Actually this is train but connected to subway (line 2 and 13). Just opened in June 2008.
It is only has 3 stops: Dongzhimen (start), Sanyuan Qiao, terminal 3, terminal 2.
About 15 min from Dongzhimen to terminal 3.
Cost 25 yuan. Start from 5 am.
If you find yourself in the wrong terminal, can take an available bus (free, outside the terminal) to get to the correct terminal building. Run every 10 min from 6am-11pm and every 20 min from 11pm-6am.
This smart IC card is prepaid transportation card, can be used for subway, bus, some taxi, also as public phone card.
Can be bought at subway station, and can be return back (after no use anymore) at transfer station.
Card deposit is 20 yuan, and put as much as 1000 yuan on it. The fare is deducted automatically with simple swipe the card on the machine. When you return the card, you will get the deposit money + money left on the card.
I think it is really convenience, because:
1. unnecessary to stay in line every time for buy subway card.
2. unnecessary to prepare small coin for bus (bus cost 1 or 2 yuan, has no change)
3. use card for bus has some discount (up to 60%), it is really good when use it for bus to badaling (normal cost 12 yuan).
The Beijing subway is EASY to understand for foreigners. It is as easy as the San Francisco BART. Clear lines, with all trains stopping at all the stops.
It is extremely cheap at Y3 (less than 50 cents) and it will help you save a good bit of time too.
The station names are written in Western alphabet on the maps and in the stations. The stations are also named in English over the PA.
The stations and the trains are not super modern, but not decrepit either. Rush hour is quite crowded, with pushing attendants who help getting the last passenger fully inside before the doors shut.
The passengers are silent and a bit somber, like in the Paris metro.
I felt 100% safe in the Beijing subway, day or evening.
Beijing subway is one of the most crowded places in the Earth but I am glad that you're able to reach the other end of Beijing within half hour. The trains are punctual, they run frequently every a few minutes but even though they're large there's seldom a place to sit, unless you board from the first station. We have been using it almost every day, though... for 2 yuan fare to any distance and any line, it is very affordable.
For getting to the city from the airport.
Use the subway.
Its quick, its easy, its cheap - only 25rmb.
When you get to the end of the airport line, you then need to buy a further 2rmb subway ticket to the stop you are going to.
A far easier alternative to the bus is the subway. Beijing has two underground lines: East-West and Circle. In early 2003 a third overground route was introduced to the north, and more are planned before the 2008 Olympics. At present though, the reach of the subway is far more limited than the buses - although it does cover most major tourist sites. Much quicker than buses, which can take an age in the Beijing traffic, the subway makes the city seem a much more manageable size. It costs 2 Yuan per journey, which can involve a change of lines and unlimited travel until you come back overground. You have to pay another 2 Yuan to use the third line. Trains are frequent and in reasonable condition. Locals complain that it's slow and crowded but if you're used to the London Underground then it's heaven! There are about 40 stations on the main two lines and they display a blue D sign. Another advantage over the buses is that station names and train announcements are in English - it's virtually impossible to get lost! Most major tourist areas are near subway stations and wherever possible I'd recommend it over the bus.
Subway is cheap and on schedule, but...
- also very packed during rush hours (7am-9am; 17pm-19pm)
- not extensive. Currently there are only 5 lines (Line No.1,2,5,13 and Batong).
Line No.1: Tian'anmen square (Forbidden City), Wangfujing shopping street, Silk Market
Line No. 2 (Loop line): Temple of Heaven, Qianmen, BJ Train Station, Lama Temple, Drum and Bell Tower
Line No. 5: Temple of Heaven, Lama Temple
Good news is that more subway lines are under construction.
Taking a subway is the best way to get around. It goes to most major spots and its cheap. It costs 3 Yuan for a trip.
There are 2 main lines - the loop line and the straight line. The loop line makes a circle around the central part of the city. The straight line crosses through the loop line extending East and West of the city. There are 2 stops where you can transfer - Jianguomen and Fuxingmen.
Beijing's subway trains are rather old though. I remember it smelled a bit.
