Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China and its political, cultural, domestic and international exchange center. It is one of the largest well-known historical and cultural cities and China's capital since the 15th century. With an area of over 17,800 square kilometers, the city is presently divided into 16 districts. The population has exceeded 17 million.

Entering and Exiting China

All foreign visitors to China must apply for a visa with a valid passport before entering China through a local diplomatic agency, consulate or other overseas offices authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China. Visitors from Taiwan may get their visas from an overseas embassy or the Hong Kong China Travel Service in Hong Kong. Hong Kong and Macao residents may enter or exit with their Inland Travel Permit or Reentry Permit.

Getting Around In Beijing

International travelers will be arriving at the Beijing Capital International Airport. See guides for international arrival and departure passengers.

There are many ways for locals and overseas visitors to get around the city, but it is recommended to take the following options:

1. Taxi

Taking taxi is a convenient choice. Fees are charged according to meter. After arrival at the airport, you should go to the taxi stand instead of accepting the services offered by some illegal drivers inside the airport's arrival hall. Uniformed traffic inspectors will be around the airport to offer help to all passengers and to maintain order. There is an indicator lamp stating 'TAXI', and a license plate starting with 'B' on the front of the car. Fare must be paid in RMB cash. It costs around RMB100 C RMB150 from the airport to most of the downtown area.

Most taxi drivers cannot speak or understand English. It is recommended to write your destination and address in Chinese so that you can show it to the taxi driver. Contact your hotel in advance to get your hotel name and address in Chinese before your departure or ask for help at the hotel concierge.

2. Subway

The Beijing Subway is the fastest and most convenient means of transportation in Beijing. It serves most of the major local points of interest within the city. The development plan (information currently available in Chinese only) will be completed and extended to cover the Beijing Capital Airport and many other areas in 2008.

3. Airport bus

If you are familiar with Beijing or if you know that there is a stop at the hotel where you are staying, airport bus is an option for you to consider. Ticket price is RMB16 only and tickets are available at all stops. See details of different routes and operation hours.

4. Car hire or limousine service

Most hotels can arrange airport pickup and send off. You may also hire a car for city tour. Check with your hotel concierge for information.

Electrical Outlets and Voltage

Electrical outlets in China can accept the standard flat blade attachment plug, oblique flat blades with ground (inverted V) and round pin attachment plug. However, outlets for rectangular blade plug can also be found in some five-star hotels. The voltage in Beijing is 220 volts.

More details about China electric outlets.

Having such a long historical background, Beijing today has two faces mixing with ancient and modern styles. The old Beijing city was carefully designed and constructed. In 1992, Beijing recommended the "World Top Ten" after the assessment of scores of specialists and scholars:

Now, Beijing is a modern and internationalized metropolis with many new office / residential buildings, department stores and signature landmarks. Also, Beijing Olympics will be held during 8 C 24 August 2008.