Beijing Metro 2024 – The Insiders Guide to the Beijing Subway System
Nothing sends blood pressure skywards quite like looking at the Beijing Metro Map.
So many lines, so many colours. Beijing is a big city.
And guess what, it’s getting bigger.
Visiting a big city like Beijing can be a pretty daunting experience.
Don’t fear, you’ll soon get the hang of it. It’s actually pretty efficient, easy to use, and very cheap!
In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about all 27 lines, which ones to take for famous sites, how to buy tickets and all-important travel tips.
Let’s dive in…
Beijing Metro – How to buy a ticket
Beijing Metro – Ticket Prices
Beijing Metro – First and last trains
Beijing Metro – Subway Lines
Beijing Metro – Airport Lines
Beijing Metro – Travel Tips
Beijing Metro – FAQs
Here’s some interesting information and statistics on the Beijing Metro
|Beijing Subway in Chinese
|Number of Lines
|27 (and counting)
|Number of Stations
|490 (and counting)
|Entire Length of Beijing Metro
|836 km / 519 mi
|1st day of Beijing Metro
|1st October 1969
|Number of Vehicles in use
|6,173 (as of 2019)
|Average Daily Rides:
|10.544 million (as of 2018)
Beijing Metro Map: Buying a Ticket
Perhaps the most important thing to know about visiting China is that the country is fast becoming a cashless society.
This means getting to grips with QR codes and payment platforms like Alipay and WeChat.
If you’re unfamiliar with these, first make sure to check out our guides on:
Good news: WeChat and Alipay both now support the linking of international bank cards!
Alternatively, watch the video below for a crash course on using Alipay 👇
The quickest and easiest way to pay for the subway is to use the payment QR code on WeChat, Alipay or transport apps like Yitongxing (亿通行) – although the latter has mixed results for foreigners.
What if I don’t want to use online payment?
Don’t fret – there are still ‘old-fashioned’ ways to get your subway ticket in Beijing!
Subway stations still have ticketing machines. However, they now almost all require a Chinese ID and bank account to purchase a ticket.
That leaves you with two options:
👉 Buying a ticket from a ticket office or counter
👉 Purchasing a Beijing Transportation Smart Card
If you are using the subway more than a couple of times, buying a Beijing Subway card is definitely recommended.
These require a (refundable) 25RMB 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 can be used for the metro, trains buses and even transport in other cities!
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.
Top Tip: If you have a VPN on your phone, make sure to turn it off when using payment apps like Alipay or WeChat Pay, as the VPN can slow down the app or prevent it from working properly.
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.
Alipay for Foreigners || Big News for 2024 (How To Link Your Bank Card)
Using Alipay in China || You can now link your foreign bank to Alipay to pay for things in China. Follow this step-by-step guide to find out how.
Beijing Metro Map: First and Last Train Times
Whilst this can vary depending on the line and station, most Beijing metro services begin around 5am and continue running until around 11pm.
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 of the city because you may be stranded with a taxi if you miss out – but if you’ve downloaded Alipay, you should be able to order a taxi pretty easily through the Didi mini-app.
Beijing Metro Map: Subway Lines
The Beijing Metro currently boasts 490 stations across 27 lines but this number is ever growing and will not stop anytime soon!
|Take to get to:
|1 / Batong
|Tiananmen Square and also LTL Beijing
|2 (Loop Line)
|Beijing Railway Station and Dongzhimen Station (Airport Express Line & Great Wall buses)
|4 / Daxing
|Beijing Zoo, the Summer Palace, the Old Summer Palace and the National Library
|Temple of Heaven, Temple of Earth, Lama Temple
|Financial Street, Beijing CBD
|Beijing West Railway Station
|Universal Beijing Resort
|Olympic Green Area
|Military Museum and Beijing West Railway Station
|10 (Loop Line)
|Yuan-era city wall of Beijing
|Winter Olympics venues
|Beijing University of Technology,
Chaoyang Park, Wangjing, and LTL Beijing
|Qinghua Donglu Xikou
|National Library, Fengtai Railway Station
|Future Science City North
|Yizhuang Railway Station
|Beijing World Park
|Life Science Park, Shahe University Park, and the Thirteen Ming tombs.
|Terminal 2 / Terminal 3
|Beijing Captial International Airport
|Beijing Daxing International Airport
|China National Botanical Garden, Summer Palace
|Yizhuang T1 (LRT)
|Beijing Etrong International Exhibition & Convention Center
You didn’t read that wrong. There is no Line 3.
Line 3 was originally announced in 2005 and was meant to run from Haidian District to Chaoyang District. Construction end dates were announced for 2021, 2022, 2023 and as of early 2024, no new deadline has been announced…
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Beijing Subway – Airport Lines
Beijing now has two airport express lines since 2019 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 it a convenient way of getting from the airport to the centre of Beijing for your transfer to your accommodation.
✈️ Travelling elsewhere in Asia? Check out our guide to Singapore’s metro.
Airport Express – Daxing Airport (PKX)
Since it opened in 2019, Daxing Airport has had the title of the world’s biggest single airport terminal.
When it first opened, we even saw local Chinese people 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 the airport to the centre of Beijing is a lot longer and quite a bit more inconvenient, this will depend on your location.
Daxing Airport Express currently 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.
Brand New Beijing Airport – Welcome to Beijing Daxing Airport
The new Beijing Daxing Airport is impressive and one day it’ll be the world’s busiest, but what does it look like? Come and find out with Max and Cam
Beijing Metro – Travel Tips
RESEARCH THE CORRECT EXIT. We cannot stress this enough. Beijing is a big city and some stops have many exits. 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!
Choose your travel times carefully! Most lines will be PACKED during rush hours, as will lines to famous sights during national holidays and weekends. We’ve seen queues extend outside the station on some occasions.
Download a Chinese app to navigate the subway. We’d recommend Amap (Gaode Ditu) or Explore Beijing Subway Map. Google Maps is not to be relied on in China! There is another good app called METROMAN which is in English and includes the Metro maps not just for Beijing, but all the other key cities in China.
Using an app like Amap will show you all of the subway lines and will let you plan a door-to-door journey. It will also show you alternatives like bus, taxi and walking routes.
Explore Beijing Subway Map has the useful feature of having notes from other users on it about the different exits.
DO NOT EAT OR DRINK on the Beijing subway. It’s banned, you can get a hefty fine and trust us when we say that bao bun can wait until you get off at the next station.
Don’t try to sneak on prohibited items. You can’t get on the Beijing metro without going through an airport-style security check and trust us, they will find whatever item you’re trying to sneak on.
Banned items include everything from aerosols (yes, even your deoderant and hairspray) to inflated balloons, kitchen knives, bicycles and pets (guide dogs are an excempt).
AND THERE WE HAVE IT.
The Beijing Metro in all its 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 are in the Beijing Metro?
In total, there are 490 stations as of early 2024.
How many lines are in the Beijing Metro?
There are a total of 27 lines in the Beijing Metro as of early 2024.
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 an impressive 57.1km.
Which is the smallest line in the Beijing Metro?
The Xijiao (Western Suburban) Line is the smallest line in terms of size.
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.
When does the Beijing Metro close?
Whilst this depends on individual stations and lines, most final trains leave the terminal station around 11 pm.
Note, the Airport Express Line ends at 10:30 pm.
For most up-to-date information, we’d recommend downloading a Chinese app that will show you available metro times.
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