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Beijing Subway

Beijing was the first Chinese city to be equipped with a subway station in 1971. By 2020, Beijing subway 30 subway lines, 391 subway stations, and cover a total route length of 1,177 kilometers. Ridership varies between 9.8 and 11.6 million per day on an average week. The Daxing line which connects Beijing's new airport Daxing airport and Beijing city was opened on 26th, Spet. 2019.

Quick Facts about the Beijing Subway

  • The Beijing Subway is the world’s second-largest subway system by route and length, following the Shanghai Metro.
  • By the end of 2019, the Beijing Subway will be equipped with automatic ticket machines that can scan smartphones for payment.
  • Subway line names: Some lines are given numbers and others are named after their terminus stations.
  • Subway logo: The Beijing Subway logo, located at subway access points, is a white 'G' with a 'B' inside it on a square blue background.

Top Reasons to Take a Subway Train in Beijing

Xizhimen, Beijing

Beijing's subway network currently has 22 subway lines, which make traveling within Beijing extremely convenient. One of the most useful subway lines is the Airport Express line running from Beijing International Capital Airport to Dongzhimen via Sanyuanqiao. Currently, some of the lines are being extended further into Beijing's growing suburbs.

The language barrier is not an issue as the signs are all in English, so you can plan exactly where you are going. Taking the subway is generally easier for tourists than taking taxis for that reason.

Taking a subway train is the fastest form of transportation in Beijing to avoid frequent traffic jams on the roads.

Taking a subway train is a great way to get to train stations. It is reliable and the subway stations are generally located so that you are instantly within the same building as the train station. Getting taxis can cause a delay and slow you down. You'll find Beijing Railway Station on Line 2, Beijing South Railway Station on Line 4, Beijing West Railway Station on Line 9, Beijing North Railway Station and Xizhimen Station on Lines 2, 4, and 13, and Huangcun Railway Station on the Daxing Line.

Beijing Subway CardBeijing Subway Card

It’s cheap! It costs 3 yuan to travel the shortest distance on one line, 9 yuan for the longest journey on one line, and 25 yuan for the Airport Express line. Passengers can also pay using a Beijing Transportation Smart Card: 一卡通(similar to an Oyster card in London or an Octopus card in Hong Kong), which also costs 3 yuan per journey. This will be deposit free in 2019, according to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press and Publication. See How to See Beijing's Top Attractions by Subway.

Travel guide about Beijing Subway

Subway Access

subway logo Beijing Subway Logo

Exits: Generally speaking, each subway stop has four exits in four directions. Passengers should choose the most convenient exit, to avoid crossing roads on the surface, by reading the signage at the crossings of passageways. Most entrances are not wheelchair friendly as they either have stairs or escalators. For those unable to climb stairs, taking the subway in Beijing is not advisable. Not only because of the bad access, but also because there are gaps between the platforms and crowding can be an issue.

Opening Times

Although the time of the last train depends on the station and line, most lines operate between 5am and 11pm with the Airport Express operating from 6am.

Crowding and Subway Etiquette

Beijing Subway Line 2Beijing Subway Line 2

Crowding on the subway is inevitable, but can be avoided. Rush hour is quite extended, and runs between about 8 and 9 in the morning, although the subway is still quite busy between 7 and 10 in the morning. In the evening, 6 and 7 are the worst times, although between 5 and 8 it is also still busy. This is especially so for the major transfer stations, which can be really hectic, especially on public holidays. For the most pleasant subway experience, avoid the subway during these times.

Understanding subway etiquette will also make your trip easier. Firstly, there is no personal space, especially during the rush hour. On several of the busy subway lines, people will squeeze into the subway trains as much as they can.

Secondly, there are no real rules to waiting for people to come off the subway before you get on the subway. Although there are arrows and lines on the ground at the platforms, people will crowd on and off how they please, so make sure that you are near the door when you have to get off if you do find yourself on the subway at rush hour, or else you may miss your stop.

