Beijing, China (CN)
Beijing Capital International Airport lies 32km north-east of the city centre, and is the world's second busiest airport. It has three terminals, in separate buildings (though a walkway links Terminals 1 and 2):
If you’re from one of these countries, you don't need to get a visa in advance for trips less than 72 hours. Print out the details of your connecting flight and fill in an Arrival Form to enjoy visa-free travel for 72 hours in China. Other cities offer visas on arrival, for a fee, but this service is offered free to facilitate the travel of international visitors. Be aware that you must fly out of the same airport you flew into.
When transferring between international flights, you will have to collect your new boarding pass and go downstairs to Departures. There is a queue designated to airside transit (don't use the immigration queue), which is to the right of the main passport control. There are generally only two people on the desk so getting through can take upwards of an hour.
Your passport will be stamped for China entry, at which point you will head downstairs and your passport will be stamped for China exit, typically by the same person. Allow two hours for the whole procedure.
Beijing immigration has a lane set aside for 72-hours, visa-free stopovers. When you arrive at the immigration control, be sure to have the boarding pass from your first flight and an onward plane ticket for a third destination (not a return flight) available to show to immigration officers.
The airport’s business centre offers access to a fax machine, photocopier, mobile phone chargers, printers and personal workstations. It’s a great place to get some work done and meet other professionals travelling between Beijing and other business hubs.
Location: Terminal 2, after security, departures hall, opposite Gate 14
Operating hours: 06:30-21:30 daily
Terminal 3 has sleep pods that can be rented by the hour. Rooms start at CNY 120/hour for a single bed with a shower room and toilet. A full day costs RMB 720. Be aware that the pods are outside the security and immigration checkpoint, so you will need a visa or an onward flight within 72 hours to leave the secure area.
Location: Terminal 3, before security
The Hilton can be reached on foot from Terminal 3 and you will have access to a spa, indoor pool, gym, and Chinese and Western restaurants. While staying here is an option, the restaurants are open to the public and if you book a spa appointment, you will have access to the pool and gym without booking a room.
A shuttle departs from Terminal 3 near Gate 5 every 15 minutes. Rooms start at CNY 1,618 per night, including Wi-Fi and breakfast.
If you have any electronics in your carry-on, each piece, including cables and cords, will need to be removed and scanned at the security check. To save yourself some hassle, keep all of your electronics and cables in one easy-to-access place in your carry-on.
If you are a smoker, be sure to put your favourite lighter in your checked luggage. Lighters will be confiscated at security.
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Distances between Beijing’s Terminals are large. It is strongly recommended to have enough time to go from one terminal to another.
You can take a free shuttle bus between all three terminals. Shuttles leave roughly every 10 minutes from 06:00-23:00, and every 30 minutes from 01:00-05:00. Stops are located at:
Terminal 1, level 1, outside Gate 7
Terminal 2, level 1, outside Gate 7
Terminal 3, level 1, Gate 5
Terminals 1 and 2 lie close together, and there's a walkway between them, requiring a walk of around 10-15 minutes.
It takes about 70 minutes to Wangfujing or Xidan in downtown Beijing by bus. Buses leave the airport daily every 30 mins. Tickets can be bought from the ticket office, at the bus gate, located in arrivals.
Cost: CNY 16
Location: Arrivals, level 1, bus gate 7
Operating hours: 06:00-01:00 daily
Connected to terminals 2 and 3, the Airport is served by the Airport Express Line of the Beijing Subway. The journey to the city takes about 20 minutes. Trains run every 15 minutes.
Cost: CYN 25, One way
Buying tickets: at railway stations
Location: Terminals 2 and 3, arrivals, Airport Express Line
Operating hours:06:00-23:00 daily
Traveling by taxi in Beijing is very easy because there are plenty of cabs in operation and takes 30-40 mins to the city centre. During off-peak hours, that is, but very hard in rush hours periods 07:00–09:00 and 17:00–20:00 due to heavy demand and super heavy traffic jam. Beijing taxis are available day and night, and each car holds normally four adult passengers.
Cost: CYN 160
Location: Just outside the arrivals
Tip: Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped.