To get to Beijing you have three options: by air, by train or by bus.
The largest airport in China, Beijing Capital Airport (Tel: 64653604),
is about 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of Beijing center. Till
1999, Beijing Capital International Airport Co. Ltd has 38 major foreign
cooperative airline companies, 21 domestic airlines, 1 Hong Kong airline
and 1 Macao airline. After arriving you can exchange a small amount
of Chinese Yuan at the Bank of China counter near the Arrival Hall Exit.
After arriving in Beijing you can go into the city by one of the following
By Airport Shuttle
The airport shuttle runs every 30 minutes from early 5:30 to 20:00,
which varies with different routes concerned and costs 16RMB (about
$2). The bus stops at certain places in the town and you may need to
hail a taxi later to reach your final destination.
By Airport Taxi
The legitimate taxis are lined up in a long queue outside the Arrival
Hall. The line is usually quite long but taxis move quickly so you won't
wait long till you get one. At the head of the line a dispatcher will
give you your taxi's number, which is useful in case of complaints.
They charge about 100RMB or more for the taxi fee according to the meter,
which includes an expressway toll of 15RMB. After 23:00, you should
By Hotel Shuttle
The easiest way is to go by hotel shuttle. Most major hotels have this
service. When making a hotel reservation, be sure to include a service
of shuttle service from the airport.
If you are in other cities of China, you may get to Beijing by train.
There are four railway stations in Beijing: Beijing Railway Station
(in eastern Beijing), Beijing West Railway Station (in the southwest
of the city), Yongdingmen Station (in the south) and Xizhimen Station
(in the north). Many buses stop at these stations, so you need not worry
about getting downtown from these places.
Some of the major domestic routes include:
Xian to Beijing: generally takes about 10 hours
Guangzhou to Beijing: takes about 30 hours
Harbin to Beijing: takes about 20 hours
Shanghai to Beijing: takes about 14 hours.
If you are in a city which is closed to Beijing you will find to get
to Beijing by bus is very convenient. There are four major long-distance
bus stations: Dongzhimen (northeast; Dongzhimenwai Xiejie), Muxiyuan
(south; Haihutun, Fengtai District), Beijiao (north; Deshengmenwai)
and Majun or Guangqumen (east; Guangqumenwai).
When in Beijing, you have different options on how to get around.
China used to be called the sea of bicycles and in Beijing today the
bike is still a convenient vehicle for most people. Renting a bike may
be a better way for you to see this city at your own pace. You can rent
a better bike in your hotel and pay 20-30RMB for a day's rent, with
a certain amount of money for the deposit first. You can also rent bikes
at some bigger booths for repairing bikes and inflating tires, the charge
for renting bikes there is lower as the bikes are not as new. When needed,
you park your bike in a bike park, which can be easily identified by
the large amount of bikes on roadsides. The charge is less than 1RMB.
Pedicab is a good choice for sightseeing, especially for visiting hutongs
on your own. You can find them on the street too. Generally speaking,
it costs more. You must bargain with the driver first, asking him how
much ("duo shao qian" in Chinese), and make everything clear,
like the money is for per ride or not; it is for one way or a round
trip; it is paid in RMB or USD, etc. The legally registered pedicab
can be identified by a certificate on it, and the driver has a card
hanging around his neck.
City public buses run from 5:30 till 23:00 daily. Taking buses in Beijing
is quite inexpensive but less comfortable than taking a taxi or the
subway. The flat rate for an electric car and ordinary public car is
1RMB. Buses equipped with air-conditioning or of special line are charged
according to the distance. Few foreigners like getting around by bus,
because it is always crowded, especially during rush hours (6:30-9:00
and 17:00-19:00). More conductors begin to offer the stop's name in
English but they don't know any more English. So to write down some
commonly used sentences in Chinese is quite helpful. Minibuses, serving
from 7:00 to 19:00, charge the flat rate of 2RMB guaranteeing a seat.
They are faster and more comfortable. Note one more thing: when squeezing
in a bus or on a bus, take care of your wallet.
