Edinburgh Airport
Edinburgh Airport

Airport

BCIA is the world’s second largest airport, with 95+ million passengers passing through the building in 2017. The airport serves 239 cities across the globe, and it is located a convenient 25-minute journey from Beijing’s city centre.

Transport from the Airport to the City

Passengers travelling from BCIA to the city centre should take either the express railway service or a taxi. Passengers connecting to other cities, airports, or areas outside of Beijing can opt for the shuttle service or bus service.

Express Railway

The express railway runs between BCIA (Terminal 2 and 3) and the city centre (Sanyanqiao and Dongzhimen).

  • Location: there are several locations throughout BCIA. For arrivals in Terminal 2, the express railway is in B2 of Parking Garage No. 2. For arrivals in Terminal 3, the express railway is in F2 of Parking Garage No. 3
  • The fare is RMB 25/per person
  • Trams depart every 10 minutes
  • With a journey time of approximately 25 minutes, the express is the fastest mode of transport from BCIA to the city centre

Taxi

Taxis are available from each terminal at BCIA. For more information on taking a taxi from BCIA to the city centre, follow this link.

  • Location: there are several locations throughout BCIA. For arrivals in Terminal 2, the taxi stand is located outside Gate 1 on Floor 1. For Terminal 2, taxis are located outside Gates 5 to 9 on Floor 1
  • The minimum fare is RMB 13 for the first 3km. The rest of the journey will be charged at a rate of RMB 2.3/km
  • Trams depart every 10 minutes
  • The journey time is approximately 45 minutes

Hainan Airlines

Hainan Airlines is the fourth largest independent airline in China. With a prestigious five-star airline rating from SKYTRAX, fresh food served on board, and over 6 million hours of safe flying, this award-winning airline offers more than just a way to reach Beijing– it offers an experience.

Luxury travel kit.

Business Class

Passengers flying in business class can enjoy comfortable seats that recline 180-degrees, as well as individual USB ports and reading lights. Passengers will also be provided with a luxury Bvlgari Amenity Kit filled with a White Tea Moisturizing Series, eye mask, slippers and a toothbrush kit.

Delicious looking in flight meal.

Meals

With its award-winning wine and meals created by Michelin-starred chefs, Hainan Airlines provides an in-flight food service like no other. Previous selections have included spicy beef dumplings, seared shrimp with couscous and mango salsa, and Alaskan salmon in a creamy herb sauce. Dessert regularly consists of ice cream, fruit, cakes, or cheese platters.

Man in an aeroplane seat watching a movie.

In-Flight Entertainment

Hainan’s in-flight entertainment system allows passengers to enjoy movies, television shows, music, and games. Try a traditional Chinese strategy board game, such as GomoKu, or opt for an American film; Hainan Airlines offers a mix of Eastern and Western media, so that you can enjoy entertainment from both cultures as you fly.

Woman flight attendant in a cape.

Unique Experience

Admire the cabin crew’s haute couture-style uniforms created by Chinese designer Laurence Xu. Xu blends a Chinese dress with Western-style fitted capes for a unique uniform that reflects the airline’s links with the West and East. The designs were unveiled at Paris Couture Week in 2017, and they have been met with wide international acclaim.

Man putting overhead bag away

Baggage Allowances

Passengers flying in business class on Hainan Airlines will be allowed to bring two pieces of checked baggage weighing a maximum of 32kg each, and 2 pieces of carry-on baggage. Passengers flying in economy will be allowed a single piece of carry-on baggage, and one checked bag weighing a maximum of 23kg. Carry-on baggage may not exceed 10kg.

FAQ

Visitors with a UK passport will likely need a visa to enter mainland China. You will be required to present your passport, Visa application form and photo, declaration, and supporting documents to a Visa centre in the UK. For more guidance on applying for a Chinese visa, follow this link here.

Beijing is a city for all seasons. For more information on seasonal weather and the activities available, please visit Beijing by Season.

English speakers can travel around Beijing with relative ease thanks to the helpful signposts and directions written in English that are interspersed around the city. The airport, subways, public buses, and higher-end hotels tend to have translations available. In restaurants, there will generally be an English or picture menu that you can point to. However, there are certain instances where visitors may find it useful to carry a pocket dictionary or translation guide. When taking a taxi, for example, it’s best to have your destination written down in Chinese characters.

