Beijing Capital International Airport is located in Chaoyang District, 20 kilometers northeast of city-center. It is the main airport for Beijing now. The new Daxing International Airport south of Beijing just opened in September 2019 and will handle more and more flights as time goes on. Beijing’s third airport, Nanyuan, handles domestic flights, but the government says that Nanyuan will close once Daxing is in full operation. Airlines connect Beijing to more than 110 cities at home and abroad More than 100 different airlines use Beijing’s airports.

Beijing Capital International Airport has three passenger terminals. It is important to know which terminal your flight is leaving from. Terminal 1 is the domestic terminal, serving regional flights to major Chinese cities. Terminal 2 serves both domestic and international flights. Terminal 3, also called the Dragon Terminal, is the second-largest terminal building in the world. Designed by Norman Foster, it is home of international and domestic flights. Airport Hotline phone: 010-64541100. Website with passenger information in English:

Beijing Capital International Airport is the busiest airport in China and the ninth busiest airport in world , it handled 52 million passengers in 2007, up from 48.7 million passengers in 2006, and 41 million passengers in 2005. The number was expected to reach 60 million in Olympic year 2008. To help handle all these people a third runway opened in October 2007.

Transfer Between Terminals at Beijing Capital International Airport: Terminal 1 and 2 are close to each other, whilst Terminal 3 is located away from the other two — about 5 kilometers. It is important to know which terminal your flights are arriving to and departing from. If you change from an international flight to a domestic one traveling from one terminal to another may take some time. Because distances between the boarding gates at terminals may be large it is strongly recommended that you factor in the time necessary to go from one terminal to another. Inter-terminal shuttles run between terminals from 6:00am to 11:00pm, leaving every 10 minutes, and also between 11:00pm and 6:00am every 15-30 minutes.

New Terminal 3 at Beijing Airport

Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital International Airport

The new Terminal 3 at at Beijing Capital International Airport opened in February 2008 before the 2008 Olympics. Designed by the famous architect Norman Foster, it is the world’s largest terminal, covering 10 million square feet, standing seven stories high and extending 3.9 kilometers. It required 39,000 workers to build and will accommodate 53 million passengers, increasing capacity at the airport to 78 million passengers a year. Even though its has more floor space than all five Heathrow terminals combined it has filled faster than expected due to the rapid growth of China's economy. In 2010 the airport handled 73.9 million passengers. By 2015, this is expected to rise to 90 million — 12 million more than it was designed for.

Terminal 3 cost US$3.65 billion and is bigger than all five terminals at Heathrow put together. Divided into three sections connected by a shuttle train, it has a concourse that is nearly three kilometers long, 136 aircraft stands and sections with their own security and travel document controls. There is train station for trains to downtown and a multitude of shops selling luxury goods. The terminal was built rapidly and with a minimum of fuss because the builders did not have to worry about environmentalists, financing or pubic hearings about noise and other matters that might affect the local.

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote in The New Yorker, Foster “has established a pattern so clear that your natural instinct is to walk straight ahead from the front door to where you need to go. The sheer legibility of the place would be achievement enough, given its size...Even more remarkable than this organizational feat, however, is the fact that Terminal 3 is also an aesthetically exhilarating place to be.

”Its long, low shape appears to rise gradually, as if its roof touched the ground at each end...The structures sensuous curves...make you think of movement, while still appearing serene...Inside the terminal, with its high, vaulted ceiling and wall of glass facing the airfield, loosely recalling Saarinen’s TWA Terminal, but this room is big enough to contain that entire building.”