Most visitors, Chinese or foreigners will find the subway train clean,
fast and relatively comfortable, except during weekends or rush hours,
when the subway train is very crowded. The subway runs every 4 or 5
minutes daily from 5:00 to 22 or 23:00, according to different first
stations and the fare is 3RMB per ride for any distance. There are two
subway lines in Beijing: one runs under Chang'an Avenue and its line
extends from Sihuidongzan in the east to Pingguoyuan in the west; another
one circles under the northern part of the Second Ring Road. You can
transfer between these lines at Fuxingmen station and Jianguomen station
with no transfer fee.
To find a subway entrance, you can study your map first, to see which
intersection is the nearest station. At each station there are usually
four entrances in four directions. Then you should look for a large
blue sign with letters BD inside a circle. If you still can not find
it, you may ask a Chinese "di tie". Then walk down stairs
to enter a station and go to get the ticket. The tickets are sold above
the platform. When going down to the platform, hand your ticket to the
checker at the top of the stairs. On both tunnel walls of the platform,
you can see signs and maps in Chinese and Pinyin indicating the next
station and helping you to decide which subway train to take. Over the
door inside the train you also can find complete system maps in Chinese
and Pinyin, and an announcement tells you the name of the next station
both in Chinese and English. So if you find you are on the wrong way,
you can just get off at the next station, (It usually takes about 4
or 5 minutes to travel between stations.), and get on the train running
to the opposite direction. No transfer fee will be charged.
Here we provide a complete subway system map for you.
It's very easy to hail a taxi anywhere in Beijing. And a taxi is the
preferred transportation choice for most foreigners, because it isn't
expensive and it is quite easy to hail one. The taxi charges 10RMB for
the first three kilometers and 1.2, 1.6 or 2RMB thereafter per kilo
according to the type of the taxi. The bridge and road tolls will be
paid by passengers. For a journey that takes longer than 10 kilo or
running after 23:00, the fares will be charged at 50% more. When in
a taxi, make sure the meter is on. Before getting off, make sure you
ask for a receipt (shou ju in Chinese) with the taxi's number on, in
case of any complaint. Most drivers don't understand English, so write
down your destination in Chinese beforehand. For taxi complaints, ring
Today you can travel around certain places by water in Beijing. So far
two courses have been offered: Changhe course and Kunyuhe course. In
addition, there are some tourist boats available, like in Shichahai.
The course is 9 kilometers long, running from the lake Kunming to the
lake Beizhanhou Hu. By boat you will pass Yiheyuan dock, Changhewan
dock, Wanshou Temple, Ziyuwan dock, Zizhuyuan Park, Beijing Library,
Beijing Zoo, Beijing Aquarium, Beijing Exhibition Hall, a bridge: Maizhong
Qiao, Guangyuanzha, Five Pagoda Temple (Wuta Si), Gaoliang Qiao, etc.
This course used to be the channel by which the Imperial Family went
to westwards to summer. The boat starts off from Beizhanhou Hu at 9:30,
13:00, and 15:30 and at 10:45 and 14:15 from Yuheyuan daily.
The course runs 10 kilometers from Kunmen Hu to Yuyuan Tan, passing
Yuheyuan dock, Changhewan dock, Linglong Park, Enji Park, Benjiaoyuan
dock, CCTV tower dock, Yuyuan Tan (Bayi Hu dock), Aquatic Fairyland,
Song Qingling Children's Park, etc. Later the course will be extended
to Gaobeidian Hu, visitors will be able to enjoy more scenic spots on
boats, like White Cloud Taoist Temple (Baiyun Guan), Tianning Temple,
Grand View Garden, Temple of Heaven, Longtan Hu Park, etc. The boat
leaves Bayi Hu at 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 16:30 and leaves
Yiheyuan at 9:05, 10:05, 11:05, 14:05 and 16:05.
In Shichahai, apart from the Hutong Tour, you can also travel by a southern
style boat with a long scull, fully enjoy the old life style.
Course one: back gate of Beihai-Drum Tower-Yinding Bridge-Hutong Tour-back
gate of Beihai.
Course two: back gate of Baihai-Shichahai Front Water-Yinding Bridge-Shichahai
Back Water-Hutong Tour-Gongwangfu Garden.