Although most locals use mobile methods of payment such as WeChat, tourists are still welcome to use physical currency. Chinese currency is called Renminbi, or RMB.

Tipping is not a common practice in China, although exceptions are sometimes made for tour guides and hotel bellboys.

Wi-Fi is available throughout Beijing. Many hotels, cafes, public buildings, and city buses will allow visitors to access the internet. However, please note that some social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) will be blocked.

Accommodation

Beijing offers accommodation for every budget. Whether you’re looking for an affordable boutique hotel or a 5-star luxury experience, Beijing has a hotel that’s perfect for you.

Budget-Friendly

Outside seating under a canvas roof

This white-walled, minimalist hotel surrounded by greenery is a photographer’s dream. The Orchid is situated in the heart of the old city, and the outdoor patio offers stunning views over the curving rooftops. Don’t miss Toast, the Orchid’s addictive restaurant that offers East-Mediterranean-inspired mezze and tapas.

Graceland Yard at night

This charming courtyard hotel sits atop the 500-year-old remains of the Zhengjue Temple. The rooms are fitted with traditional Zen Buddhist features, but the amenities are surprisingly modern. Guests are treated to complimentary Wi-Fi, a minibar, cable TV, and bathrobes.

Mid-Range

Hotel Jen modern highrise

This trendy hotel is in Beijing’s central business district, next to the China World Trade Center. Hotel Jen boasts several unique features, including a Gastropub with beer brewery, purified air, and a futuristic gym that spans two floors.

Rennaissance highrise at night

This modern hotel has floor-to-ceiling glass windows that offer incredible views over Beijing’s bustling business district. Highlights include the inventive juice bar at the buffet breakfast, and the live cooking stations at international restaurant BLD.

Luxury

Bed in the background with breakfast on the table

Each room at this impressive hotel comes equipped with a deep-soaking tub with a view, ceiling-mounted Bose speakers, and an espresso machine. Don’t miss Cai Yi Xuan, an award-winning restaurant at the hotel serving up Chinese dim sum and local fare.

Stone Alcove with light fixture in front of entrance

Offering modern comforts, Pan Pacific Beijing is your luxurious gateway to a storied ancient city. From here, explore the Forbidden City and Beijing Financial Street which are just minutes away.

Attractions

As the world’s oldest continuous civilisation, China is steeped in history. Visitors can clamber along the crumbling ruins of the Great Wall, or descend underground to view the famous Terracotta army. History enthusiasts should be sure to visit the Forbidden City in Beijing, which dates to the 13th century.

Great Wall of China

Great Wall

Multiple Cities

This Chinese cultural icon remains a well-trodden tourist destination even 2500+ years after its inception. The most popular section of the wall is located just to the north of Beijing, but the wall stretches an impressive 6700km – the equivalent of running a marathon almost 160 times.

Great Wall of China

Forbidden City/Imperial Palace

Beijing

This 15th-century palace was the home of China’s emperors for some 500 years, making it the most significant building in China. The rooftops glazed with gold in the city serve as a reminder of the emperors’ former majesty. The compound contains nearly a thousand buildings, so you won’t run out of things to see.

Great Wall of China

Imperial Summer Palace

Beijing

Not to be confused with the Imperial Palace, this magnificent structure sits an easy 15-kilometre commute outside of Beijing. The palace originally served as a welcome escape for Chinese emperors from the tedious imperial city, but visitors can now enjoy the stunning architecture and surrounding lake.

Great Wall of China

Temple of Heaven

Beijing

This imperial complex of buildings was once the location of the Heaven Worship Ceremony, conducted by emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Visitors can explore the surrounding gardens, as well as the brightly coloured prayer halls where the emperors prayed for good harvests and sought divine atonement.

Great Wall of China

Tian’anmen Square

Beijing

Famed for being the world’s largest inner-city square, Tian’anmen can accommodate a million people. The square is best known for being the center of communist China, and it was here that Mao gave his well-known speech declaring a new nation in 1949. Mao’s body rests in a crystal sarcophagus nearby the square.