The new terminal is used mainly by Air China and its domestic and international partners but is also used by Sichuan Airlines Shandong Airlines, Qatar Airways, Qantas Airways, British Airways, Emirates, Air Canada, El Israel Airlines, Air China, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and members of the Star Alliance. Web Sites Beijing Airport site , Wikipedia

New airport train

Airport Transportation in Beijing

The Airport Express subway line links the airport and city center. It has only four stops: Dongzhimen, S anyuanqiao, Terminla 1 and Terminal 2. The trip between the airport and Beijing takes less than 30 minutes. They operate ebetween about ^:30am and 10:30pm. The fare is about US$15. Free shuttles provide transport between terminals from 6:00am to 10:00pm. Buses serve routes to city center and many districts. They leave every 10 minutes from 8:00am to 8:00pm; every 20 minutes other times. Airport Shuttle Services provides transport to city on several routes. They leave every 10-30 minutes. They also serve routes to major cities in nearby provinces. Information on routes is available from Airport Shuttle Services Hotline: 010-64594375/76.

The trip by road from the Beijing airport to downtown can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours depending on the traffic. Tour agencies and hotels often provide transfer service for their guests. Limousine services are available. Airport taxis are available outside Arrivals Area. Taxis are metered; fare includes highway toll. If you take a taxi avoid the taxi touts and wait for a regular taxi. Make sure that you take one that has a “supervision card” displayed on the front passenger dashboard and insist they use the meter. It should cost around US$20 to US$25), including the 10 yuan for the airport expressway toll. Airport Expressway links city center and the airport. Road splits off of the northeastern section of 3rd Ring Road at Sanyuanqiao. Often heavily congested. Rental vehicles are available at airport and in the city.

Subway lines built at a cost of US$3.3 billion that opened three weeks before the Olympics in 2008, includes he new Airport Line which connects the airport with Lines 1, 10 and 13 of the subway covers 28 kilometers in 20 minutes. It is elevated and offers good views of Beijing. The subways the Airport Line connects with are: 1) The east-west line (Line 1) runs through Tiananmen Square, Wangfujing and the World Trade Center before heading to the eastern and western reaches of the city. 2) The L-shaped Line 10 passes south of the Olympic Green and follows the Third Ring Road through the Embassy District. 3) Line 13, an aboveground light rail, extends to the north of city, connecting the northern suburbs with the east-west line. Web Sites BCIA

Daxing International Airport: Beijing’s Newest, with Zaha-Hadid-Designed Terminal

Daxing International Airport (45 kilometers south of Beijing) is Beijing’s newest airport. Opened in 2019, it boasts the world’s largest designed by the famed, late Baghdad-born architect Zaha-Hadid. Built in less than five years at a cost of 120 billion yuan ($17 billion), this massive star-shaped airport has four runways, with plans for as many as three more. The terminalcovers 1 million square meters (11 million square feet). Despite that, its builders say travelers will need to walk no more than 600 meters (2,000 feet) to reach any boarding gate. [Source: Associated Press, September 26, 2019]

On the day of its opening Associated Press reported: President Xi Jinping inaugurated a second international airport for the Chinese capital with the world's biggest terminal ahead of celebrations of the Communist Party's 70th anniversary in power....The airline's first commercial flight, a China Southern Airlines plane bound for the southern province of Guangdong, took off in the afternoon.. Six more flights took off later for Shanghai and other destinations. “The main Beijing airport, located in the city's northeast, is the world's second-busiest after Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and is nearing capacity. Carriers including British Airways and state-owned China Southern, the country's biggest airline by passengers, plan to move to Daxing from Beijing Capital International Airport.The capital has a third airport, Nanyuan, for domestic flights, but the government says that will close once Daxing is in operation.”

Nick Mafi wrote in Architectural Digest: Spanning more than 7.5 million square feet and set to accommodate some 72 million passengers a year by 2025, Beijing’s newly completed Daxing International Airport terminal is, by the numbers alone, a staggering feat: reportedly the largest single-structure airport in the world. But it was also designed to be noticed, as is the case with all buildings by Zaha Hadid Architects. One of the Pritzker Prize winner’s final projects before her untimely death in 2016, the futuristic hub features a central thoroughfare inspired by traditional Chinese courtyards, with a seemingly fluid network of columns, roof vaults, and skylights. A starburst floor plan and vertically stacked domestic and international areas, meanwhile, ease navigation. “The terminal layouts minimize the walking distances between check-in and gate—and also the distances between gates for transferring passengers—to a maximum of eight minutes by foot,” says Cristiano Ceccato, the airport’s project director at Zaha Hadid Architects. Passengers, of course, would be wise to slow down. As Ceccato notes, the sinuous design “gives moments of pause.” [Source: Nick Mafi, Architectural Digest, November 26, 2019]