Stay alert to Pickpockets

Take good care of your personal things because there might be thieves operating, especially in crowded carriages on rush hours.

Best Subway Lines for Tourists

Wangfujing Night MarketWangfujing Night Market

Line 1 is perfect for visiting the central Beijing attractions, as outlined in this article, because it goes past Tian'anmen Square. To get here, exit at either Tian'anmen East Station or Tian'anmen West Station. From here it is also extremely easy to get to the Beijing Police Museum, and to get to Wangfujing Shopping Street.

Line 2 is great for tourists as it does the whole circle within the city's second ring road. From this subway line, you can get off at Yonghegong Lama Temple Station for the Lama Temple, and get off at Nanluoguxiang or Guoloudajie Station to see the remnants of old Beijing. To get a feel for the Beijing nightlife, get off at Dongzhimen and walk west along Dongzhimen Inner Street, which is also known as Ghost Street, to experience some of Beijing's most popular night time restaurants.

Line 8 was constructed especially for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, and is perfect for those keen to visit the Olympic Park and other popular tourist attractions, albeit the line is still expanding. As it is one of the newest lines, you'll notice that is it clean and well ventilated, making the ride one of the more pleasant ones. The line will soon open at the National Art Museum Station, and goes north past various tourist sites: traditional street Nanluoguxiang Station, Hutong neighbourhood Guluodajie Station, the Olympic Sports Center Station, Olympic Green Station, and South Gate of Forest Park Station.

