
- Taxi from Days Inn to airport – PhP 2,000 (approximate)
- Tip to the guide – PhP 500 for 3 days (plus Philippine goodies)
- Lunch and dinner for 3 days – PhP 3,000 (approximate)
TOTAL: APPROXIMATELY PHP 10,000 PER PAX
GRAND TOTAL: PhP 35,000 per pax ALL-IN from the time we left the house until we arrived back home.
But it doesn’t mean you have to spend the same amount. You can cost where it’s not needed – like the tea!
Best time to visit –
Well, if the cold never bothered you anyway, March is still cold but there are less crowds in the tourist spots.
The Great Wall is an all-year rounder but you might want to visit them in winter for skiing, or autumn for the red-orange-golden leaves that decorate the wall.
Thank you for reading! This post is for my best friend who wants to visit the historical place and told me I actually don’t have a breakdown of expenses. Duh. What was I thinking? Hope you enjoyed!