Beijing Airport Arrival and Departure

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Arriving at Beijing Capital International Airport ( Code: BJS, PEK )

Beijing Airports
At the time of my writing, Beijing Capital International Airport is the only international airport in Beijing. There is a small airport known as Beijing Nanyuan Airport ( Code: NAY ) in the southern Beijing that mainly handles a few domestic flights.

Beijing is said to be building a second large international airport known as Beijing Daxing International Airport that will be finished in 2019.

Beijing Capital Airport is located 18 km northeast of Beijing’s northeast third ring road. Beijing Capital Airport comprises three terminals:  T3, T2 and T1. T1 and T2 are linked by a walking corridor while T3 is on the other side of the airport.

The daily free inter-terminal shuttle bus service connects T3 with T2 and T1.  For more information on Beijing Capital Airport, check out the link: http://www.tour-beijing.com/beijing_airport/.

On Flight
On your plane flying for Beijing,  you need to fill up the arrival card that will be delivered to you by flight attendants.

Before arriving, it is better that you know at which Terminal you will arrive by checking your boarding card.  Arrival cards are also available at the customs area if you aren’t  given it on the plane.

Airport Customs
Beijing Capital Airport is a large and modern airport. Both T3 and T2 receive international flights. If you arrive Terminal 3 at the airport,  you first need to take the inter-airport light rail to the terminal area. Just follow the other passengers into the train for the terminal 3.

You need to have China visa to enter Beijing. If you transit at Beijing Capital Airport and eligible for visa-free stay in Beijing, you still need to fill up the free-visa form before you are allowed to enter Beijing. For more information on visa-free stay in Beijing, check out the link http://www.tour-beijing.com/visa_free_travel_beijing/#tips

ATM, Bank, Hotel & Ticket Booking
If you don’t have a small amount of cash on hand, which is convenient to pay your taxi, airport shuttle bus and etc., you may withdraw cash from ATM, and there are several China banks open 24 hours a day at Beijing Capital Airport.

They all offer fixed exchange rates. you’d better keep receipts as these are needed to change RMB (yuan) back into foreign currency when you leave China.

There is a branch information counter of  Beijing Tourist Information Center in the arrival hall. You may turn to them for hotel booking or other matters like asking them to write the Chinese name of your hotel which is easy for taxi driver to know your hotel.

Beijing Capital Airport has air ticketing counters as well as a train ticket counter. The train ticket office is located  at T2 is on the main hall between international and domestic arrivals. At T3 the train ticket office is located on the departures level at the  left of the domestic check-in counters.

Transport at Capital Airport
Shuttle buses are the cheapest way to enter the city from Beijing capital airport. Beijing capital airport’s shuttle buses cost at RMB 15 per person, which is related to the distance traveled. You may take the shuttle bus if you do not have much luggage or you may already know the bus routes and where you are going to get off and connect a taxi or subway for your hotel in Beijing.

All the airport shuttle buses start from T3 then call at T2 and T1 in succession. If the coming bus is already full,  you will have to wait for the next one.

At the ticket office there is a board showing the bus routes with stops. The buses do not do unscheduled stops and drivers may not always stop at some scheduled stops if they don’t see anybody getting ready to disembark. So you must know which stop you will get off in advance.  For more information on airport shuttle buses, check out the link http://www.tour-beijing.com/beijing_airport_shuttle_bus/

Taking a taxi to the city center from Beijing Capital airport is most convenient.When you exit from the arrival hall,  it may happen that some so-called taxi drivers or touts may approach you offering you a taxi ride. Just ignore them since these taxi rides will be unmetered, illegal  or overcharged.

It is preferable to follow the taxi stand sign to queue up for a legal taxi. You may have your hotel or residential area printed out in Chinese coupled with the phone number to make sure you are going to your intended destination. Some chain hotels have several locations in the city of Beijing.

If a seemingly legal taxi driver asks for a fixed price instead of using a meter,  you should insist on turning on the meter or you just leave the taxi. A normal taxi drive from Beijing Capital Airport to the city center of Beijing ( lets’say Wangfujing areaa), it costs about RMB100-120.

There are additional toll fees to be added up to the total cost.  Currently RMB 10  from Terminal 3, and RMB 5 when travelling to Terminals 1 & 2. There is no toll fee from T2 and T1 to the city center of  Beijing. You may pay the toll fee at the toll booth or  add it to the fare when you get to your destination. For more information on Airport taxi, check out the link:  Beijing taxi.

There is also a fast Airport Express Rail links the airport to Beijing’s subway line. The airport express rail costs RMB 25 per person. For more information on the airport express train, check out the link: Beijing Airport Express Train.

