Beijing Metro 2021 – The Insiders Guide to the Beijing Subway System
Taking a brief look at the Beijing metro map may cause confusion… So many lines, so many colours. Beijing is a big city.And guess what, it’s getting bigger. Check it out
It’s true, when visiting a big city like Beijing it can be a bit daunting.
However, sometimes the best way to get your head around the different areas of a big city is by learning how to navigate the subway map and get your bearings from there.
Don’t fear, if a quick look at the Beijing metro map confuses you – you’ll soon get the hang of it.
It’s actually pretty efficient, easy to use, and cheap! Don’t expect prices like the London Underground!
Plus, you will probably only need to use the main few lines in the centre of Beijing if you’re visiting for a short time.
Beijing Metro – How to buy a ticket
Beijing Metro – Ticket Prices
Beijing Metro – First and last trains
Beijing Metro – Subway Lines
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Here’s some interesting information and statistics on the Beijing Metro
|Beijing Subway in Chinese||北京地铁|
|Number of Lines||23 (and counting)|
|Number of Stations||394 (and counting)|
|Entire Length of Beijing Metro||678.2 km / 421.4 mi|
|1st day of Beijing Metro||1st October 1969|
|Number of Vehicles in use||5,656 (as of 2018)|
Beijing Metro Map: Buying a ticket
The most convenient and quickest way to buy your ticket is by using the self service machines, although these may be packed in peak times and you may find yourself in a queue.
There is English and Chinese available, and if you’re not sure where you’re going you can search for your station by the line. It will then tell you how much to pay.
If you’re only using the subway once or twice, you will just pay by ride and get a one-time swipe card.
Swipe yourself in on the way in, and on your way out put the card into the barrier machine.
If you are using the subway more than a couple of times, buying a Beijing Subway card is definitely recommended.
These require a (refundable) 20RMB deposit and you can add a small (at least 10RMB) or larger amount. You can buy these from any ticket booth at any station.
They cut down queue time a lot and are very practical!
For a few days of sightseeing, around 50 RMB should see you through. You can top up these cards at the ticket booth (see above) or also at a ticket machine.
TIP – Actually these days, instead of using a card to swipe the machines with, you can get these on your phone by downloading an app! Seems everything in China can be done via those magical handsets!
👉👉👉Find out more about how to download the app here.
Beijing Metro Map: Ticket Prices
The fare prices changes according to the distance.
Prices for the Beijing metro start low, and don’t get much higher so you can get around and explore the city on the cheap.
6km or less: 3RMB
32km+: +2RMB for every additional 20km.
Beijing Metro Map: First and last train times
The Beijing subway closes frustratingly early, with very little information posted around the Beijing metro on what time the last train leaves at for which station.
However, usually the last train at most of the stations in the center open at 5:30am and finish at 11:30pm.
Stations further outside of the city may start later and finish earlier, there is usually a notice as you enter a subway station showing these times.
Be aware, especially if you are based further out the city because you may be stranded with a taxi if you miss out.
Beijing Metro Map: Subway Lines
The Beijing Metro currently boasts 394 stations across 23 lines but this number is ever growing and will not stop anytime soon!This information is relative as of November 2019
A handy Chinese app to have is the Explore Beijing Subway Map.
This useful app shows all of the subway lines, as well as having notes from other users on it about the different exits. You can also plan your way from A to B and it shows how much it will cost as well as how long it will take.
TIP – RESEARCH THE CORRECT EXIT. We cannot stress this enough. Beijing is a big city and there are many exits at some stops. Don’t think they are close. Generally they are not, or you have to navigate a huge highway to reach the other one. Research beforehand which exit you need.It will save you a lot of time!
Beijing Subway Line 1 (red): Pingguoyuan to Sihui East
A straight line that connects the city from East to West and intersects it through the middle at Tiananmen Square.
Line 1 connects further onto the Batong Line which leads into Tongzhou district.
Rumour has it that future plans hope for the Batong and Line 1 to be connected so passengers won’t have to change at Sihui to connect to the Batong Line.
The line was the first to open in October 1969 and boasts 23 stations across a distance of 31km.
Beijing Subway Line 2 (dark blue): Loop line
This line circles the centre of the city inside the first/second ring-road areas and serves major tourist areas.
It is also home to Dongzhimen station which is a transport hub connecting to the Airport Express line, as well as home to the big tourist bus station that can help take you to many areas of the Great Wall of China. Dongzhimen station also connects to line 13.
It also stops at Beijing Railway Station.
Line 2 has 18 stations in a circular loop that cross over a distance of just over 23km.