It may sound weird to say this but I quite liked the voice of the station annoucer. I really liked her accent....I'm weird.
The subway is a good way to travel in Beijing, it is cheap and easy to use. First you buy a ticket at the counter stating tickets, then go to the platform. You pass a person in at 'ticketcheck' counter, they will tear a part of your ticket. Then on the platform choose the right train to enter. On the ring line that is no problem both trains will pass your destination, but one is there quicker. See the station/times tables all over the platform.
A map of the Beijing subway can be found at: http://www.urbanrail.net/as/beij/beijing.htm
The Beijing subway is extremely easy to use. There are signs in English and the stations are frequent and clean.
The trains themsevles are also extremely clean and have clear maps as well as announcements in both Chinese and Engish regarding the next station.
The price is Y3 per trip and the stations are located extremely close to major attractions.
The Beijing Metro is the largest, oldest and busiest in mainland China and began operation in 1969. Since then, the existing network cannot adequately meet the city's mass transit needs and is undergoing rapid expansion with current lines being extended and new lines being built. The current lines link most of the major sights within the city centre plus a new line links to the Beijing Capital International Airport, 27km northeast of the city.
When I was first arrived in Beijing in May 2008, they were still using a rather archaic paper ticket system but changed to a fare card system in June 2008. A flat fare of RMB2.00 with unlimited transfers applies to all lines except the Airport Express, which costs RMB25.00. All lines now collect fares through automatic fare collection machines that accept single-ride tickets and Yikatong, an integrated circuit card (ICC card) that can store credit for multiple rides. Riders can purchase tickets and add credit to Yikatong at ticket counters and vending machines in every station and the card is also accepted on many city buses.
The Beijing Metro system is comparable with the Shanghai Metro system. It has 14 lines in total to connect within the city, suburban, and the Airport. Beijing has the oldest subway in mainland China since 1969. You can see some of the stations are old. The metro train is the easiest way to travel within the city of major attractions, railway stations, and the airport. Here are some of the metro travel tips to important places:
Tian'anmen West (Tiananmen Square)
Tian'anmen East (Tiananmen Square)
Wangfujing (Wangfujing Shopping)
Guomao (Financial Street, CCTV Building)
Tiantandongmen (The Temple of Heaven East Gate)
Olympic Sports Center (Olympic Park)
The subway has several lines, all color coded. They all work the same take the train on the side you find your station on the board. When on the ringline both trains will go there, take the one with the shortest traveltime in front of your station.
Here is a great printable map of the Beijing subway: http://www.beijingtraveltips.com/transport/subway/beijing_subway_maps.htm
Though not as luxe as some Pacific rim metro systems such as those in Hong Kong or Singapore, Beijing's subway is safe, clean, user-friendly and very nice... The trains are quite timely... All of the signs are quite helpfully done in both Chinese and English such as you see in the photo here... I rode the subways quite often on my most recent trip to Beijing and had no troubles whatsoever...
It's actually quite easy to get around Beijing (and considering the weather and pollution at road level), it may well be a good thing too!
Simply go to any station and buy a flat one-way ticket from any ticket booths. You pay according to the distance travelled.
The train system [北京地铁] is kinda modelled after the British and Hong Kong system. The sights and sounds of Beijing can be experienced in the train carriages. The carriages aren't exactly air-conditioned so it can get stuffy around peak hours and you'll get the rich chance of literally enjoying the smell of Beijing. Don't be surprised to see both vendors hagging their wares and beggars hagging you for wares in the train carriages as well.
Access link for Map of Beijing Subway: BEIJING SUBWAY
There is a store-value card called "Yi Ka Tong" (or IC Cards) you can purchase. This card will allow you to travel on both public buses and the Beijing Metro for a period of time or as long as you have money in the card! Save me the hassle of hunting down coins and small changes. It's kinda like the Octopus Card of Hong Kong and the Ezylink card of Singapore. There is a 20RMB deposit (which you can claim back from IC Card outlets) and on top of that, any amount of money you wish to add, depending on how much you think you're going to spend.
You get through the gates of the subway and board and alight the buses by flashing the card on a sensor and your fare will be automatically deducted.