Long-Distance Buses

Currently there are more than ten long distance bus stations in downtown Beijing and smaller stations in the suburbs. Stations in western Beijing serve buses traveling west of the city. Stations in eastern Beijing serve buses traveling east of the city, and those in the north and south serve buses going in their respective directions. Long distance buses are modern and comfortable; usually travel on expressways. Overnight buses often travel on non-toll roads. Among the station. Zhaogongkou Long Distance Bus Station and Liuliqiao Long Distance Bus Station are the most highly rated. Keep in mind that you should arrive at coach stations early in order to purchase tickets without problems. Tickets are also sold on buses, which tends to be the most convenient way to buy your fare. Road conditions may be poor to fair. Travel times are long. Buses may be uncomfortable. Web Site: Beijing

Liuliqiao Long Distance Bus Station
Location: No. A 19, Liuliqiao Nanli, Fengtai District
Operation Hours: 04:45-22:00
Bus Route: No.67, 201, 205, 300, 323, 324, 349, 368, 483, 631, 687, 691, 698, 699, 836, 927, 937 (Branch), 944, 968, 977, 993, Te 2, Te 7 to Liuliqiao South.
Destinations: Hebei Province (Shijiazhuang, Chengde, Langfang, Fengning, Baoding, Handan, Qinhuangdao, Zhangjiakou), Liaoning Province (Dalian, Anshan, Jinzhou, Shenyang, ), Inner Mongolian (Baotou, Hohhot, ), Shanxi Province (Datong, ), Henan Province (Anyang, Linzhou, Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Nanyang, Hebi), Anhui Province (Hefei, ), Fujian Province (Xiamen, Fuzhou), etc.

Zhaogongkou Long Distance Bus Station
Location: No.34, Nansanhuan Zhonglu
Operation Hours: 05:00-17:30
Tel: (+86) 010-67229491, (+86) 010-6723 7328, 010-67229491
Bus Route: No.7, 43, 69, 525, 610, 803, 927 (Special) to Zhaogongkou Bridge South.
No.17, 69, 434, 654, 686, 741, 826, 927, 927 (Inter Zone), 971 to Zhaogongkou Bridge West.
Destinations: Shanghai, Tianjin, Shandong Province, Shanxi Province, Henan Province, Hebei Province, Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province, Hubei Province, Heilongjiang Province, Jilin Province, and Liaoning Province.

Bawangfen Long Distance Bus Station
Location: No.17, Xidawang Lu, Chaoyang District, to the west of Beijing East Railway Station.
Operation Hours: 06:30-22:00
Tel: (86)010-8771 8844-24
Bus Route: No.11, 30, 31, 486, 605, 608, 715, 852, 973, 985, 988 to Beijing East Railway Station North.
Destinations: Heilongjiang Province, Jilin Province, Liaoning Province, Inner Mongolian, Hebei Province, Shandong Province, Shanxi Province, Henan Province, Jiangsu Province, Anhui Province.

Muxiyuan Long Distance Bus Station
Location: No.199, Haihutun, Yongdingmenwai Dajie, Fengtai District, about 300 meters (328 yards) to the south of the Muxiyuan Bridge.
Operation Hours: 05:00-19:00
Tel: (+86) 010-67267149, 010-67234767
Fax: 010-67234767
Bus Route: No.2, 71, 210, 366, 678, 996, Yuntong 103 to Haihutun.
Destinations: Fujian Province, Zhejiang Province (Hangzhou, Leqing, Wenzhou, Ruian), Jiangsu Province (Gaoyou, Xinghua), Anhui Province (Anqing), Liaoning Province (Jinzhou), Shandong Province (Yantai, Jinan, Weifang, Zibo, Laizhou, Liangshan), Inner Mongolian (Jinshan, Jining), Henan Province (Nanle), Hebei Province (Handan, Chengde, Tangshan, Baoding, Shijiazhuang, Langfang, Xingtai), etc.