Many hotels arrange airport pick-up service. There are quite private airport transfer operators in Beijing. They offer airport to hotel door to door transfer service, which cost more than a taxi, but avoid being overcharged,  any problem finding your hotel. For private airport transfers, check out the link: Beijing Airport Transfer.

Departing from Beijing Capital Airport

Making sure you will be at Beijing Capital Airport three hours in advance for your international  flights since most international flights start check in 3 hours in advance.

Given the possible at least one hour on the way from your downtown hotel, basically you need to leave your downtown destination 4 hours in advance if you choose to take a taxi to the airport.

Allow yourself to have enough time to go to the airport. In addition, you need to go to the right terminal at the airport.  You know both Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 receive international flights. T2 and T3 are located apart. If you get to a wrong terminal, you may take the inter-terminal shuttle to solve the problem.

Airport inter-terminal shuttle
Every 10 minutes, there is a free shuttle bus leaving from T2 for Terminal 3 and then Terminal 1, and keeps on circling. Each bus takes about 10 minutes for one-way transfer.
Shuttle Bus Route: Gate 11 of T2 first arrival Floor – Gate 5 of T1 First Floor – T3 Departure Third Floor
Operating hours: every 10 minutes at 06:00 – 23:00; Every 30 minutes from 23:00 to 6:00 next day.

Once finishing your exit procedures, security etc., you may use the free Wifi available in the airport area. To get your password, you need to scan your passport at one of the self service machines to get the log in and password. If you are a chain smoker, you will be happy to find a smoking room inside the waiting hall.

If you are using domestic flights service or airport transfers,  you need to be at the airport at least 2 hours in advance and basically the domestic flight check-in desks close 45 minutes before departure.

Hotels in and out Beijing Capital Airport
 There are hourly hotels (lounges)  in T1, T2 and T3. Please find the locations of the hourly lounges:

T1: West Side of Gate No.8 Entrance on the 2F( then walk up to the 3F)
Tel: 010-64540985
Standard Room: CNY480 for overnight or take a break in a lounge: CNY30 per hour

T2: The 1st basement Domestic Arrival, between Gate D2 and D3
Tel: 010- 64598932
Standard Room: CNY480 for overnight or take a break in a lounge: CNY30 per hour

T3: As far as I know, T3 only has a hourly hotel inside the departure hall.
Tel: 01064532621

Alternatively, you can use some of the hotels near Beijing airport:

Hilton Beijing Capital Airport
Terminal 3 Beijing Capital Intl Airport
Beijing, China, 100621
86-10-6458 8888

CITIC Hotel Beijing Airport
No.9 Xiao Tianzhu Road,
Capital International Airport, Beijing 100621
Reservations: 86-10-6456-5588 Fax: 86-10-6456-1234

Crowne Plaza Hotel
International Airport Beijing
No.60 Fuqian 1 Street Tianzhu Shunyi District, Beijing 101312
Hotel Front Desk: 086-010-58108888

Capital Airport Hotel
Capital International Airport, Shunyi District Beijing 100621
86 -10 – 64577788

 Store Your Luggage at Beijing Capital Airport
The Beijing airport offers a secure, baggage storing service.
A) Terminal 3 Left-luggage Counter:
Near Gate C or Gate A in the arrival hall on the second floor
Tel: 64558579 ( domestic ); 64558580 ( International )
B) Terminal 2 Left-luggage Counter:
Between Gate 10 and Gate 8 in the departure hall on the second floor
Tel: 64598152
C) Terminal 1 Left-luggage Counter:
By the link corridor between Terminal 1 and 2 on the second floor
Tel: 64540921
Passengers can leave their luggage there for hours, or for days. Electric ciphony cases are provided for baggage left for hours, making easy the deposit of small-size articles.
Luggage storage cost:
RMB 20 per day for the luggage with its length, width and height less than 65 cm
RMB 30 per day for Baggage with its length, width and height between 200cm and 65cm
RMB 50 per day for Baggage with its length, width and height more than 200 cm

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

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2 Responses to “Beijing Airport Arrival and Departure”

  1. RJ Brown says:

    We are transiting from terminal 3 at Beijing to terminal 3 from Toronto on to Ho Chi Minh City. Do we need to fill out the Arrival form, and if so where do we surrender it in the transit process.?

  2. Daniel says:

    Dear RJ Brown,

    As far as I know, you don’t need to fill up the Arrival form since you are not going through the customs and enter Beijing ( China ). For any questions, just ask a flight attendant for help. Don’t worry and everything will be ok. Have a nice transit in Beijing!

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