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It took a 3-hour flight from Brussels to Moscow, a 5-hour wait and another 7h30-hour flight from Moscow to Beijing, to reach our destination. We were exhausted from the long travel and the jetlag, so we started our visit with in a very relaxed way, but first, I'll share some observations from the Beijing airport.
A quick guide to the Bejing Airport
The procedures in the airport of Beijing aren't very different from any other airport, but here's some facts you might want to know:
- In the plane you will be given a form to fill in and present at the passport control. If you haven't received one, there's many forms available just next to the control point.
- Chinese are very eager to get off the plane after landing, or if possible - even earlier. Prepare for madness as soon as the plane has touched the ground and everyone rises up to block the hallways.
- Understandingly, they're very excited once they're in the airport and this important moment should be set in stone with a selfie. Be careful not to run into the group of girls walking in front of you that suddenly decides to stop and take a selfie.
- Once you've passed the passport control, on your way to luggage pick-up, you'll pass a machine in which you can scan your passport. In return you'll get a code that give you access to the airport wifi. Take a picture of this screen, because the code will disappear even before you've had the time to go to network settings on your phone. In my experience, the wifi worked better on this side of the airport, I lost connection in the big arrival hall.
- There's several ATM's in the arrival hall.
From the airport to the center by metro
The airport express is on floor B2 (which is the same as -2). You can buy a ticket for 25 CNY before entering the station. The subway system is quite modern and there's this wonderful airconditioning system aboard. In summer, it is a relief to escape the heat and board this riding refrigerator.
The airport express has only two stops. The Dongzhimen station is the one closest to the center, the ride takes about 30 minutes. When you get off, you'll have to buy a second ticket to continue on the normal subway network. These tickets are much cheaper and cost in between 3 and 6 CNY.
You can buy your ticket from the machine, which is quite easy once you figure out how it works. Set the language to English, mark your destination, enter the number of tickets you want, and pay. You can pay in cash, but you'll need to have the right bank note (only 5 and 10 CNY are accepted). If you don't have the right bank note, you can buy your ticket from the ticket office. Show them the name of your destination if you can. It's hard to pronounce the names of the metro stations correctly and they might not understand you no matter how hard you try.
Every time you enter the metro station, you'll have to pass through a security check and your bags will be scanned for dangerous items, such as knives. If you carry water, they might also check it and ask you to drink from it to prove it's really water.
- Total flying time from Brussels to Beijing: 3h Brussels-Moscow + 7h30 Moscow-Beijing + 5h stopover
- We flew with Aeroflot and paid 388 EUR pp.
- With Brussels lying in the time zone UTC+01:00 and Beijing in UTC+08:00, there's a time difference of 6h (Summer) or 7h (Winter) between both places.
- To get you started in Beijing, you can always check out this quick guide on average prices and transportation in Beijing.
Do you have questions? Did you experience something similar? Did you notice a mistake? Please share!