Lizeqiao Long Distance Bus Station
Location: to the east of Lize Bridge, Xisanhuan, Fengtai District
Operation Hours: 06:00-23:25
Tel: (+86) 010-63475092, (+86) 010-63403408, 010-63457839, 010-63470827
Fax: 010-6345 7839, 010-6347 0827
Bus Route: No.63, 67, 300, 323, 323 (Fast), 368, 458, 459, 480, 604, 698, 937(Sepcial), 958, 968, Te 8, Yuntong 108 to Lizeqiao.
Destinations: Shanghai, Hebei Province, Henan Province, Shandong Province, Shanxi Province, Jiangsu Province, Anhui Province, Fujian Province, Zhejiang Province, Liaoning Province, Hubei Province, Sichuan Province , Shaanxi Province, etc.

Lianhuachi Long Distance Bus Station
Location: to the northeast of Liuli Bridge, Fengtai District
Operation Hours: 06:00-20:00
Tel: (+86) 010-63322354
Fax: 010-63282875
Bus Route: No.6, 38, 57, 201, 309, 321, 339, 340, 349, 390, 394, 477, 613, 620, 691, 704, 715, 917, 927, 941, 981, 982, 993, Te 7 to Liuliqiao East.
Destinations: Hebei Province (Handan, Shijiazhuang, Baoding), Shandong Province (Heze, Jining, Juye), Henan Province (Anyang, Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Sanmenxia, Kaifeng, Jiaozuo, Shangqiu, Zhoukou, Huaiyang), etc.

Yongdingmen Long Distance Bus Station
Location: No.37, Pengzhuang, Chonwen District, to the northeast of Beijing South Railway Station.
Operation Hours: 06:00-21:00
Tel: (+86) 010-83109307
Fax: 010-83108007
Bus Route: No.20, 53, 63, 102, 106, 122, 203, 208, 377, 381, 454, 458, 485, 692, 741, 800 (Inner), 927, 939, 943, 958, 986, Te 3, Te 5, Yuntong 102 to Beijing South Railway Station.
Destinations: Inner Mongolian, Hebei Province, Tianjin, Shandong Province, Shanxi Province, Henan Province, Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province, Anhui Province, Fujian Province, etc.

Beijing Beijiao Long Distance Bus Station
Location: No.A30, Huayan Beili, Chaoyang District
Operation Hours: 05:30-17:00
Tel: (+86) 010-82846760
Fax: 010-82847445
Bus Route: No.305, 344 (Fast), 345, 625, 909 to Jiandemen Bridge North.
No.55, 210, 315, 407, 618, 625, 670, 689, 695, 909, 919, 939, 949 to Qijia Huozi.
Destinations: Zhangjiakou, Baotou, Shacheng, Weixian, Guyuan, Chengde, Longguan, Qingyun, Chongli, Chicheng, Gushi, Kangbao, Linhe, Changyuan, etc.

Sihui Long Distance Bus Station
Location: No.68, Jianguo Lu, Gaobeidian Village, Chaoyang District
Operation Hours: 06:00-19:30
Tel: (+86)010-65574804
Fax: 010-65574813
Bus Route: No.207, 495, 496 to Sihui.
No.496, 608, 628, 657, 715, 740, 753, Te 9 to Sihuiqiao.
Destinations: Jilin Province, Liaoning Province, Hebei Province, Anhui Province, Henan Province, Inner Mongolian, Jiangsu Province, Tianjin, etc.

Xinfadi Long Distance Bus Station
Location: Fengnan Lu, Fengtai District, about 100 meters (109 yards) to the west of Xinfadi Bridge.
Operation Hours: 06:00-17:30
Tel: 010-83727679, 010-83727241
Bus Route: No.377, 381, 410, 423, 434, 454, 474, 483, 497, 631, 646, 676, 679, 943, 977, 993, 996 to Xinfadi Bridge North
Destinations: Henan Province (Gushi, Guangshan, Fanxian), Jiangsu Province (Shuyang, Jinhu, Xiangshui), Shandong Province (Gaotang, Dezhou, Dongying, Rongcheng, Weifang), Anhui Province (Taihe), Hebei Province (Fengning, Nangong, Qinghe, Bazhou, Anxin, Yanshan, Weixian, Dacheng, Pingxiang).