Great Wall of China

The Lama Temple

Beijing

The Lama Temple is one of Beijing’s best-preserved temples. The temple was formerly home to Emperor Yongzheng before being converted to a Tibetan-Buddhist lamasery in 1744. The winged rooftops, colourful frescoes and tapestries, and eye-catching carpentry is spectacular.

Great Wall of China

Beijing Zoo

Beijing

This sprawling zoo is home to the most diverse collection of animals in the country, boasting 14,000 animals from over 900 species. Visitors can view rare native species such as South China tigers, snow leopards, golden snub-nosed monkeys, and giant pandas.

Great Wall of China

Terracotta Army

Shaanxi

A group of farmers digging wells on the outskirts of Xi’an accidentally stumbled upon this incredible archaeological find in the 1970s. This subterranean life-size army dates from 280 BC, and visitors can walk amongst the thousands of terracotta figures that stand guard over the soul of Qin Shi Huang – China’s first unifier.

Great Wall of China

Mogao Caves

Dunhuang

These grottoes in Dunhuang once housed 18 monasteries with 1400+ monks and nuns. The Buddhist artwork in the cave temples is believed to span over 1000 years.

Beijing by Season

Visit Beijing in the spring to admire cherry blossoms in bloom, or munch on mooncake at the Mid-Autumn festival in September. Dine al fresco in the summertime, or set off fireworks at the Chinese New Year celebrations in January.

Tree in spring

Spring

Beijing’s springtime is a patchwork of cherry blossoms, tulips, and crab-apple blossoms. Take a walk in the Botanical Gardens to admire the peonies in bloom.

What`s on

Qingming Festival – more commonly known as ‘tomb-sweeping day’, this April festival is bittersweet for Chinese citizens. Locals spend part of the day cleaning the tombs of loved ones, while the other part is spent celebrating the coming spring by flying kites outside.

Dragon Boat Festival – this May/June festival is held in honour of the poet and minister Qu Yuan, who was accused of treason and imprisoned. It is said that when Qu Yuan drowned himself out of despair, the local people raced out their boats to save him. Zongzi (a lotus-wrapped rice packet) accompanies the celebrations.

Weather

Springtime in Beijing is mild and dry, with average temperatures in April hovering around 15 °C. The hours of sunshine peak in June, with the daylight lingering for about twelve hours.

Tree in summer

Summer

With the weather in Beijing becoming blissfully hot, diners begin to enjoy their meals al fresco. Eat a five-course meal on the charming patio of Dali Courtyard, or bring a picnic to tuck into in the picturesque Yuanminguan Park.

What`s on

Double Seventh Festival – Known to the West as ‘Chinese Valentine’s Day’, this August festival is a celebration of the reunion of Zhinü and Niulang, two legendary lovers. Chinese couples celebrate with gift-giving, a special dinner, and red roses.

Ghost Festival - This festival is held in August/September, and it’s not so much celebrated as it is observed. The Chinese perform ceremonies to avoid the wrath of ghosts, such as burning incense near ancestral tablets.

Weather

Summertime is the rainy season in Beijing, and visitors are advised to bring an umbrella or raincoat in case of sudden showers. July is the warmest month of the year, with temperatures climbing to approximately 27°C.

Tree in autumn

Autumn

Celebrate Beijing’s harvest season by buying fresh fruit and vegetables from Sanyuanli Market, or pick them yourself in the local orchards. Take a walk at Fragrant Hills and admire the flaming red and golden-brown leaves in the park.

What`s on

Moon Festival/Mid-Autumn Festival - This celebration in September/October takes place when the moon is at its brightest. Family members gather to offer sacrifice to the moon and eat moon cakes – a delicious pastry filled with sugar, lotus-seed paste and walnut.

Double Ninth Festival – this October festival honours Hengjing, a legendary Chinese warrior that defeated a devil by immobilizing the evil spirit with Chrysantheum wine. The Chinese celebrate by drinking Chrysantheum wine, eating Chongyang cake, and climbing mountains.

Weather

The warm weather lingers in Beijing, and temperatures hover around 17°C in early October. Autumn sees significantly less rain than the summer months, although the hours of daylight are similar to the summer months.

