How to Travel from Capital Airport to Downtown Beijing
Situated 32km northeast of central Beijing, the Capital International Airport (PEK) is one of the biggest and busiest air hubs in China. More than half foreign visitors would choose to enter China via the gateway city Beijing. The airport is well connected by different local transport systems, including the airport express train, airport buses, taxis, and currently the most recommended ways for first timers are still taxis and private escort service.
For visitors arriving late or traveling with big luggage, taxi might be the best choice for an easy transfer from the airport to the hotel. A taxi ride to the city center usually takes about one hour and costs RMB120 - 150 on average. However, the traffic jams are common in Beijing especially during rush hours around 07:00 to 9:00 and 17:00 to 19:00, so sometimes the duration is a bit longer and the expense is more than the average rate.
Tips for Taking a Taxi
After going through the immigration, you might be approached by illegal taxis or limo drivers who intend to overcharge you. It usually happens to the first timers who are lingering around in search of taxis. To avoid the scam, you are suggested to follow the signage to the taxi stands to pick up a licensed taxi though sometimes you need to wait in line for a while. Besides, some licensed taxi drivers will refuse to use the meter at night. You can negotiate with the driver for an agreeable price, but pay him or her only when you reach the desired destination.
Locations of Taxi Stands:
Terminal 1: Outside Gate 1 on F1
Terminal 2: Outside Gate 5 to 9 on F1
Terminal 3: Outside of Arrivals Hall (B1)
Airport shuttle buses are arguably the cheapest way to get to the city center from the airport. There are 17 bus routes leading to different parts of the city, including some popular tourist spots such as Wangfujing (line 10), Beijing Railway Station (line 3), Beijing International Hotel (line 3), Panjiayuan Antique Market (line 1), Qianmen Street (line 7), Yonghe Lamasery (line 2), Xidan (line 2), West Railway Station (line 7) and South Railway Station (line 2).
The bus fare varies from RMB20 to RMB30 according to your final destinations. If your place to go is close to an airport shuttle bus stop, this could be a perfect option. However, this travel method is not really feasible for travelers who know little about the bus routes and the stops to drop off.
Terminal 1: Gate No. 7 (inside) on F1
Terminal 2: Gate No. 11 (outside) on F1
Terminal 3: Gate No.7 or No.9 (outside) on F1
All buses to downtown will depart from T3, then go to T2 and T1. T3 is about 10 minutes' drive away from T2 and T1.
Taking the airport express train is always the fastest way to get from the Capital Airport to downtown Beijing. Served as a part of Beijing subway network, the airport express line covers a distance of 28 kilometers, linking through the Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 of the airport via a stop at Sanyuanqiao to Dongzhimen finally. The whole ride takes about 20 minutes, and the train departs with an interval of 10 minutes or so. No matter you get off at Sanyuanqiao or Dongzhimen, the fare is RMB25 per ride.
T2: 06:36 - 23:10
T3: 06:22 - 22:52
Dongzhimen: 06:00 - 22:30
Terminal 2: B2 of Parking Garage no.2
Terminal 3: 2F of Parking Garage no.3
At Sanyuanqiao Stop, you can transfer to subway line 10
At Dongzhimen Stop, you can change to subway line 2 and line 13
For first timers, seniors and family travelers, a private vehicle with drivers is no doubt the most excellent way to handle the transfer from the airport to the hotel. Now many tour operators provide efficient and convenient escort service with spacious, comfortable and air-conditioned vehicles. You could release yourself from the stress of crowds and long lines. Upon your landing, the driver will be waiting for you at the arrival hall by holding a signboard with your name, and then chauffeur you to the designated hotel directly. Your hands would be free of luggage as the drivers will take care of it.
Benefited from Chinese 144-hour visa free policy, a layover tour becomes popular for foreign travelers. We strongly recommend transit passengers to book an escorted tour covering the round-trip transfer between the airport and downtown as well as other sightseeing spots. It is time efficient and free of hassle.