Dongzhimen Long Distance Bus Station
Location: No.45, Dongzhimenwai Xiejie
Tel: 010-64671346, 010-64608131
Bus Route: No. 24, 106, 107, 117, 123, 206, 413, 416, 418, 614, 623, 635, 688, 916 (Fast), 934, 966 to Dongzhimen.
Destinations: Changyuan, Chengde, Chifeng, Fengning, Fengshan, Guanshang, Huairou, Jiaozhuanghu, Mafang, Miyun, Nanzhuangtou, Pinggu, Shunyi, Sishang, Wuxiongsi, Xinglong.

Xizhimen Long Distance Bus Station
Location: No.2, Beixiaguan, Xizhimen
Tel: 010-62183454, 010-62173556
Bus Route: No.67, 201, 205, 300, 323, 324, 349, 368, 483, 631, 687, 691, 689, 699, 836, 944, 968, 977, 993, Te 2, Te 7, Yuntong 103 to Liuliqiap South.
Destinations: Anshan, Baotou, Baochang, Binzhou, Boshan, Changchun, Chengde, Chifeng, Fengning, Fengshan, Harbin, Hohhot, Jining, Jinan, Jinzhou, Longhua, Pinggu, Qinhuangdao, Shacheng, Shanhaiguan, Shenmu, Shenyang, Tangshan, Yinchuan, Zhangjiakou, etc.

Tianqiao Long Distance Bus Station
Location: No.32, Beiwei Lu, Xuanwu District
Tel: 010-63033940, 010-63183451
Bus Route: No.2, 7, 17, 20, 35, 36, 69, 71, 105, 106, 110, 120, 203, 210, 692, 707, 729, 803, 826 to Tianqiao.
Destinations: Baigou, Fangshan, Hanying, Matou, Shengli, Xiangyang, etc.

Deshengmenwai Long Distance Bus Station
Location: Huayan Beili, Chaoyang District, to the east of Beijiao Long Distance Bus Station.
Tel: 010-63960088
Bus Route: No.305, 344 (Fast), 345, 625, 909 to Jiandemen Qiaobei.
No.55, 210, 315, 407, 618, 625, 670, 689, 695, 909, 919, 939, 949 to Qijia Huozi.
Destinations: Yanqing, Kangxi, Chicheng, Guyuan, Zhangjiakou, Baochang, Dongmao, World Park, etc.

Trains in Beijing

Beijing is easily accessed from most everywhere in China and is an easy place to get a train to most major destinations in China. There are some international routes: the most of which is the Trans Siberian through Mongolia or Manchuria to Moscow. There are also trains to Vietnam and Central Asia via Kazakhstan. Most trains used by tourists leave from Beijing Railway Station (Beijing Zahn) or Beijing West Railway Station, but some also leave from Beijing North Railway Station and Beijing South Railway Station (See Train Stations below).

Traveling by train is generally cheap and safe, especially when your trip is long. Relatively fast trains serve many destinations now, even as far as the edge of Tibet and Xinjiang. The Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway has reduced travel time between the cities to 5 hours. The Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway travels between Beijing and Tianjin in only 30 minutes.

Due to China’s large size trains take longer than planes but give you a chance to see China out the window and savor the beautiful countryside. It is best to get the timetable of your desired train before starting your journey. Long-distance trains and overnight trains generally have a dining car, with meal that are less savory and higher priced than at restaurants. Carts providing drinks, fruits, snacks, and other items for sale are pushed along the aisle, prices also a little higher than usual. The toilets may not be as clean as you would like, and they can't be used at stations. Sometimes, sales persons selling small products like socks, trinkets or and toys, and often give a lively introduction about their articles.

