China is becoming not only a business hub for foreign investment but also a tourist destination. If you are traveling to the capital city of Beijing, China, consider using the Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).
Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), is the capital’s main airport. It is also the second busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger numbers, serving over 90 million passengers. In terms of cargo traffic, it comes in at number 13.
In total, the airport has three terminals. While terminals 1 and 2 are not as modern as such, terminal 3 is a masterpiece of the architecture industry. Terminal 3 is also the second-largest terminal by size and the sixth-largest building in the world. In 2017, it ranked second in the busiest airport terminals in the world.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed in a busy airport like the PEK. But it should not discourage you from using the airport for your next trip.
To make it easier for you, we have compiled the ultimate guide to get you moving comfortably through the airport. The guide will show you how to get to and from the airport. It will also show you the available lounges for you to relax, the shops for those souvenirs, as well as the transport modes within the airport.
Location – How to get to PEK and leave
PEK is located in Chaoyang District, 32 km northeast of the city center.
One way to get to and from the PEK is by taking a cab. There are four express tollways to get to the airport, with two of the roads running directly from the airport to northeastern Beijing.
It is vital to have the details of your destination printed out in Chinese in case you get a cab driver who does not speak the English language.
The second mode of transport to and from the airport is through rail. Capital Airport Express operates as part of the Beijing subway and runs through terminal 2 and 3 to the city. A one-way trip will take around 16 to 20 minutes.
Alternatively, there are airport buses available that serve various routes within the city and the three terminals. However, these buses do not accept cash. You’ll need a paper ticket to use the bus.
These tickets are available on the first floor of every terminal and various stops within the city. Some of the cities where you can catch these buses include Baoding, Tianjin, Tangshan, and Langfang.
Car rentals are also available at the PEK airport. You can purchase a car rental at the entrances of Terminal 2 and 3, where rental desks are located. If you are using terminal 1, the car rental desks are accessible at the information desks on the first floor, between Gate 1 and 3.
For movements within the airport, you can use the shuttle. The shuttle buses operate 24/7. From 6 am to 11 pm, they arrive every ten minutes, and from 11 pm to 6 am, they arrive every 30 minutes.
Benefits of Traveling via PEK
For starters, the airport operates 24/7, making it accessible at any time of the day. Also, some shops and lounges run throughout the day. It’s easy for you to get rest if you’re feeling tired; on the contrary, you can check out some cool souvenirs and shop while you await your flight.
The airport is also strategically placed, at 32 kilometers from the city center., There are several options to get you to and from the city center in time.
Another benefit of traveling via PEK is the chance to experience the Chinese culture, without leaving the airport. There are tea shops, artistic shops, and spas to check out within the airport.
Things to Do and See at the PEK Airport
While here, one of the things to do is to enjoy the array of shopping options at your disposal. Get all those souvenirs needed back home from the many shops. Also, don’t forget to sample the local cuisine.
For passengers using Terminal 3 who have a few hours to kill before their flight, the garden is excellent for you to sit back and unwind. The garden has fishponds, and you can feed the fish between 9 am and 3 pm when the airport security is around with fish food.
If your layover takes almost a whole day, then take this opportunity and explore the city of Beijing.
Alternatively, you can stay within the airport’s vicinity and break a sweat. At the Hilton Beijing Airport Hotel, you can pay to use their fitness center, the spa, or even their heated swimming pool. The good thing is that there is a service shuttle that runs between the airport and the hotel 24/7. So, you shouldn’t have trouble making your flight as long as you keep track of the time.
Parking services are available in all three terminals. In case you forget where you parked, no need to worry. Garage 2 and 3 offer finding services 24/7. The airport also has wheelchair parking near Terminal 1 at Garage 5.
Airport Hours of Operation
The airport is operational 24/7. For transport within the airport, the shuttle buses operate 24/7.
Airlines that Operate at PEK
PEK is the hub for Air China, Hainan Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and China Eastern Airlines. It also serves many other airlines, both domestic and international. Below are some of the major passenger airlines that operate at PEK:
- Air Canada
- Air France
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Delta Air Lines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- Qatar Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
- Swiss International Air Line
Shops & Restaurants
The PEK airport shops and restaurants are not to disappoint, especially for anyone looking to experience the Chinese culture. But this is not the only culture to experience here since you can enjoy fast foods, formal dishes, and western dishes as well as something for your sweet tooth. There are a total of 72 stores for you to choose from!
Apart from enjoying the array of cuisines, the airport also has a commercial area where there are banks, internet services, forex bureaus, book stores, nursing rooms, free charging powers, and dressing rooms in all the three terminals — and these aren’t the only amenities.
The Beijing International Airport is not one to disappoint if you are looking for a place to relax. While waiting for your flight, then the below lounges are at your disposal:
BGS Premier Lounge
This lounge is inside Terminal 2 and 3, past the security..
The lounge at Terminal 2 charges $29 per traveler while the one at Terminal 3 charges $44 per traveler.
The lounge at Terminal 2 is open from 5 am to 2 am every day of the week. The lounge at Terminal 3 has varying hours of operation. From Monday to Wednesday and on Saturdays, it is open 24/7. On Thursdays and Fridays, it is open from 12 am to 2 am and from 5 am to 12 am.
With both, you will get two hours of access. The lounges offer free WiFi, showers, snacks, premium food, and drinks. From here, you can relax and still keep tabs on your flight using their flight monitors.
ICBC VIP Lounge
It is located inside Terminal 1 past security. It is open from 6 am to 10 pm throughout the week. Some of the complimentary amenities include snacks, TVs, internet terminals, and WiFi.
For anyone who is connecting flights and has a couple of hours to kill, the BCAT Lounge is ideal. It’s a great place to get some shuteye. You will pay an additional cost at the front desk, but this gives you at least 19 hours of access to their private nap rooms! It’s located inside the security of Terminal 3E and is open 24/7. Unfortunately, it is only accessible to international passengers using Terminal 3E.
Complementaries include flight monitors, WiFi, premium food, TVs, and snacks.
The airport has free WiFi available to all passengers. If you have a Chinese mobile number, you will receive a user ID and password via a text. If you don’t, you can ask for the user ID and password from the information desks or scan your passport at the self-service machines.
Alternatively, get yourself a portable WiFi router, which is especially convenient if you are staying in China for a while. It can even be delivered at the airport in case you left home without one.
If you are planning a trip to China, then Beijing International Airport is an excellent airport to choose from. From here, you have access to the city center and other stops in the city using cabs or bus shuttles and you can also experience some of the famous Chinese cuisines right from the airport.
There are free WiFi and a commerce center, which makes it possible for you to catch up with your loved ones or business deals.
You’re sure to enjoy this airport. What are you waiting for? Go plan a trip!