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Beijing Subway Line 3 (N/A): Currently non existent!
Interestingly enough, Beijing’s subway goes from 1-16 but misses out 3 on the way… Why?
Actually, Beijing subway’s mystery metro line 3 is currently under construction, due to be completed in 2021, but construction was first planned in the late 1990s.
It will serve the Sanlitun area and connect it better with the surrounding metro lines. Great for expats and locals alike!
Beijing Subway Line 4 (turquoise): Anheqiao North – Gongyixiqiao
A line running on the West of the city center with sightseeing stops such as:
- The Summer Palace
- Old Summer Palace
- Peking / Renmin Universities
- National Library
- Beijing Zoo
The line cuts from the south to the north and has a total of 24 stops, with one of those coming overground. The line spans over 28km long.
Beijing Subway Line 5 (purple): Tiantongyuan North – Songjiazhuang
This line cuts straight through the middle of the city, passing sites such as:
- Temple of Earth
- Lama Temple
- Temple of Heaven
The line starts in Fengtai and ends in Changping and covers 23 stations of which 7 are overground. In total the line covers almost 28km.
Beijing Subway Line 6 (brownish): Haidian Wuluju – Lucheng
This part of the Beijing underground goes through the middle of the city from East to West, from Haidian district to Tongzhou in the East.
The line is actually relatively new and yet one of the most busy due to it’s geography.
It’s final stops (which also recently changed) are now Jin’an Qiao (Shijingshan District) and Lucheng (Tongzhou District).
The line covers a huge 53km (the 2nd largest of all the lines) and navigates through 32 underground stops!
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Beijing Subway Line 7 (light orange): Beijing West Railway Station – Jiaohuachang
A fairly East-West line beginning at Beijing West railway station and heading east running parallel to the Batong line in Tongzhou before heading down further South to the outskirts of the city.
Line 7 opened in 2014, has 20 stops which span over almost 24km.
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Beijing Subway Line 8 (peacock blue): Zhuxinzhuang – Nanluoguxiang
This line starts in the Changping District through Huilongguan and is convenient for visiting the Olympic Green area.Also the final stop of Nanluoguxiang 南锣鼓巷 is a great tourist spot we recommend you visit.
It starts off in the very North, and heads down to the centre of the city.
The line opened just in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has 19 stops over 28.5km.
Beijing Subway Line 9 (light green): Guogongzhuang – National Library
This line is located in the South West of the city and is convenient for visiting spots such as the Military Museum and the Beijing West Railway Station.
The line is a little shorter than some of the others with just 13 stops over 16.5 km.
Beijing Subway Line 10 (light blue): Circle Line from Bagou to Huoqiying
An almost ridiculously big line looping the entire city centre just within or slightly over the third-ring road.
Areas of it in the North trace the Yuan-era city wall of Beijing.
In fact, this is the biggest metro line in all of Beijing with the numbers a quite ridiculous 45 stops over 57km. It effectively circles line 2.
Due to these facts, of course this is one of the busier lines in all of Beijing so treat carefully, it’s every man for himself!
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Beijing Subway Line 11 (N/A) : Under construction
This Beijing subway line has yet to be completed.
Beijing Subway Line 12 (N/A) : Under construction
Another line still under construction!
Beijing Subway Line 13 (yellow): Xizhimen – Dongzhimen
Convenient for those commuting to Xizhimen/Dongzhimen, this Beijing metro line lies in the North of the city and connects North West with North East.
The line is an effective extension of line 2 with both starting and ending stations located of the northern corners of Line 2.
The line has 16 stations (15 of which are overground) spanning across 40km.
Beijing Subway Line 14 (light pink): Zhangguozhuang – Xiju/Shan’gezhuang – South Railway Station
An odd line which is split into two completely separate lines.
The Shan’gezhuang – South Railway Station part covers Fengtai District and Chaoyang District (21 stops over 31km). Whilst the much smaller Zhangguozhuang – Xiju part covers just 7 stops over 12km and covers just Fengtai.
Line 14 effectively covers the east of Beijing, connecting North East with South West in an L shape (with a gap in the middle, making two lines).
It offers convenient access to:
- Beijing University of Technology
- Beijing CBD
- Chaoyang Park
Beijing Subway Line 15 (dark purple): Qinghuadongluxikou – Fengbo
Beijing Metro Line 15 starts North of the city in the Olympic Green area, and goes further to the North East (moreso than the airport) to the outskirts of the city in the Shunyi area. Convenient for getting to:
- Tsinghua University
Opened as recently as 2010 this line boasts 20 stops over 40km. Line 15 is the only stop (currently) to go beyond Beijing Capital Airport which is located right in the North East of the city, where many of the International Schools are based (useful if you are an English teacher, or plan to be, in Beijing)
Beijing Subway Line 16 (dark green): Bei’anhe – Xiyuan
This small Beijing subway line runs parallel to line 4 in the North West of the city.