Getting Train Tickets

There are basically three main ways to buy train tickets: 1) Buy it yourself at train stations in China; 2) Buy it through a online ticket agent; or 3) Buy it from a train ticket office not at the train station or with the help of a tour agency or guide in China. It can be a big help to have a tour guide or travel agent help you or get the tickets for you. Hotel personnel can often help you out. If someone gets a ticket for you, you may have relinquish you passport while they get it. In terms of booking tickets in advance it depends on what date and which route you are going to ride. China train tickets go on sale 30 days ahead of the travel date.

If you buy a ticket at the train station, you bring bring your passport. In case you want to buy for others - you need their passports too! No passport. No ticket. Sometimes the lines at the ticket offices can be long but generally they are not too long. If you buy at ticket online (though WeChat for example) you can't print the ticket. You need to pick up the physical ticket at the train station - and it's the same line were people buy tickets.

There are ticket machines - but they work ONLY with Chinese ID cards. You don't have to buy at a station, there are train sales outlets dotted around. To get to of these get the name of the one nearest to carefully copy the Chinese characters on a piece of paper and have a taxi take you thre. One person posted on Trip Advisor: “To be honest, I find buying train tickets in Chine much more user friendly then I have encountered in other countries. Of course it can improve for foreigners, but as a tourist you don't spend all days with commuting by train. Just buy ahead online through an agency if you are bound to a specific time or a route with only couple of trains. Most cases the tickets are delivered to your hotel. If it is not that critical buy at an agent you find in most cities. Your hotel can tell you where to find one. Or just buy at the station.”

Trains in Stations in Beijing

Beijing Railway Station and Beijing West Railway Station are the two main train stations in Beijing. There are are a total five large railway stations in Beijing. The other three are Beijing East Railway Station, Beijing South Railway Station, and Beijing North Railway Station. The five stations have tracks running to most provincial capitals and major cities in mainland China. Trains to some locations can be boarded at Pingguoyuan and Qinghuayuan subway stations.

Beijing Railway Station (Beijing Zhan, Běijîng Zhàn) lies in city center near Subway Line 2. It boasted the world's largest waiting room, with a standing capacity of 14,000 people, until it was surpassed by the Western Train Station. It handles trains to and from the east and north and is where one catches the Trans-Siberian train.

Western Train Station, completed in 1996 and opened with great fanfare acks immediate access to metro, The largest train station in Asia at the time it was built, it t cost $720 million, occupies 5.5 million square feet (making it 10 times larger than Beijing Station), took 20,000 workers three years to build and can handle 90 passenger lines with 600,000 people per day. Most trains to Beijing arrive here, including most of those from the south and west. It is about 10 kilometers from the city center. The building has been crumbling at an alarming rate and at least a half dozen people involved in the construction have been arrested for corruption.

Beijing Zhan is connected with Beijing’s subway system. West Train Station is not. There are buses to the downtown area but it is much easier and not much more expensive to get a taxi at the taxi stand outside the station. There are two other train stations in Beijing (Yongdingmen in the south and Xizhimen in the north) but nearly all the major long-distance trains leave from Beijing Station or the West Train Station. Web Sites: Beijing Visitor

Beijing South Railway Station (in Fengtai District) opened in 2008 and was built at a cost of US$959 million. Covering an area of 499,000 square meters, the South Railway Station is the second largest in the capital after Beijing's West Railway Station. It has 13 platforms and 24 arrival and departure lines, and consists of two floors above ground and three floors underground. It services the Beijing-Tianjin and Beijing-Shanghai high-speed trains. Getting There: Bus No. 20, 54, 102, 106, 381; or take subway Line 4 to South Railway Station.

Image Sources: 1) CNTO (China National Tourist Organization; 2) Nolls China Web site; 3) Perrochon photo site; 4); 5) tourist and government offices linked with the place shown; 6); 7) University of Washington, Purdue University, Ohio State University; 8) UNESCO; 9) Wikipedia; 10) Julie Chao photo site.

Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization), UNESCO, Rough Guide for Beijing, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in May 2020

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