May 2011: Beijing and Xian: MY ITINERARY AND BUDGET!

There are a lot of people who buy tour packages for Beijing in a very expensive price ($1000 USD) When in truth and in fact you can go here and tour the city for less than Php 10,000 or ($232 USD) airfare included.

Click links to see my review/posts about that place. ūüôā

For our Beijing and Xian trip, we spent PhP 31,000. This includes everything, from airfare, land accommodations to visas. But the reason which made this a bit expensive is that we opted to choose to travel to Xian and sleep on Soft-berth (4-bed) sleepers on the train (Beijing-Xian) and that our air ticket was more on the expensive side.

We didn’t avail the sale, since during that time I still don’t know the mechanisms of “seat sales”.

However, I always knew that If you will book to travel operators in the Philippines, they always give you the price of ($1000 USD or higher), so somehow I still made some savings.

Also take note that I arranged my tours directly to travel operators in China. All I did was booked my trip with them using the Internet!! And Chada! I saved at least 300USD! It is just like communicating with your travel agent here in the Philippines!

Anyway here is my itinerary for my Beijing and Xian Trip last May.

May 12, 2011‚ÄĒManila

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Flightgoing to Beijing (we had a red eye flight)

May 13, 2011 Beijing-  Overall Costs (Php 2520.00 or $58.60 USD including transfers, day and night tours)

PLACES WE VISITED: Ming Tombs, Great Wall (Mutianyu), Birds Nest, Watercube, Wangfujing Street, Drive to the Central Business district.

  • arrive Beijing by 3 am and transfer and check in hotel (I arranged a transfer from airport to hotel which costs 250CNY or P1750.00 or $41USD, I arranged this because it is so early in the morning and we are scared to hire a taxi due to the bad comments of hiring taxis in Beijing. The costs is not per person, it is for the four of us. So, to know the costs per person, I divided the costs into 4, so each person will pay, P437.50 or $11 USD each. We used¬†, they are the cheapest that I found in the net.
  • tour MING TOMBS (underground tomb), GREAT WALL (Mutianyu) –> for this tour we used Sinohotelguide and paid (P1,208.00) or ($28USD)¬†per person for a group tour. Don’t worry the tour group is just small, there will only be about 10 persons per group. We used for this particular trip. The tour includes a lunch meal, which is really yummy!
  • For Night tour, we visited the Bird Nest, Water Cube, Tiananmen Square, Wanfujing (Yum!) and the Central Business District in Beijing, we booked a private tour, with Shane which costs 500CNY or P3500 or $81 USD for a 5 hour tour. The price is per group not per person. Since we are only four persons traveling, I divided the cost to 4, so each person costs P875.00 each or $20USD. If you will book to a group night tour, it will cost 50USD each, which is really expensive. So if you wanna tour the city by night, I suggest you email Shane. His website is¬†¬†or use Vivie (Unfortunately, I did not use her since I already booked my tour with Shane. Her rate is much cheaper, only 350CNY or P2450 or $57USD, you can contact her by email:

We opted Mutianyu because it is less crowded than the more famous Badaling. If you choose the Badaling side of the wall, the tour only costs ($18 USD) or P774.00

May 14, 2011 BEIJING  (total costs- P3908.00 or $90 USD)

  • tour TEMPLE OF HEAVEN, SUMMER PALACE, FORBIDDEN CITY, TIANAMEN SQUARE. We also used After the tour, the tour guide dropped us off the train station. Tour Costs $28 USD each or P1208.00
  • Evening- train going to Xian. We chose the soft sleeper. It is a cabin for 4 persons. The cost is 430CNY or P2700.00 (62 USD) for the higher bunk beds. I forgot the price for the lower bunk beds because the lower beds are more expensive than the higher bunk beds.

May 15, 2011 XIAN (P6235 OR 145 USD)

For our trip to Xian, we hired a private tour guide. They are the cheapest among the tour guides in Xian. The total costs for a 2 day 1 night tour package was $145 USD or P6235.00 each). This include 2 lunch and 1 dinner.