The Timetable of Beijing Subways

Line Stops
Airport Express T3-T2-Sanyuanqiao-Dongzhimen
Line 1 Pingguoyuan–Guchenglu–Bajiao Amusement Park–Babaoshan–Yuquanlu–Wukesong–Wanshoulu–Gongzhufen–Military Museum–Muxidi–Nanlishilu–Fuxingmen–Xidan–Tian'anmen West–Tian'anmen East–Wangfujing–Dongdan–Jianguomen–Yong'anli–Guomao–Dawanglu–Sihui–Sihui Dong
Line 2 (Circle Line) Xizhimen–Chegongzhuang–Fuchengmen–Fuxingmen–Changchunjie–Xuanwumen–Hepingmen–Qianmen–Chongwenmen–Beijing Railway Station–Jianguomen–Chaoyangmen–Dongsishitiao–Dongzhimen–Yonghegong (Yonghe Lama Temple)–Andingmen–Gulou Dajie (Drum Tower Street)–Jishuitan
Line 4 Gongyixiqiao–Jiaomenxi–Majiabu–Beijing South Railway Station–Taoranting–Caishikou–Xuanwumen–Xidan–Lingjinghutong–Xisi–Ping'anli–Xijiekou–Xizhimen–Beijing Zoo–National Library–Weigongcun–Renmin University–Haidian Huangzhuang–Zhongguancun– East Gate of Beijing University–Yuanmingyuan (the Summer Palace)–Xiyuan–Beigongmen Anheqiao North
Line 5 Tiantongyuan North–Tiantongyuan–Tiantongyuan South–Lishuiqiao–Lishuiqiao South–Beiyuanlu North–Datunlu East–Huixinxijie Beikou–Huixinxijie Nankou–Hepingxiqiao–Hepingli Beijie–Yonghegong (Yonghe Lama Temple)–Beixinqiao–Zhangzizhonglu–Dongsi–Dengshikou–Dongdan–Chongwenmen–Ciqikou–Temple of Heaven (east entrance)–Puhuangyu–Liujiayao–Songjiazhuang
Line 6 Caofang–Changying–Huangqu–Dalianpo–Qiannian Road–Shilibao–Jintai Road–Hujialou–Dongdaqiao–Chaoyangmen–Dongxi–Nanluoguxiang (Nanluogu Lane)–Beihai North–Ping'anli–Chegongzhuang–Chegongzhuang West–Baishiqiao South–Huayuanqiao–Cishousi–Haidian Wuluju
Line 8 Zhuxinzhuang-Yuzhilu-Huilongguan East Street–Huoying–Xixiaokou–Yongtaizhuang–Lincuiqiao–South Gate of Forest Park–Olympic Park–Olympic Sports Center Stadium–Beitucheng–Anhuaqiao–Guloudajie (Drum Tower Street)-Shichahai-Nanluoguxiang-National Art Museum (Opening Soon)
Line 9 National Library–Baishiqiao South–Baiduizi–Beijing West Railway Station–Liuliqiao East–Liuliqiao–Qilizhuang–Fengtai Dongdajie–Fengtainanlu–Keyilu–Fengtai Science Park–Guogongzhuang
Line 10 Xiju–Liuliqiao–Lianhuaqiao–Gongzhufen–Xidiaoyutai–Cishousi–Chedaogou–Changchunqiao–Huoqiying–Bagou–Suzhoujie–Haidian Huangzhuang–Zhichunli–Zhichunlu–Xitucheng–Mudanyuan–Jiandemen–Beitucheng–Anzhenmen–Huixin Xijie Nankou–Shaoyaoju–Taiyanggong–Sanyuanqiao–Liangmaqiao–Agriculture Exhibition Center–Tuanjiehu–Hujialou–Jintaixizhao–Guomao–Shuangjing–Jinsong–Panjiayuan–Shilihe–Fenzhongsi–Chengshousi–Songjiazhuang–Shiliuzhuang–Dahongmen–Jiaomen East–Jiaomen West–Caoqiao–Jijiamiao–Shoujingma-Fengtai Railway Station-Niwa
Line 13 Xizhimen–Dazhongsi–Zhichunlu–Wudaokou–Shangdi–Xierqi–Longze–Huilongguan–Huoying–Lishuiqiao–Beiyuan–Wangjingxi–Shaoyaoju–Guangximen–Liufang–Dongzhimen
Line 15 Fengbo–Shunyi–Shimen–Nanfaxin–Houshayu–Hualikan–Guozhan–Sunhe–Maquanying–Cuigezhuang–Wangjing–Wangjing West
Batong Line Sihui–Sihui East–Gaobidian–Communication University of China–Shuangqiao–Guanzhuang–Bali Qiao–Tongzhoubeiyuan–Guoyuan–Jiuke Shu–Liyuan–Linheli–Tuqiao
Changping Line Nanshao–Shahe University Park–Shahe–Gonghua Cheng–Zhuxinzhuang–Life Science Park–Xierqi
Daxing Line Gongyixiqiao–Xingong–Xihongmen–Gaomidian North–Gaomidian South–Zaoyuan–Qingyuanlu–Huangcunxi Dajie–Huangcun Train Station–Yihezhuang–Biopharmaceutical Industrial Base–Tiangongyuan
Fangshan Line Guogongzhuang–Dabaotai–Daotian–Changyang–Libafang–Guangyang Cheng–Liangxiang University Town North–Liangxiang University Town–Liangxiang University Town West–Liangxiang Nanguan–Suzhuang
Yizhuang Line Songjiazhuang–Xiaocun–Xiaohongmen–Jiugong–Yizhuangqiao–Yizhuang Cultural Park–Wanyuan Jie–Rongjing Dongjie–Rongchang Dongjie–Tongji Nanjie–Jinghailu–Ciqu South–Ciqu-Yizhuang Railway Station (Opening Soon)

Discover Beijing with Us

Riding on subway will enable you to see most of the interesting places inside Beijing city, but it can't get you to the famous Great Wall which are outside of the city center. You can contact us for a tailor-made tour to great wall, or you can see our guide to how to plan a Great Wall tour

Our recommended tours for inspiration:

One-Day Private Great Wall Hiking Trip at Jinshanling 1-day Hike along the Jinshanling Great Wall to enjoy the unrepaired and quite-well-preserved ruins View more
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