Beijing for 8 hours – Would you like a ni hao with that?

Sydney to Beijing 5560 air Miles, total flown: Bibble

Continuing our trans global commute from Zurich to Montreal, we are in Beijing for 8 hours from take off to landing. touchdown was at 5:40 am, takeoff was 13:30 pm.

Step 1: Get finger printed by the Chinese government to see if I have any priors. Getting an “OK” from the the government I was allowed to move on to:

Step 2: A 24/48/144 hour visa application process. If you arrive in China with out having gone through the usual pre-trip visa application process, you can, if you come from the right countries, apply for a one, two or six day free visa. The whole process takes about three minutes so you wonder why, but it is China and you are now in their database. Once you have been granted the temporary free visa, you move to

Step 3, the cattle pens, you now process through the standard cattle pens to immigration control where you are stamped half a dozen times and then sent on your way.

Congratulations! You have entered the People’s Republic of China!

From the passport control, you scoot down an escalator to a train that takes you to the main building, the train comes every three minutes and takes about four minutes to get to the main building where you still clear customs (commercial declaration)

PEK is a bit of a weird airport in that a lot of customer facing positions are staffed by people who don’t speak English. Left luggage was one as I tried to leave my R2 unit while I toured in the city but after five minutes of wtf, I have up and decided to take it with me to the forbidden city,

You then proceed to the city metro. Technically, it is part of the metro but from a ticketing perspective it is an airport shuttle and the ticket you buy only takes you to the “rest of the metro / subway” where you have to buy a ticket to where you want to go.

All you have to do is follow this simple map to the forbidden city

I’ll make it easy: take the airport line until it ends, go buy a new ticket for the forbidden city (4 RMB, about fifty cents), take the escalators to the blue line (line 2). Proceed to the trains on the right side and go three stops to the red line (line 1) and go 3 or 4 stops to Tianamin Square. The square is huge and has two stops. My advice, go the extra stop as everyone gets out on the first one.

From this point on the square and the forbidden city are well marked and when you come out of the metro you get your first Mao

Come early they said, beat the crowds they said!

The hall of supreme harmony (closed) which made me unharmonious

Check out some furniture

Does anyone here know the emperor personally?

This guy does. He is an actual relative of the last Chinese emperor Aisin Gioro (Henry) Pu Yi.

Enjoy the gardens

Check out the view

Have a cuppa

And return to the airport

I will let you know that the airport at Beijing takes time, it is not Zurich or Changi. Once again, English is a not oft spoken language at the airport, so check in can be a chore.

Secondly, there is an exit stamp to your passport, then you need to clear two levels of security,

Note: the Chinese inspect more than anyone else: it is not just computers and the liquids. Power packs, just about every cable, liquids, all cameras, your phone, just about everything needs to be taken out of your carry on. I suggest taking a number of zip lock large bags so you can take them out and put them back with ease.

This process takes long as you aren’t clearly warned what is and isn’t going to be inspected so there are a number of double bag passes and long line ups. It took almost 25 minutes for me to get through this part, so really plan on a two hour minimum.

Oh and bring your boarding pass:

It was then off to my gate, the bus to my plane, which was actually parked in Shanghai and then off we went.

My name is 北极熊 and I approved this message


One Comment Add yours

  1. greekinsingapore says:

    Great photos Jules
    And blue sky in Beijing is virtually unheard of
    Love the shirt too


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