Everything you need to know for a trip to China’s capital city

One Awesome Beijing Video

A Haiku about Beijing


Rich in culture and history

Densely packed people

Speak Like A Local

Locals speak Mandarin Chinese (many with thick Beijinger accents); a few are able to speak English.

Chat Like A Local

By far, the most popular chat app in China is WeChat. Only a small minority of locals use WhatsApp.

All About That Cash

The official Chinese currency is renminbi (RMB, CNY or ¥, roughly ¥6 to US$1). You might also hear the word kuai when referring to money; it's the equivalent of the English word "bucks".

Best Time to Visit

Spring and fall are the best times to visit, though late spring (May-June) is prone to sandstorms. Summer temperatures can get up to 40 degrees Celsius; winters are snowy.

Is It safe?

Very safe.

Need to Know

Many websites, including Google, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and New York Times, are blocked by the "Great Firewall of China". To access them, you'll need to use a VPN. Astrill is our favourite paid option; some free options are listed here.

If you need to search the web and don't have a VPN, try Bing or local favourite Baidu.

One Crazy Fact

About 10% of Beijing’s population share the same surname, Wang (王).

Main Districts

- Dongcheng: The spot for sightseeing with major attractions like the Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. - Wangfujing: The main shopping area with malls and night markets. - Sanlitun: A nightlife area with bars and clubs. - 798 Art District: The artsy hipster area with cafes and galleries.

World’s Largest Outdoor Escalator

Apart from well-known attractions like the Great Wall, Beijing is also home to the Dragon Escalator, the world's longest outdoor escalator. It takes visitors to the top of Longqing Gorge, home to China’s largest dam. Once there, you can then take a cable car or a boat ride, or bungee jump into the gorge." frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

Getting In and Out

Known as the “First Door of China”, the Capital International Airport is the city’s busiest and the country’s most important. The other airport in Beijing, Nanyuan Airport, is closer to town.

Beijing New Airport is expected to open in 2018.

Travelling from Capital International Airport to the city: - Hotel shuttle: Most major hotels offer shuttles, just be sure to book ahead.

- Shuttle bus: There are shuttle bus counters and pickup stations at all 3 terminals. Get tickets for ¥16 and view the shuttle bus map to plan your route. (Shuttle buses that can take you from one terminal to another are available as well.)

- By intercity bus: Public bus services can take you to various parts of town. Check the bus routes and fares here.

- By train: Take express train for a ticket fare of ¥25 per person. Alternatively, you can pay with a transportation smart card, which can also be used for buses and taxis.

- By taxi: There are taxi stands at all 3 terminals. A trip into the city costs ¥100-200. Additional information here.

Travelling from Nanyuan Airport to the city: 

- By shuttle bus: Get your tickets for ¥16 at the counter in the Departure Hall. Route details here.

- By city bus: For bus numbers and routes, check the list here.

- By taxi: A trip to the city costs around ¥35-60.

Getting Around

Common forms of transportation include:

- Walking

- Bicycle: One of the most popular modes of transport, bicycles can be hired from most hotels for ¥20-30 a day.

- Bus: Search for bus routes and check your fares with this website.

- Subway: Trains are an efficient mode of transport that isn’t affected by traffic jams. Find a list of train lines and fare information here.

- Taxi: Beware of the illegal “black cars” (they aren’t always black in colour despite the name) and note that carpooling in taxis is commonly accepted and a good way to reduce cost (the price is 60% of the normal fee). Find more fare information and a list of legal taxis here.

- Car: If you are unfamiliar with the city, you can rent a car with a driver to take you around.

Tip: Use this search tool to find your route, and get the Transportation Smart Card that allows you to travel on buses, trains, and even some taxis.