Tree in winter

Winter

For those visitors seeking to avoid crowds, December is the perfect time to visit Beijing. Although the weather is cold, tourist attractions are virtually empty. Seasonal activities such as skiing and hot springs are also popular.

What`s on

Dongzhi/Winter Solstice Festival – This December festival is one of the most important festivals in China. Families gather to eat dumplings and tangyuan, dough balls served in sweet syrup, as they welcome the longer daylight hours and rising positive energy.

Chinese New Year/Spring Festival – This two-week long celebration in January/February is the most important event in the Chinese calendar. Working professionals enjoy a week off, and they use their holiday to visit friends, launch fireworks, and plan for the upcoming year.

Weather

Winter in Beijing is a sub-arctic climate, with temperatures dropping to -4°C in January. Visitors are advised to bring a warm coat and several wool layers. Expect 8 hours of daylight in December and January, with sunsets at around 17:00.

Shopping in the City

Beijing is famous for its unique handcrafted art, intricate knots, paper cuttings, and local tea. There are several shopping districts throughout the city, and each area offers speciality items to bring home that go beyond traditional souvenirs.

798 Art Zone

train station with lots of contempoary art

What is it?

This trendy art district lives on an old factory site in the Northeast corner of Beijing. The space is packed with galleries, artists’ studios, industrial factories, and hip cafes. Visitors will find plenty of colourful street art and playful sculptures. If you’re a modern-art fan, there’s no better place to spend a day shopping.

What should I buy?

Stock up on one-of-a-kind artwork by local creatives. Popular shops include Plastered T-Shirts, Beijing’s first street brand that takes iconic Chinese images and puts them on apparel, and cutting-edge art pieces from the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art store.

Wangfujing Shopping Street

adorned gate leading to a very busy market street

What is it?

Perhaps better known as the ‘Fifth Avenue of Beijing’, this touristy shopping area is crammed with book stores, local snack shops, chain stores such as Apple, and designer boutiques. It’s located about 15 minutes on foot from Tian’anman Square, so it’s a convenient place to spend an afternoon shopping.

What should I buy?

Wangfujing Street is home to traditional stores such as Shengxifu hat store, Tongshenghe shoe shop, and the Wuyutai tea house. Wuyutai offers traditional Chinese teas, as well as a selection of ice creams, with unique flavours such as jasmine green tea on offer.

Nanluoguxiang

bright, tree covered street

What is it?

These neighbourhoods of narrow, twisting streets date back over a thousand years. Today, the historic hutong has been refurbished into a hip open-air market that stretches seven kilometres across Beijing. Drink in the electric atmosphere as you stop at funky shops and unique restaurants along your way.

What should I buy?

The Pottery Workshop is a favourite amongst tourists and locals alike, where visitors can view the world-famous artwork of Caroline Cheng as they enjoy a glass of wine. You can also buy Lord Rabbit figurines, a symbol of Beijing culture, or Chinese paper cuts.

Panjiayuan Antique Market

large warehouse with people carrying antiques inside

What is it?

This treasure trove of kitschy souvenirs is in the southeast corner of Beijing. Explore the diverse range of antique shops, and be prepared to squabble with the local shopkeepers over your purchase – bargaining for the antiques is half of the fun. Visit on the weekends, when the market is at its biggest.

What should I buy?

This eclectic market is filled with everything from Buddha statues to Cloisonne metalwork to Cultural Revolution-era items. Make sure to do your research ahead of time and set yourself a budget, as there are plenty of expensive knock-offs in circulation.

Xiushui

street in the shadow of a bridge, filled with people

What is it?

This bustling market located in Beijing’s Chaoyang District specializes in pearls and silk products. The surrounding embassies and high-end hotels mean that Xiushui is very international, and most of the booth owners can speak English. Expect to bargain with the owners as you shop for clothes, bags, and other local items.

Next to the original market is the Beijing Silk Market Mall, a seven-story building that sells everything from Quanjude roast duck to calligraphy prints.

What should I buy?

Xiushui is the best place in Beijing to shop for silk. Head to the third floor of the Market Mall for high quality silks, and keep an eye out for well-established brands such as Ruifuxiang. You can also stock up on other traditional Chinese items such as porcelain, jade, and pearls.