Beijing Metro Map:
Navigating the Beijing Subway
Taking a brief look at the Beijing metro map may cause confusion… So many lines, so many colours. Beijing is a big city.
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 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 has 16 core subway lines named lines 1-16, then a further 8 to add to the fun. Plus, it’s always expanding and changing… (as of September 2018)
A handy Chinese app to have is the Explore Beijing Subway Map. This handy 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.
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.
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 – Tiangongyuan
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
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
Beijing Subway Line 6: 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.
Beijing Subway Line 7: 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.
Beijing Subway Line 8: Zhuxinzhuang – Nanluoguxiang
This line starts in the Changping District through Huilongguan and is convenient for visiting the Olympic Green area. It starts off in the center very North, and heads down to the center of the city.
Beijing Subway Line 9: Guogongzhuang – National Library
This line is located in the South West of the city and is convenient for visiting spots such as: Military Museum
Beijing West Railway Station
Beijing Subway Line 10: Circle Line from Bagou to Huoqiying
An almost ridiculously big line looping the entire city center just within or slightly over the third-ring road. Areas of it in the North trace the Yuan-era city wall of Beijing.
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: 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.
Beijing Subway Line 14: Zhangguozhuang – Xiju/Shan’gezhuang – South Railway Station
Line 14 of the Beijing metro wraps around the center of the East of Beijing, connecting North East with South West in an L shape. It offers convenient access to:
- Beijing University of Technology
- Beijing CBD
- Chaoyang Park
Beijing Subway Line 15: Qinghuadongluxikou – Fengbo
Starts North of the city in the Olympic Green area, and goes very North East (higher than the airport) to the outskirts of the city in the Shunyi area. Convenient for getting to:
- Tsinghua University
Beijing Subway Line 16: Bei’anhe – Xiyuan
This small Beijing subway line runs parallel to line 4 in the North West of the city.
Other Beijing Subway lines further outside of the city center area include;
- Changping Line: Xierqi – Changping Xishankou
- Daxing Line: Gongyi Xiqiao – Tiangongyuan
- Fangshan Line: Guogongzhuang – Yancun East
- Yizhuang Line: Songjiazhuang- Yizhuang Train Station
- Airport Express: Beijing Capital Airport – Sanyuanqiao – Dongzhimen
- Batong line: Sihui – Tuqiao
- Yanshan – Yancun East
- Line S1: Shichang – Jin’anqiao
Whilst the Beijing underground system may seem a bit daunting at first, you will soon get the hang of it and be able to navigate the big city in no time!
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