I recommend Xian Travel Service since they gave me the cheapest quotation for a private tour. If you will research in the net, the costs is almost the same if you choose a group tour.

Click here to see my experience in buying train tickets and my overnight train ride in China (Beijing to Xian) 

  • Transfer from Train Station to Hotel
  • tour XIAN CITY (Big Wild Goose Pagoda, City Wall, Shaanxi Provincial Museum, Great Mosque)
  • Evening: TANG DYNASTY AND DINNER SHOW (Dumpling banquet).. After this night, I don’t wanna eat dumplings for another year or two!

May 16, 2011 XIAN (P2700.00 or 62USD)

  • TERRA COTTA WARRIORS (8th¬†wonder of the world), EMPEROR QIN‚Äôs TOMB (1s¬†emperor of Qin Dynasty), HUAQING‚ÄôS POOL, ¬†HANYANG TOMB, BANPO MUSEUM
  • Evening- train going to Beijing (with cabin/ beds) same price as before:¬†430CNY or P2700.00 (62 USD).

 May 17, 2011 BEIJIING tour and Departure (P1208.00)

  • 8:00- Hutong and Shopping Tour, I opted again Sinohotelguide for this tour it costs $28USD each or¬†¬†(P1,208.00)
  • 6:30 pm- transfer going to airport, we used the taxi
  • 10:30- take flight going to Manila

May 18, 2011- HOME SWEET HOME

  • Arrive Manila
HOTEL ACCOMMODATION (P2237 each or $52 USD_)


  • Airfare –> ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†PHP 11,000.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† $255.81
  • Land Tours ¬†and train tickets–> PHP 16,571.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† $385.38
  • Hotel Accommodation ¬† ¬† —-> ¬† ¬†PHP ¬† 2237.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† $ ¬† 52.02
  • Food (dinner etc. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†—-> ¬† ¬† PHP ¬† 1000.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† $ ¬† 23.25
  • Chinese Visa ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†—-> ¬† ¬† PHP ¬† 1400.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† $ ¬†32.56
  • ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† TOTAL ¬† ¬†PHP 32 208.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† $ 749 USD
IF NO XIAN: ONLY BEIJING –> LAND ACCOMMODATION WITH A ¬†LOT OF TOURS –> 7,000.00PHP and if you chanced upon an airfare –> which is only 3000PhP then you only need to pay P10,000 for your beijing trip! this quotation is for a 4 days 3 nights stay in beijing.

29 thoughts on “May 2011: Beijing and Xian: MY ITINERARY AND BUDGET!”

    1. Hi Ariel! Thanks for visiting my site! We booked via cebu pacific. We bought the train ticket in the Beijing West Train Station before departure. Here is my post about how I bought the ticket and here to know how much our train ticket costs

  1. Hello again! thank you for your reply. How’s the flight going to beijing via Cebu pacific? Where did you purchase your airfare ticket? Because when i look at their website it costing me 10,000 pesos.

    1. Hi Ariel, the flight is good, the take-off and landing is smooth. I often use cebu pacific, and its good, although don’t expect the services like food, legroom and entertainment in cebpac, it is a budget carrier, so it will just carry you to your desired destination safely. I usually buy tickets using this airline. The regular price of the ticket of cebpac going to Beijing is really P10,000, but if they have sales, ticket costs only P3500 to P5000.

      1. Oh my.. I’m sorry Ariel, I just noticed that I didn’t provide you the link that I was talking about in my 1st reply… WordPress might have some problem about it. Anyway, here it is: How I bought my ticket Beijing to Xian in West Train Station

        and here to know how much our air ticket costs

        Sorry about that ūüė¶

  2. Hello again yannah! Tanong ko lang what time kau dumating sa beijing train station from xian kasi i noticed na may 8am tour kayo sa hutong & also, saan mo binili yung return train ticket nyo? Sa website ba o dun na sa beijing? Kumusta nman ang train travel? Hindi ba nakakapagod? Nakatulog ba kayo ng maayos at safe ba? Also, nung tour nyo sa hutong saan kayo sinundo ng tour guide nyo? Dun na ba sa train station? At saan nyo iniwan ang luggage nyo while touring?
    Thank you again sa mga information mo.

