Beijing Capital International Airport
The best way to arrive at Beijing is by airplane at the Beijing Capital International Airport. This airport is in the midst of upgrading and expanding when I was there in October 2006 to prepare to cope with the crowds of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Overall, it is a modern airport but it is surprising not very big considering Beijing is the capital of the most populated country in the world. A warning is the traffic jam when you go out of the airport or going there because of road constructions, once again to prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
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Subway Line 1: Windows to Beijing's Past
You can cover Beijing's many attractions using subways. (pls refer to notice board at the station to confirm nearest exit points)
Attractions category: H=Historical, A=Arts & Culture, T=Temple, S=Shopping, P=Parks
SN: Tiananmen Dong
Cluster of attractions nearby
1. Forbidden City (H,A,T)
2. Zhongsan Park (P)
3. Jingshan Park (P)
4. Tiananmen Square (located across the road opposing Forbidden City's main gate aka wumen)
SN: Yong An Li (S) - Silk Street
SN: Wangfujing (S) - Oriental Mall & centuries old time honoured brand shops
SN: Xidan (S) - Underground Shopping
SN:TianTan Dong Men(T) - Temple of Heaven
SN: Yong He Gong (T) - Lama Temple (Also reachable by Line 2)
SN: Qianmen (S)
L: Olympic Line
SN:Olympic Park (my preferred disembarking station. However, you can get off at other stations along the Olympic Line). Tips: The "Park' station is at the central. I preferred to disembark at this station to enjoy a leisure walk either northward or southward. Going northwards you will come to Olympic Forest Park, enjoy boating & picnic outing on the man made lake. Going southwards will lead you to the Bird Nest & Water Cube attraction, best enjoyed in the evening.
Downtown Beijing to Mutianyu Great Wall
I took this trip in February 08 and had some problems trying to find the bus but fortunately I speak Chinese so any problems were soon cleared up!!! So I can give you all the info I know. I live at Dongzhimen so the walk wasn't too bad. Yes, basically get out of Dongzhimen subway exit B and it is literally there, the bus stop that is!! You will see the Airport Express entrance right there also. Now for the tricky part..there are SEVERAL 916# buses...yes, not so clever I know!! They have the same deal with 918# buses...don't ask me why!!
Basically there is the 916# that goes to every stop imaginable and takes forever, then there is the 916# air conditioned bus which stops at quite a few places along the way and then finally there is the 916# which is the fast one and doesn't stop that often according to the bus stop sign!!! I took the air conditioned one even though I didn't need air conditioning because it was Feb, but it was the first one that turned up that wasn't full (a popular route). It took about 2 hours to get there. I asked the bus lady to let me know which stop to get off at for Mutianyu Great Wall and she did. Before you get to that stop however you will have taxi touts jumping on the bus and trying to convince you to take their 'black' cabs. My friend who was with me said that if she hadn't been with me, a Chinese speaking person, she would have been so confused and would have probably got off at that point! The thing with Chinese people is that they don't tend to help you that often and so I had to keep asking the bus lady "is this the stop?" as I thought we were maybe going past it, but she didn't tell me that the taxi drivers were illegal and again, if I HADN'T been living in China for so long, I would have probably got off the bus and gone with the taxi drivers....anyway..finally we got to the stop..I think I have it written down somewhere..I'll look for it and get back to you...
Then we hired a mini van which cost us about 60RMB return. You will have to bargain with him and don't pay him until you're back at the bus stop later that day. Set a time you will be coming back down the wall and if you have a phone, take his number so you can call him in case your plans change..not that he will understand English of course!!!Hahah..sorry!
Mutianyu doesn't tend to have crowds and it really is very beautiful..far more so than Badaling which is like a Disneyworld.
Any other questions, please ask!
20 minutes trips are 3 to 4 US Dollars. 45 minute trip was around 9 dollars. Have someone write your destination down on a piece of paper to hand to the driver. Always have a map with you to show the hotel you are staying at, especially if it is not a big hotel, not all drivers will know where it is. The taxis have meters so you do not have to fear being cheated about the price of the ride. The meter shows the price.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Airport Taxi nightmare!
As of 2007 March, Beijing International airport taxi service is a BIG MESS! The line to get a taxi averages 30 minutes to an hour wait! Plus people don't wait in line so one needs to fight for the cab! Until the airport subway express is up and running early 2008, the mess with the taxi will not get better.
