For onsite participants:

Beijing is a global city and one of the world's leading centers for culture, diplomacy, business, education, tourism, sport, technology and transportation. As a megacity, Beijing is the second largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai.

Combining both modern and traditional architectural styles, Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a rich history dating back over three millennia. The city has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Zhoukoudian, and parts of the Great Wall and the Grand Canal. Siheyuans, the city's traditional housing style, and hutongs, the narrow alleys between them, are major tourist attractions.


In most cases, travelers must obtain a visa from a Chinese embassy or consulate before arriving in mainland China. Start the visa application process at least one month in advance. Travel agencies can assist with applications and expedited services are available.

For the most up-to-date visa requirements, check the Chinese embassy website or Visa Application Service Center website for your home country.

A passport valid for at least six months, plus a visa, are required to enter mainland China. Visas are issued by Chinese embassies, consulates, or affiliated Visa Application Centers.

Visitors to Hong Kong and Macau usually do not need visas, but will require one for traveling onwards to mainland China.

Tourist visas allow single or multiple entries for 30 days to 6 months. Citizens of certain countries like the US and UK may qualify for 10-year multiple entry visas if they have previously visited China.

Visa applications generally require proof of return travel, hotel bookings, and a full trip itinerary.

For further details, please refer to the Visa page on the conference website.

Arriving by Air

Beijing has two international airports. Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) is closer to the city center with good public transport links. Beijing Daxing Airport (PKX) is farther from the center but also connected by public transit.

Airlines like Air China, China Eastern, and China Southern offer direct flights to Beijing from major domestic and international cities. It's also worth checking flights that arrive at neighboring Tianjin and taking the 30- to 40-minute bullet train, which runs every 10 to 15 minutes to Beijing. Indirect flights via Japan, South Korea, or Hong Kong are usually more plentiful and less expensive.

Taxis from the airports to central Beijing cost around ¥100-150 from Capital Airport and ¥200-250 from Daxing. Airport shuttle trains and buses are cheaper options. Check the airport websites for further information or inquire with your hotel regarding their transport options.

Arriving by Train

Beijing is a railway hub with direct international routes and trains to most Chinese cities. Key railway stations are Beijing Station, Beijing West Station, Beijing South Station, and Beijing North Station.

High-speed bullet trains connect Beijing to other major cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou in 4-8 hours. There is a daily high-speed train running from Hong Kong West Kowloon Railway Station to Beijing West Railway Station. Journey duration is 8.5 hours; cost varies (e.g. USD $180-$285), depending on the class of travel and date of purchase. Buy train tickets early.

Getting Around


Taxis are affordable and plentiful. Print out the hotel's taxi card (in Mandarin) beforehand, or have your destination written in Mandarin to show the driver. Only use the official taxi ranks at the airports. Refuse unsolicited offers for taxis when exiting the airport - these drivers are unreliable and expensive. Your hotel can also arrange taxis for you during your stay.

Language Assistance

Apps such as Google Translate or Microsoft Translator can assist you with verbal communication or text translation. They also have a feature that allows you to download languages for offline use. Most travel books have sections for common phrases and words.

Public Transport

The Beijing Subway is the world's busiest metro system, and is the oldest metro system in mainland China. It consists of 22 rapid transit lines, two airport rail links, one maglev line, two light rail lines, and 478 stations. It is a convenient way to travel about the city and has signs in English.

An extensive bus network also exists.

Cycling can be a good way to see Beijing, particularly the hutongs and historical areas. The city is very flat, making it ideal for getting around on two wheels but high pollution levels and chaotic traffic can often be an impediment. Bikes can be rented at many hotels or via an app.

Yikatong Card

The Yikatong card is a contactless smart card that can be used for transportation. It can be used on the Beijing subway, city buses, Airport Express trains, S2 trains, taxis, shared bicycles, and many other places. You can also apply for an electronic Yikatong via its app on a smartphone.

There are about 1,400 designated points in Beijing where you can buy a Yikatong or get a refund for it. These points are mostly located in subway stations as well as certain bus stations, convenience shops, banks, and Beijing Capital Airport (T2).


The national currency is the yuan (¥). Most major credit cards are accepted in shopping malls and international hotels and restaurants. While it is still possible to make cash payments, China is fast becoming a cashless society. Most Chinese use mobile payment systems such as WeChat Pay and Alipay to pay for all goods and services, including street market and other small purchases. WeChat has partnered with major international credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, to allow foreign visitors to add their credit cards directly to their digital wallet on the WeChat app. The Alipay app functions as a prepaid credit card onto which foreign visitors can add funds from an international credit or debit card and then use it on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Internet Access and VPN

Before you travel to China, we recommend subscribing to a virtual private network (VPN) service and installing their apps on your smartphone, laptop, and tablet computer. Mullvad (Sweden) or Proton VPN (Switzerland) are excellent choices. Alternatively, you can use your own university or business VPN.

You'll need a VPN to access most Western sites or services. Apple maps can easily be accessed but Google maps only works with a VPN. Skype can still work without a VPN.

Free Wi-Fi is available at most restaurants, cafés, and hotels.

Mobile Phones

China operates on the GSM network so most cell phones brought overseas will work with a local SIM card. You can purchase a SIM card at the airport or at local shops. China Unicom, China Telecom, and China Mobile are the main network providers.

Check with your phone carrier regarding overseas roaming coverage in China; it may be more convenient than trying to switch SIM cards in Beijing. Some carriers, such as T-mobile, provide unlimited international texting.

Electrical Appliances

The electrical system in Beijing operates at 220 volts AC and 50 Hz. The standard socket/plug used in China is also common in Australia and New Zealand, so a plug adapter or converter is needed. Most hotels ranking above 3 stars in China provide electrical outlets of both 110V and 220V in the bathrooms, though in guest rooms usually only 220V sockets are available.

Opening Hours

Most shops and attractions are open daily from 8 or 9am until the evening, anywhere between 6 to 10pm. Many close for a few hours in the afternoon. Check opening hours in advance, as these can vary. Nearly all sights, stores and restaurants are closed on Mondays.


The long-range weather forecast for Beijing from July 8-11, 2024 calls for typical hot mid-summer conditions with highs of 30-35°C (86-95°F) and lows of 22-25°C (72-77°F). Humidity will be muggy around 70-80% on average. UV index values are forecast to be very high, at 9 or above. Air pollution may range from moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups on hazy days. Overall, the weather will be hot, humid, potentially stormy with poor air quality at times. Sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses are recommended and it's best to avoid being outside during midday hours.

Recommended Travel Resources

- Wikitravel Beijing:

- Visit Beijing website:

- Beijing Capital Airport:

- Beijing Daxing Airport:

- DK Eyewitness Top 10 Beijing:

- Lonely Planet China: