Top 12 Things about a Layover in Beijing Capital Airport (PEK)

Top 12 Things about a Layover in Beijing Capital Airport (PEK)

There are two airports in Beijing, the Capital Airport (PEK) and Daxing Airport (PKX). This article is about layover in Beijing Capital Airport (PEK).

1. Can I leave the airport during a layover in Beijing Capital Airport?

You cannot leave the airport if you don’t have a visa or are not eligible for the 144-hour transit visa exemption policy.

2. How do I apply for the 144-Hour Transit Visa Exemption?

For those travelers who just layover in Beijing, you don’t need to apply for a China Visa in advance. If you want to leave the airport, you can apply for a 144-Hour Transit Visa upon arrival. Before applying for it, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • I. Must be citizens from one of the 53 eligible countries specified, and hold valid international travel documents certifying their nationality and identity;
  • II. Must have a valid passenger ticket for connecting travel (including an airplane ticket, ferry ticket or train ticket), to a third country or region.

After document examination and verification is conducted by the border authority at the port of the airport, applicants who meet the above requirements will be issued with a temporary entry permit which will enable them to enter and stay in Beijing for 144 hours according to regulations.

The 144-hour visa-free transit policy shall apply to the following 53 countries:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Monaco, Belarus, United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

3. Luggage Storage in Beijing Capital Airport

Terminal 2

The left-luggage counters are near gate 9 in the arrival hall on the first floor and gate 10 and gate 8 in the departure hall on the second floor.

Terminal 3

East of public space of arrival hall at 2nd floor of T3-C

West of public space of arrival hall at 2nd floor of T3-C

4. What are the transportation options from airport to city center?

Transportations Terminal 2 Terminal 3
Taxis Outside Gate 5 to 9 on F1 Please refer to the signs inside the terminal building
Airport Express B2 of T2 F2 of Parking Garage No. 3
Airport Shuttle Gate No.11 (outside) on F1 Gate No.7 (outside) on F1
Airport Bus Outside Gates No.1 to 3 on the First Floor Outside Gate No.1 on the First Floor

5. Transit in Beijing Capital Airport

Free ferry bus service is available between terminals. Here are the stops, routes and departure intervals.

Terminal 2 Terminal 3
Stops Gate 7 of arrival floor Gate 5 F1
Route Gate 7 of Arrival floor of T2 → Departure floor of T3 Gate 5 of Arrival floor of T3 → Departure floor of T2
Departure interval 10 to 15 minutes

6. Airport WiFi

Free WiFi is available at Beijing Airport. Connect to the “AIRPORT-FREE-WiFi” network. You will receive your confirmation code via SMS.

Workstations with internet access are available at the Business Center in Terminal 3, Airside.

7. Money Exchange

Terminal 2

The foreign exchange counters of Hang Seng Bank and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China can be found at the public area on the first floor, International Arrival Luggage Hall and Restricted Area on the second floor.

Terminal 3

  • C Departure Hall on the fourth floor
  • West exit of International Luggage Claim Hall
  • International Arrival Hall’s Public Area

8. Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Beijing

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Beijing from PEK

Name of Tourist Attraction Distance(from airport) Recommended visiting time Why visit here? How to get here?
The Forbidden City 30km (1 hour drive) 2 hours Imperial palace for 24 emperors. Take Airport Express and get off at Dongzhimen Station; Transfer line 2 and get off at Jianguomen Station; Transfer Line 1 and get off at Tiananmen East Station, leave from Exit B .
Tiananmen Square 30km (1 hour drive) 1 hour It is regarded as the symbolic center of Chinese politics. Take Airport Express and get off at Dongzhimen Station; Transfer line 2 and get off at Qianmen Station; leave from Exit A.
Wangfujing Shopping Mall 30km (1 hour drive) 2 to 3 hours The biggest shopping mall in Beijing. Airport Bus and get off at Jinbao Street
Hutongs 30km (1 hour drive) 1 hour The best place to interact with locals and experience their lives. Take Airport Express and get off at Dongzhimen Station; Transfer line 2 and get off at Guloudajie Station; Transfer Line 8 and get off at Shichahai Station, leave from Exit A2.
Temple of Heaven 33km (1 hour drive) 1.5 hours A public park where lots of local people do their morning exercise. Take Airport Express and get off at Dongzhimen Station; Transfer line 2 and get off at Chongwenmen Station; Transfer Line 5 and get off at Tiantan East Gate Station, leave from Exit A2.
Summer Palace 39km (1 hour drive) 2 hours The best preserved and the largest imperial garden in China. Take Airport Express and get off at Sanyuanqiao Station; Transfer line 10 and get off at Haidianhuangzhuang Station; transfer Line 4 and get off at Beigongmen Station, leave from Exit A1.
Mutianyu Great Wall 65km (1.5 hrs drive) 2 hours The only section with a cable car, chairlift, and toboggan attached. There is no subway or shuttle bus, the best way is joining in a tour group.
Juyongguan Great Wall 65km (1 hour drive) 2 hours The nearest Great Wall from the airport, but cable car is not available.

9. Lounges and hotels in Capital Airport

Lounges In Terminal 1&2

  • Rest room for honorable guests (the public region of the hall – red carpet)
  • BGS Rest room for the first business class
  • Rest room for mother and infant (northern side of No.25 boarding gate of the domestic isolation region)
  • Gotone club of China Mobile
  • Honorable guest room of China Unicom of airport
  • Time rest room
  • Phoenix rest room

Lounges In Terminal 3

Style 1

It has hotel-like leisure places with single rooms, standard rooms and other service facilities, where you can forget exhaustion, enjoy TV programs or movies, and relax yourself during your moment of leisure.

Location: West of public space in Arrival Lounge at 2nd Floor of T3-C

Style 2

It provides a complete set of hotel service, including a hotel-like pay lounge, small-scale conference service, business leisure service, multimedia & reading area, coffee bar, foot care, massage, bath, facial beauty, and hairdressing.

Location: East of International Departure Lounge of T3-E

The most recommended airport hotels.

Those hotels have a free shuttle bus or private airport transfer service. Please kindly contact the hotel for details.

Hotel Name Hotel Rating Distance from the Airport Phone Number
Hilton Beijing Capital Airport 5 star Terminal 3 +86-10-64588888
Crowne Plaza Beijing International Airport 5 star 9km (14 mins drive) +86-10-58108888
CITIC Hotel Beijing Airport 4 star 4km (6mins drive) +86-010-64565588
Ji Hotel (Beijing Capital Airport) 3 star 4.5km (6 mins drive) +86-010-84166556

10. Travel with kids (Terminal 3)

The children’s playground by the Boarding Gate C09 is themed on automobiles.

The children’s playground by the Boarding Gate E21 takes “panda”, known as China’s National Treasure, as its theme.

11. How many hours before the flight we should get back to the airport?

We suggest that you should get back to airport at least 3 hours before your flight departure.

12. Recommended Beijing Capital Airport layover tour packages

You can get around easily in Beijing, as the public transportation system MTR (subway) is very convenient. But if your layover time is limited, we suggest that you take a private tour to make best use of your time.

When you are planning your layover time in Beijing Capital Airport, please kindly note that you may need 1.5 hrs to 2 hrs to go through Customs and Immigration. And you need at least 1 hour to drive to the city center, it will be 2 hours for a round trip transfer.

If your layover time is less than 6 hours

We suggest that you stay at the airport, find a comfortable lounge, and just relax.

If your layover time is from 8 to 10 hours

We suggest that you take a city tour to see the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

If you have 12 hours for layover

We suggest that you take a Great Wall tour with Ming Tombs.

If you have 1.5-2 days

We suggest that you take the city highlights and a Great Wall tour. See our sample tour here.

If you have 3-5 days

A full Beijing history and highlights discovery tour will meet your needs.

By Michael Hu
Co-Founder
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