If you do not have a hotel pickup, or company pickup, you can use the driver I usually use. A private clean four door sedan driven by a polite driver (Sorry he does not speak English). XX USD one way from Airport to your destination within the city.
If you need a car, e-mail me with your arrival time, flight number, your full English name, and your destination. The driver will be at the airport with your name on a card to pick you up. I will provide you with my mobile number in case of needs.Related to:
- Business Travel
- Historical Travel
Taxis (Cabs) in Beijing
Taxis in Beijing are relatively cheap. When you go up the taxi, the meter will start around RMB$10 and a trip around town seldom costs more than RMB$50 unless there is a traffic jam. A one way trip to the airport costs about RMB$100. One big warning is that there are many illegal taxis in Beijing which do not run on meters and will charge a lot once they know you are a tourist. Try not to take such taxis unless you are familiar with the price and language, I have heard tourists being charge as high as RMB$600 for a trip from airport to the city!Related to:
- Road Trip
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Illegal taxis will always charge you more than an authorized taxi. There are two types of illegal taxis. Those with meters and those without. The taxis without meters require you to negotiate the fare, preferably before you get in and head whereever it is you want to go. Those illegal taxis with a meter are more dangerous to your pocketbook. The meter is usually rigged. Either the amount when the flag is dropped will be quite high, say 100 yuen or the meter will run fast so that it charges at double or quadruple the legal rate of 2.00 Yuen. How do you tell a legal taxi? They are usually red or green or some other bright color. They will have a common taxi sign on the roof. Inside on the dash will be an authorized photo and driver I.D. number. You would use this number to file a complaint. Where do illegal taxis operate? Usually at busy tourist locations such as the Summer Palace exits or the bus depot for Great Wall tours. Also there are illegal cars operating out of the airport. Usually a shill will ask you as you leave the customs area if you want a taxi. If you say yes, he grabs your bag and instead of heading out the front door to the taxi stand, he will take you to the underground parking structure. These illegal taxis will cost you around 200 to 1,000 Yuen to get to town center. A metered legal taxi will run from 100 to 180 Yuen depending on where you are going. It is almost always cheaper to have a legal taxi take you somewhere using the meter than it is to go off meter, whether with legal or illegal car.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Business Travel
City transportation by Taxi
The best advise that I can give you about Beijing and generally about China is to use taxi. There is a litle diffrence in prices but generally its cheap and can save you alot of axiety.
Of couse take your taxi not near a hotel, show the name of the place you want to go from some travell book written in Chinese.
The driver will probably will change the music in car to some 80's music so you will feel very comfortable.
The last advise, use only a public taxis and not the private ones. You will easily differ it colors. In case of private ones you will pay more expencive price. We did it just once and had this experience.
Beijing Taxi Love them and hate them...
If you are staying at a hotel, using a taxi should be fairly easy. However, what happens when you are out and about and you need to get from say houhai to cafe sambal? Well, most foreigners who live in Beijing can at any given day provide you with their own horrid experience riding in the Beijing cab. A lot of them seem to think that due to the fact they speak some mandarin so they can supplement their desire to get from point a to point b in a hassle free and speedy manner by being blunt and rude to the drivers. I suppose it can work. However, you can save yourself some grief but ?trying? to pick the right cab. There is no guarantee. All it means is that the probability of you getting from point a to point b smoothly MAY increase. Of course, without saying it is best to have the address of where you want to go written down on a piece of paper. Or at least bring the all so useful THAT?S BEIJING INSIDER GUIDE with you. Better yet if you have the phone number of the place where you want to go handy on your mobile so when you get in the cab?dial the number and hand the driver the phone. They are used to that and you will not be rude. Beijing cabs come in different shape and colors. Some are the older; red, yellow, green rust buckets. Usually you will find fairly new and clean made in korea Hyundai yellow and green cabs driving around and these yellow and green ones are your best bets. However, if you have a choice, (standing in front of the silk market with ten other people fighting for cabs you have no choice whatsoever), try to look for drivers who are not too young. The young ones are really green and they might know Beijing less well than you do! If the driver does not know where you are going, GET OUT! Also, as of Feb.06, don?t get in the super new cabs just yet. Apparently a lot of new drivers starting driving starting Jan 06 and they are also really green. So once again, you might know Beijing better than they do?for now.Related to:
- Work Abroad
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- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
How to reach the International Airport?
