Transit in Beijing

Travel Forums Asia Transit in Beijing

1. Posted by s7v7nmiles (Budding Member 6 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Hello everyone,

If you have any experience about a short layover in Beijing, please share your information here.

Initially I was planning to stay at the airport lounge, but I doubted that amount of time will burn my a$$ for sitting too long. So I would like to have some suggestion about how, where to go and what to do. Any information will be greatly appreciated.

On the departure trip I will have 7 hours in the evening. Suddenly I thought that it would be a good time to get to the city for ...dinner. My past trip to China was 5 years ago and all about business. People picked me up, took me places, dropped me off. I had no idea about being independent there. Yes, I had been to Great Wall, Birds' nest, Tiananmen, Summer palace, Opera theater... My idea is just to enjoy the place that I have forgotten for too long.

I can read, type and listen to Chinese fairly well, even I can't talk, I am still able to write down to tell people what I want. Assume communication is not a problem. So, I got Didichuxing apps already. That will take me places. If you type in Chinese the address and name of places, I will be able to figure out too.

With the outfit that I already wore 24 hours before getting to Beijing, absolutely please do not recommend the Michelin rated restaurant . I will prefer the old ancient style eating on the street. A small place with live music is even better. I always love Chinese music and could even sing in this language. So the first question is, do you have any recommendation about old street food? Address?

On the return trip, I will have from 6am to 7pm in Beijing again. That is a complete business day but it is the 2nd day of Lunar New Year, I wondered all of the stores are closed? Can I still go out to enjoy the atmosphere, hm hm?I really want to go and get some ceramic small tight jar but I doubted those markets are completely closed until at least a week later. However, I know that there should be nice places for people to gather together, to take pictures and do good selfie. Do you have any suggestion? Hm hm, and I will dress nicely so this time a fancy restaurant is not a problem.

What other recommendation do you have in mind? Please feel free to let me know. Thank you and a big hug to all.

2. Posted by Andrew Mack (Respected Member 657 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

If it's 'in transit' to another airport in China then I guess you already have a visa, if not then wouldn't you need one to leave the airport?

3. Posted by s7v7nmiles (Budding Member 6 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I transit to another country and yes, it does require transit visa because I want to leave the airport.

4. Posted by bencetatil (Budding Member 5 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

In theory, most nationals dont need a visa to transit and can get a temporary permission to leave the airport. however, Chinese immigration officers dont allow a large number passenger to leave the airport. there are some reports people with 14-15 hour layover denied the entry because it was not enough time to leave the airport and return.

5. Posted by s7v7nmiles (Budding Member 6 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Quoting bencetatil

In theory, most nationals dont need a visa to transit and can get a temporary permission to leave the airport. however, Chinese immigration officers dont allow a large number passenger to leave the airport. there are some reports people with 14-15 hour layover denied the entry because it was not enough time to leave the airport and return.

A lot of people thought they don't need the Chinese visa to transit, but it is only in case they stay at the airport. When I emailed the Consulate, they pointed clearly IF I want to leave the airport, I will need the visa.
I have no idea about countries with "72 hours visa free transit".

6. Posted by cecilecutblues (Full Member 39 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Michelle says that her nationality is Vietnam on her profile and 72hours visa free program doesn't apply Vietnamese citizens. Apparently she needs visa as consulate mentioned.

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Jan-2019, at 16:50 by cecilecutblues ]

7. Posted by s7v7nmiles (Budding Member 6 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

I just want to update for who is in need in the future. This account actually linked to my email so even if in the future this topic is sunk to the bottom, please feel free to pull it back or send me a message, I will answer your question.

1. I got visa to transit in China, however, after going there, I found that this is quite not necessary. They have the counter right at the custom border to do this kind of paperwork, 24, 72 or 144 hours could be all approved there.

2. Plan where you want to go and print out the name of the places in Chinese. Chinese people are willing to help but their English might not be good enough for simple communication.

3. Subway is great. When I told the receptionist at the Information counter (2nd floor) that I wanted to get a taxi to the city, she said that it is very expensive. From the airport to the Tiananmen, it could be anywhere from RMB 100 to RMB 125 (until that day I even did not know how many RMB = 1 USD ....), well, I took the subway. The receptionist gave me the subway map, which was great, and the station is right inside the airport.

From the airport to Dongzhimen, it is RMB 25, and for all other routes, it could be anywhere from RMB 3 to RMB 7. I did not pay much attention because I went to the ZOO, it cost me RMB 4.

For your information, when I converted it to USD, I spent less than $10 for round trip airport-zoo.

4. Inside the airport (must get out of the custom), there are many restaurants. On the ground there is even hotel you can rent by hours to take a shower or a good sleep.

5. Most PEK airport employees are very nice, few are rude. When I use English to them, they talked in Chinese about me with each other like I did not know.
Chinese people in the city are nice. There was a lady, I did not ask for her name but she seemed to be well known in the area, that when I was lost to find the subway to get back to the airport, she walked me 2 blocks to find the right place.
For most of the time, I got help from local people with my limit Chinese and their limit English communication.

6. Be prepared for the weather if you plan to be outdoor a lot.

7. If you have your upcoming boarding passes and visa on hand, want to go out to the city like me, do not go to any transit service. Go straight to the custom and get out of the city. I was so nice that I went there to double check and they took away my boarding passes with no further explanation. They said that it is the rule. In the worse manner, when I lined up at the custom for my turn, the girl who checked me in at the transit counter wanted to see my visa. She called me by pointing at me like I did something really bad. They never asked me anything, just order me what to do.
It was not that inconvenient for me to check in again. However, they won't open the check in counter until 2 -3 hours before the flight schedule. This means if you found it boring or no more $ to spend outside, you can't get back to the gate area to sit there and wait.

To sum up my experience, I would conclude:
1. No more transit in Beijing airport, I'd rather cancel the trip (visit as a tourist, yes)
2. Winter in Beijing, cold is not a problem to me, but the scene is not green and you can't see all its beauty.
3. Act like you don't know Chinese but learn quite enough to communicate, you will have good laugh after all.
4. Did I say anything about the food? If you travel alone, don't order 1/2 of Peking duck...