    1. We bought our train tickets in Xian Train Station. Pero, Ariel, ang hirap! hahaha! The people in the train station, the attendants all doesn’t speak English! kakaasar sila masyado! hahahaha! Pero I suggest you buy the ticket earlier than your planned departure since sometimes there is only one train going to Beijing, and the tickets sold out immediately. Anyway, the train travel is great! Super great! That was my first time to ride a long distance train, we used the 4-berth sleepers, and we are all in one cabin, we all slept well, and actually comfortable as if you are just sleeping in a hotel, you won’t notice that you are actually moving, you are like riding the LRT or MRT without much movement. But, aside from the “sleeping factor” the comfort rooms are quite messy/”eeww” You should use it only once and that is upon entering the train, since anytime after that It will become a Mess! ūüôā As for the hutong tour or any other tour that Sinohotelguide are offering, you can always ask SinoHotel Guide to pick you up instead in Beijing West Train Station. They always abide as long as you give them the exact date and time of your ETA.

  3. hello po ulit. one last question lang po. Nung nag tour po kayo sa hutong, saan po ninyo iniwan yung bagahe nyo? Thank you ulit sa mga informations mo. It is a lot easier na for us to book our trip. Thank po talaga ng madaming-madami. Godsped po

    1. We brought our baggages with us in the tour bus and left it there will touring. Hope this helps! Thanks for visiting! Btw, did the Chinese embassy granted you a visa? Is it hard to get a visa nowadays? Im going to China this december, i have friends who will be coming with me and they are first time applicants..

  4. Hi yanna! Sorry for the late reply. Quite busy recently. We plan to travel in march 2013. So we will apply for a tourist visa in January next yr. Hopefully, we could get a visa by then. Which part of china are you going this time? Any idea of the weather around 1st week of march in Beijing? You know that travel agency you used for your tour in xian, I can’t get hold of them. I e-mailed them but no reply til now. Then, when u surf on their web site & try to leave a message on their contact information or get a quote, the server can’t connect on the page. Can you give me the their website address again & their contact details please. Thank you. I manage to find a different tour guide for our xian trip – It’s Xian package tour. Have you heard of this private tour operator. Medyo kabado me pero she seems nice naman & accomodating. Good reviews naman. If you don’t mind can you check see if she’s ok. Na safe mag book sa kanya. Our beijing trip, we book it through sinohotelguide. Kaya medyo plantsado na ang trip namin. Anyway, thank you ulit. Good day!!!

    1. I’m still coming to Beijing just to enjoy and touch snow. :p I really hope it will snow when we arrive. ūüôā Anyway, March is still winter but I guess the temperature is much higher than December and January. You still need to wear winter jackets especially if you are not used to the cold weather. Really? Xian Travel service gives great service, I wonder why they don’t reply to your messages… sana hindi nalugi etc., they answered my queries before only after 12 hours. I wonder what happened… I don’t know about the reputation of Xian Package tour, pero as much as possible hindi yung papadepositin ka nalang, although Xian Travel Service required a deposit but later on they said that it is not necessary anymore. Mas safe kasi na hindi ka magdeposit, tulad ng mga tour guides sa Beijing, for safety lang diba?

      1. Hi yannah! Just to let you know we got the visa last week. All set na for the winter break. Thank u so much for all the info’s you shared to us.
        Btw, how’s your 2nd trip to beijing last december?

      2. Hi Ariel! Congrats on getting your visa! And Thank you very much for your comment and thank you for sharing your experience here. My winter trip was fun! I enjoyed it a lot! I hope you’ll have a great trip too…

  5. It’s you we should thank. You made it easier for us to book our trip. Thank’s a million to your blog. Now we can’t wait to have fun. Winter clothes are all set. Ready to go & rock.
    More power to you. I’ll keep you posted. Thank you again!