To reach the Beijing International Airport from downtown Beijing, tourists tends to use a taxi.
But it's expensive (around 70-130RMB, depending on the starting point) and sometimes you have a trouble with the taxi driver due to a communication difficulty...
So I recommend you to use a limousine bus.
Here's the procedure to ride on the limousine bus.
1. Find the bus station
In case of Xidan->Airport line, here's the station list. (Airport->Xidan line stops other bus stops, but you can only get off at those bus stops)
* San-Yuan-Qiao (Min-sheng Bank Building near Hilton Beijing)
In Dong-Zhi-Men and San-Yuan-Qiao, you have to carry your baggage in your seat, because you can deposit your baggage only at the terminal bus stop.
2. Buy the ticket at the stall near the bus stop
* 16RMB / ticket
* You don't need a reservation. It's okay to buy the ticket just before riding.
3. Show the ticket to the bus driver on your riding
4. You'll reach the International Airport in 30-60 minutes.
Getting around Beijing Municipality
Getting around Beijing Municipality is not particularly easy.
Although there appear to be plenty of railway lines around Beijing, most railways in China are used for long-distance journeys, so there are only a few passenger trains per day. In addition, it can take a long time to get around by train: for instance, journeys from Beijing Bei to Huairou take almost two hours to get there - an hour longer than the bus.
Bus is one way, but again can be slow. One option is to take a taxi, either by making the journey and paying for the return journey. The driver will be happy to wait and return you safely to your hotel. When you ask the driver about the price, he will say that it is up to you: this is one of the most frustrating things about China (not just Beijing) and it is abusive and unfriendly. Basically, the driver is hoping that you will be so clueless as to offer an absurdly high price. The best thing to do is play the game the other way: keep a straight face and offer an absurdly low price (say RMB100 for a whole day) and wait for them to splutter out a (still high) price. The real price is in between somewhere. Typically a half-day journey out to the Great Wall will be around RMB200 to 400 depending upon the vehicle (Santanas and older taxis at 200, newer Hyundai taxis at 300 and Passats up at 400). Add another third to a half of that for the whole day.
Needless to say, pay when you are returned safely to your hotel at the end of the trip.
If you are uncomfortable with the drivers road behaviour, ask him to "Man ee-dian" (Slow down), which they will normally do. It is highly advisable to use whatever seatbelts are fitted, as China is an extremely dangerous place on the roads. Your driver may be dumb enough to avoid using his seatbelt properly, but do not feel ashamed to use yours! It is better to be laughed at by a taxi driver than be a paraplegic for the rest of your life.
Cable cars to Great Wall
This is one of the things that strip my hero title. Nah, I wasn’t fit to scale the Great Wall by myself anyway.
Good news for those who are old and weary like me & also those who have kneecap reconstruction ops. You can now witness the greatest wall/wonders of all.Related to:
- Historical Travel
China can be considered as one of the world biggest countries and travel by land or boat may make one die of frustration. (I do)
There are countless domestic airline companies in China and mostly named after the place or regions. For my case, I travel by Malaysia Airline (MAS) else I may grow old the moment I step on China lands.
One of my flight (Xi’an – Beijing), I actually traveled Hainam Airline. It was one of the most shakable flights I ever took. Just wonder the airline company has its simulator for training of pilots? Was it every flight is practice?Related to:
- Work Abroad
I was so ready to see thousands of bicycles cloak up the traffic during the peak hours, but I see none.
Bicycles still the choice mode of transport for students and elderly people who do not have great disposable income or for short distance usage.
You can also rent a bicycle whenever you're exploring attractions with large build ups (except The Forbidden City).Related to:
- Road Trip
- School Holidays
The coolest bike in the world!
I spotted this beauty one day coming out of the subway when i was going home! I thought it was hilarious and just imagined trying to ride it!!!! The following day it was there again, and the next day after that too!!! So I became snap happy and headed off home with a smile. The fourth day however, it wasn't there and I was a bit sad....I wonder if someone stole it?
NB. Chinese love to steal other Chinese people's bikes..and foreigner's bikes too!!! They then get re-sold at some market in the north of Beijing at a cheaper price! I am trying to find this said market as I write as my lovely bicycle has probably made its way there too over the last couple of days!!!! I guess I'd better get away from the computer and buy another one!
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