The line opened in 2016 and has just 10 stops over almost 20km, giving a stop every 2km roughly.
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Beijing Subway – Other Lines
The remaining Beijing Metro lines are named, rather than numbered and generally serve smaller parts, of Beijing, allowing more people to commute into the city, from the suburbs.
Some of these lines are also built for tourism, the Xijiao one being a good example, covering the Summer Palace, Botanical Gardens and Fragrant Hills.Here is a brief introduction to the remaining lines
- Changping Line: Xierqi – Changping Xishankou
- Opened in 2010. Includes 12 stops over 31km.
- Useful tourist spots on this line includes the Life Science Park, Shahe University Park, and the Thirteen Ming tombs.
- Daxing Line: Gongyi Xiqiao – Tiangongyuan
- Opened in 2010. Includes 11 stops over 21km.
- Fangshan Line: Guogongzhuang – Yancun East
- Opened in 2010. Includes 12 stops over 27km.
- Yizhuang Line: Songjiazhuang – Yizhuang Train Station
- Opened in 2010. Includes 14 stops over 23km.
- Batong Line: Sihui – Tuqiao
- Opened in 2003. Includes 13 (all overground) stops over 19km.
- Yanfang Line: Yanshan – Yancun East
- Opened in 2017. Includes 9 (all overground) stops over 14km.
- Line S1 (Maglev): Shichang – Jin’anqiao
- Opened in 2017. Includes 7 (all overground) stops over 9km.
- XiJiao Line: Bagou – Xiangshan
- Opened in 2017. Includes 6 (all overground) stops over 8km.
- Beijings Shortest Metro line
Be aware, the final line (Xijiao) which translates to Western Suburban line, gets INCREDIBLY BUSY during peak hours and holidays.
I, personally, have taken this line a couple of times before and the queue goes OUTSIDE THE STATION. Take with caution and be very selective over the times you go.
Beijing Subway – Airport Lines
As of 2019, Beijing now has two airport express lines due to the opening of the impressive Daxing Airport.
Airport Express – Capital Airport (PEK)
Beijing Capital Airport Express also opened quite recently, in 2008. You guessed it, just in time for the Olympics.
The Airport Express covers both Terminals 2 and 3 before heading to Sanyuanqiao (transfer for line 10) and Dongzhimen (transfer for lines 2 and 13).
The total makes 4 stops and it covers 28km. The Airport Express costs 25RMB which is incredibly cheap, making is a really convenient way of getting from the airport to the centre of Beijing for your transfer to your accommodation.
Check out our guide to Singapore’s metro.
Airport Express – Daxing Airport (PKX)
Brand new for 2019, Daxing Airport is now the world’s biggest airport.
We’ve even seen local Chinese in the airport, without suitcases, just for the photo opportunities! Quite the day out…
Anyway, with Daxing being located in the south, the transfer from Airport to centre of Beijing is actually a lot longer and quite a bit more inconvenient, although of course, this will depend on your location.
Daxing Airport express only has 3 stops, but still covers over 41km.
The final stop is Caoqiao on Line 10, where you will connect onwards to your accommodation.
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AND THERE WE HAVE IT.
The Beijing Metro in all it’s glory. It’s a big one, and it’s changing all the time but we will do our best to keep this post up to date for you and make sure you know exactly what’s going on in Beijing.
Oh and if you are wondering how to find us on the Metro, it’s super easy. Head to DAWANGLU on Line 1/14 and do this…
Beijing Metro FAQ’s
How many metro stations in the Beijing Metro?
In total there are 394 stations as of November 2019.
How many lines in the Beijing Metro?
There are a total of 23 lines in the Beijing Metro as of November 2019.
What is the biggest line in the Beijing Metro?
Line 10, which is a circular line, is the biggest in the Beijing Metro in terms of size and number of stations.
There are a total of 45 stations covering 57.1km.
Which is the smallest line in the Beijing Metro?
The Xijiao (Western Suburban) Line is the smallest line in terms of size and number of stations.
There are 6 stations, all of which are overground spanning over 8.8km.
The line is actually incredibly busy during peak hours due to the fact there are a number of popular tourist spots on the line which include the Summer Palace, The Botanical Gardens and the Fragrant Hills.
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