Top Things you Need to Know about Tianjin Layovers

Top Things you Need to Know about Tianjin Layovers
By Leon Long
China Expert

Only about 30 mins' bullet train ride from Beijing, Tianjin is one of the four municipalities. (The other three are Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing).It is the cruise port for Beijing, where all international cruises disembark at Tianjin International Cruise Home Port and you can travel to Beijing overland (180km/111miles).

It was opened as a treaty port in 1860 when the Qing Government was defeated at the end of the Second Opium War (1856-1860). Between 1860 and 1945, Tianjin was the site of up to nine foreign-controlled concessions. During this period, it became the second-largest industrial and commercial city in China after Shanghai, the largest financial and trade center in the north, as well as one of the most vibrant commercial centers in Asia. That made it the city with the greatest number of foreign-style buildings and it is often referred to as a permanent exhibition of world architecture.

Good to know: You'll probably arrive at Tianjin Binhai International Airport (TSN) by plane or at Tianjin International Cruise Home Port by cruise ship. The airport is about 13km (8 miles) from the city center while the port is 76km (47 miles). There are two ports in Tianjin, Tianjin International Cruise Home Port is the one located at Dongjiang Road, the other one is Xinggang Port, which is the old port and is not functional anymore.

1. Can I leave the airport/port during a layover in Tianjin?

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

You are eligible for the 144 hour transit visa exemption policy if you:

A. Booked a flight ticket to a third country or region

B. Hold a passport from one of the following countries:

America:The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile

Europe: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-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Belarus, Monaco.

Oceania:Australia, New Zealand

Asia:Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar

2. As an eligible foreign passenger, what should I do to apply for the 144-Hour Visa-free Transit?

It is very easy to apply for the 144 hour visa free transit, you just need 3 steps:

  • Step 1: Prepare the required documents for the 144-Hour Visa-free Transit . You need a valid passport (at least 3 months of validity) , a confirmed flight ticket to a third country after China, and a visa to the third country (if required) .
  • Step 2: When you board the flight/cruise ship to China, you should tell the agent at the airport that you are eligible for the 144-Hour Visa-free Transit in China and that you have all the necessary documents with you.
  • Step 3: When you arrive at Tianjin airport/port, you'll be looking for a specific line for those applying for a 144-hour transit visa. Normally, it will only take you 5-10 mins to get the sticker “Temporary Entry Permit” on a blank page of your passport. Then everything is done.

Good to know: Since Dec 28 2017, the 144 hours visa-free transit has been valid for Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province as a whole, specifically for these ports of entry and departure:

– Beijing Capital International Airport(PEK), Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX), Beijing West Railway Station;

– Binhai International Airport in Tianjin(TSN), Tianjin International Cruise Home Port;

– Shijiazhuang (Hebei Province): Zhengding International Airport(SJW);

– Qinhuangdao (Hebei Province): Qinhuangdao Port.

Passengers are allowed to enter and depart from any of these airports and ports.

3. What are the transportation options from the airport to the city center, bus stations, train station and to Beijing?

You can take metro, buses or taxi:

Metro: From Tianjin Airport passengers can get to Tianjin city center by Metro. Line 2 is the yellow line and has a metro station within Tianjin Airport facilities: Binhai International Airport Station. It is from 06:00 to 22:05.

Bus: Airport shuttle bus and public bus will take you to the railway station, city center and bus stations.

Taxi: Taxis are available immediately outside the Arrivals Hall at both terminals. The cost of a trip to Tianjin city center is RMB 60-80 (US$8.5-US$12).

Long distance bus to Beijing Bawangfen Bus station: Bus is available at 11:30,13:00,14:30,16:00,19:30,21:00,22:30 and 24:00, the ticket price is RM99 (US$14). It will take you about 2.5 hrs to get to Beijing.

4. What are the transportation options from Tianjin International Cruise Homeport to the city center, bus stations, or train station?

By taxi: This the most convenient way to get to the city center, bus station or train station, it is about RMB 160 (US$23) from the port to the city center. It will take you 70 mins from the city center to the port.

