The first time I used the tube in Beijing was in 2001 when I felt very adventurous and went to the ticket desk with a huge map and pointed at Tiananmen Square. The lady behind the counter couldn’t see anything as the letters on the map were too small for her to read, and I couldn’t pass the map to her as the glass partition had just a small hole, just big enough for coins. Someone from the queue which formed behind me, with good English and perfect Chinese stepped in and asked for return tickets to Tiananmen Square Station for me.
The last time I used the tube in Beijing was in 2009 and there were no embarrassing moments as there were ticket machines with clear instructions in English and Chinese, but there is usually a ticket desk too in case of problems.
The tube in Beijing was reborn for Beijing’s Olympic Games in 2008 and is very a efficient, fast, clean and cheap way to get around Beijing.
It costs a flat fare of RMB2 to use the tube, you can buy tickets with cash or buy a Yikatong IC card. means “one card pass” in Chinese. It is similar to the Oyster Card used by TfL in London and is like a credit card for travel that you ‘top up’ as you use it. In order to get a Yiktong card you need to pay a deposit of RMB20 plus RMB100 for the travel itself, and you can top this up at subway stations, railway stations, most post offices in Beijing. When you leave, you get your deposit back.
There are 7 subway lines in Beijing, Lines 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 13 and the Batong line. The longest one is line 1 which runs through the core of Beijing, and below you can find a list of tourist attractions on the line going from east to west, with the main ones between stations 14 and 16:
Station 1: Ping Guo Yuan – Apple Park
This is the starting point
Station 2: Guchenglu – Ancient City
Station 3: Bajiaoyouleyuan – Bajiao Amusement Park
Attractions nearby: Bajiao Amusement Park, Shijingshan Amusement Park, Songlin Park
Station 4: Babaoshan – Babao Mountain
Attractions nearby: Laoshan Cycling Velodrome
Station 5: Yuquanlu – Yuquan Road
Station 6: Wukesong
Station 7: Wanshoulu – Wanshou Road
Station 8: Gong Zhu Fen
Attractions nearby: Cui Wei Tower, Beijing Urban and Rural Trade Center
Station 9: Military Museum
Attractions nearby: Military Museum, CCTV, The China Millenium Monument
Station 10: Muxidi
Attractions nearby: Baiyun White Cloud Taoist Temple
Station 11: Nanlishilu – Nanlishi Road
Attractions nearby: The Ministry of Radio and Television
Station 12: Fuxingmen
This a big transfer station for Lines 1 and 2.
Attractions nearby: Commercial Street – banks and hotels
Station 13: Xidan
Attractions nearby: Xidan commercial street, Xidan Book Store, Beijing Capital Times Square
Station 14: Tiananmen Xi – Western Tiananmen
Attractions nearby: Great Hall of the People, Forbidden City
Station 15: Tiananmen Dong – Eastern Tiananmen
Attractions nearby: Great Hall of the People, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, China Museum,
Station 16: Wangfujing
Attractions nearby: Wangfujing Steet
Station 17: Dongdan
Attractions nearby: Dongdan Commercial Street
Station 18: Jianguomen
Transfer station for Lines 1 and 2.
Attractions nearby: Beijing Ancient Observatory
Station 19: Yonganli
Attractions nearby: Silk Market, Guiyou Mansion
Station 20: Guomao
Attractions nearby: Soho Jianguo,
Station 21: Danglu – Dawan Road
Station 22: Sihui
Transfer station for Line 1 and Batong Line (Tongzhou District).
Station 23: Sihuidong – Eastern Sihui
Transfer station for Line 1 and Batong Line (Tongzhou District)
Little secret tips:
– A ticket entitles an adult to take one child whose height is less than 1.1 meters (3,6 feet) free of charge. Children less than 1.1 meters (3,6 feet) in height are not allowed to take the tube alone.
– The first train is at 05:00, and the last is at about 23:00.
– Wear comfortable shoes when using the tube.
– Take a bottle of water with you
– Stay alert and watch out for pickpockets – as you would do at home.