  6. Hello! We are planning to go to Beijing by end of April-1st wk of May. Do i Have to get my visa by this time? Usually how long is the visa processing? How many days before you get your visa?
    Thanks in advance. your blog is really helpful. ūüôā

    1. Sorry for the late reply Kai! I was so preoccupied the past few months… You can now apply for your visa as it has a validity of 3 months. So if your travel dates is on May, you can apply for a visa as early as February. ūüôā The Visa processing is only 4 days. You can get your visa after 4 days upon submission of your requirements. The only hard thing in getting a visa is compiling all the requirements. ūüôā I have a post about China Visa, here’s the link

  7. Hi Yannah.
    its surprising to know that its possible to visit beijing for less than 20k.. im sure there are other tour operators there na pwede magbigay ng more affordable rates for the tour. is it true na recently, 100k ang show money when applying a visa to china? how’s the visa application? plan to go there this June.. thanks in advance!

    1. Yup, 100k is the recent “show money” for the visa application. And a lot of changes were made, they became stricter than before. As for the tours the cheapest that I’ve found was for group/coach tours, I’ll be posting soon my experience in Beijing last December. Thanks for visiting my blog! ūüôā

  8. i’ll be travelling with my mom on june 2013. got our cebpac fare at 2,700php for 2. seatsale kasi hehehe. and with your infos we will be enjoying our trip in a much cheaper way! thanks!!!!

    1. Hi Manessa! Well, okay sya for first-timers, kasi madami kang makikita in one day. It is nice and cheap but it is very tiring (lakad lang ng lakad). But, if you have a lot of time then I suggest diy nalang or private tours ūüôā

    1. As far as I know there is no compulsory tipping, Sa naalala ko nga di ako nakapagtip sa tourguide namin, although she helped me a lot. Okay saakin yung sinohotel, masyado nga lang kakapagod kasi madami pupuntahan pero if kulang sa oras then sinohotel is a pretty good choice.

  9. Hi yannah! We did our group tour in beijing & xi’an last march & we had a blast. Super enjoy kami & money well spent. We booked our 3 days beijing tour & our hotel-airport transport vise versa with the sinohotel & very good service naman except with our last tour guide who is not accomodating & friendlier as the other 2. good. Another criticism of ours is sa complimentary lunch nila. The food is ok but the restaurants they took us is not what we expected. Sana gawin nilang medyo classy. Hopefully, they listen to customers feedback. Apart from that, we are happy naman sa services they provided us.
    Kudos to you yannah for your very informative blog. Thank you again & i wish you all the best.

  10. Hi Ms Yannah- ask ko lang how’s arriving in Beijing Airport? Are the customs strict ba? Do I have to declare something like money or what or just proceed to “nothing to declare”? Are they friendly ba? Mandali ba ung processing nyo when you arrived at the airport? are there still opened shops in the airport even at midnight? Thanks

    1. Hi Chitty, yes, the customs department is pretty strict in China, especially since Pinoys are known as drug smugglers in that country. Even liters of waters that you brought are detected and they will ask you to open up your bags for that, or anything that seems to be suspicious will be a ground to open up your bag, hence, a waste of your precious time, and the feeling of “oh my gosh, maybe someone slid a drug or something in my bag” that kind of feeling. I have this lucky charm from a Buddhist temple and was told to destroy it to see what’s inside. And as a tip, make sure to bring a luggage bag which zipper cannot be tampered by pens or such, so that drug smugglers or people who don’t have a heart can’t put their products on your bag–although, this does not happen all the time. But be better safe than sorry. Anyway, regarding money, you only need to declare it if it is more than the amount allowed for foreigners to bring in their country. Although I don’t know how much is the ceiling. Anyway, you can withdraw money from any ATMs in China, so you don’t need to bring a lot however, if you bring peso, make sure that you exchange it in the airport since there are only few to nothing money exchange counters in Beijing, mostly, you will exchange it in their banks during banking days and hours, which is not convenient for us travelers. And as for the shops, nah, it’s dead during midnight! I didn’t even see an open shop in the arrivals section when I arrived there (which is always midnight, via cebpac) :)) HAPPY WANDERING CHITTY! ūüôā

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