By bus+metro: you can take subway line #9 and get off at Shi Min Guang Chang Station and change to bus line #513 and get off at Dongjiangwan station, it will take you about 2 hrs.

5. What are the transportation options from Tianjin International Cruise Home Port to Beijing?

By taxi: it is about RMB 1200 (US$171), 2.5-3 hours' drive, subject to local traffic conditions.

By train: The closest train station is Tanggu train station, about 30 mins' drive from the port. There are only 7 trains from Tanggu train station daily. It takes you about 1 hour to get to Beijing south train station. You can also go to Tianjin train station to take a train to Beijing, there are lots of departures. It takes you about 30 mins to Beijing South train station.

By Bus: You can take a taxi to Tanggu bus station , then take bus to Beijing, the price is RMB 80 (US$12), 3 hours' drive.

By private transfer: This is the most convenient and worry-free way to travel to Beijing. It costs about 180USD per car for 1-2 people with an experienced driver.

6. Luggage storage Tianjin airport

Luggage storage is near the departure hall exit 4 of Terminal 2, the price is RMB 15 (small bags) and RMB 70 (large bags) for 0 to 4 hrs.

7. Tianjin airport wi-fi

Free Wi-Fi is available at Tianjin Airport. The service is free if you have a Chinese mobile phone number to log in with.

If you have a Chinese mobile number, the following steps will help you get on the Internet:

  • Step 1: please choose Tianjin Binhai airport Free Wi-Fi SSID: Airport Free Wi-Fi Tianjin.
  • Step 2: Launch your internet browser and key in a valid website address to access the welcome page.
  • Step 3: enter your mobile phone number and click “get code” to get the validation code via SMS.
  • Step 4: Enter the validation code and click log in to enjoy free Wi-Fi

8. Tianjin Airport Lounge and hotel

Economy class passengers can pay to enter many airport lounges.

If you want to stay in a hotel, you can choose one below:

Tianjin Binhai International Airport Hotel – (3 minutes from the airport) Located opposite the old terminal. No airport shuttle.

Crowne Plaza Tianjin Binhai – (about 9 minutes' drive from the airport) Free shuttle bus from the airport is available.

Holiday Inn Express Tianjin Airport – (about 9 minutes' drive from the airport) Free shuttle bus from the airport is available.

9. Tianjin Airport to major attractions

Name of Tourist Attraction Distance(from airport) Recommended visiting time Why visit here? How to get here?
The Porcelain House 18km 1 hour A unique museum of pottery and antiques Take metro line #3 to Hepinglu Station and get out at Exit D
Ancient Culture Street (GuWenhuaJie) 20km 1.5-2 hours Shopping for souvenirs Take bus No.605,610,611,619,632,633,641,671,804,904,908,954 and get off at Beichangjie station
Ferris wheel, Eye of Tianjin 21km 1 hour Beautiful views of the city Take bus No.34,4,607,611,640,659,673,802,841,849,863,869,878 , get off at Wuma Road station
Jingyuan 21km 1 hour A good place to learn about the life of the last emperor Take Metro line #1 to Anshandao station and get out from Exit A or D
Five Great Avenues 21km 1.5 hours This is a nice area with European style buildings from around the 1930s. Take Metro line #1 to Xiaobailou station
Dule Temple 120km 1 hour One of the oldest surviving wooden buildings in China Taxi or join in a tour group
Great Wall at Huangya Pass 150km 2 hours The Great Wall less traveled Taxi or join in a tour group

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

We recommend that you get back to airport at least 3 hrs before your flight.

11. Recommended Tianjin layover tour packages

If you have 6 hours for a tour:

You can have a city tour to The Porcelain House, Ancient Culture Street (Gu WenhuaJie) and Five Great Avenues.

If you have 9-12 hrs for a tour:

One day tour to Great Wall at Huangya Pass is recommended .

If you have two days:

We recommend that you book a flight that leaves from Beijing (PEK or PKX), so you can have enough time to visit the highlights of Beijing (Great wall, Forbidden city ). Normally, you need at least two full days to visit the most important attractions in Beijing.

If you take a cruise ship to Tianjin, normally, they'll dock at the port in Tianjin for one night and two days, so you can go to Beijing and stay one night there.

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