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Visas, travel and arrival

Find out all you need to know

I’d not been to China before and it was fantastic – I’d go back just for the food. Fourteen dumplings on campus for just a few cents! The insights I gained have been useful for my work back home, and it’s made me want to see a lot more of China.

Rachel Melrose, New Zealand Treasury, New Zealand

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, arrangements for flights, visa and accommodation are subject to changes. Please refer to your Ministry of Foreign Affairs for guidance on flights and visas.

airport welcome 2019Photo: Student helpers await to welcome LSE-PKU Summer School 2019 participants at Beijing Capital International Airport.

Visa requirements

As the LSE-PKU Summer School is less than 6 months, international participants on the LSE-PKU Summer School will need to apply for an official study visa for China (X2 visa). Once participants have confirmed their offer by accepting and paying the tuition fee they will be sent information about how to request a visa invitation letter from PKU. Once this has been submitted, PKU will provide participants (both students and professional attendees) with a visa invitation letter.

Students will then need to take these documents to their local Chinese embassy or consulate to apply for their visa. While applying for a visa is normally a very straight forward process, participants are advised to check visa application procedures with the Chinese embassy or consulate in their country of residence as early as possible. For information regarding the location and contacts of the Chinese Embassy/Consulate in your country please visit the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Please note: According to Chinese law and regulations, students must register with either an X1, X2 visa or a residence permit. Students with other types of visa will not be permitted to register.

If you have any queries about your visa, please contact us.

Travel and arrival

Participants generally arrive over the weekend prior to the beginning of the Summer School, and are advised to give themselves sufficient opportunity to acclimatise to Beijing (and the August weather) and the time-zone, GMT+8. Peking University (PKU) student helpers will be available at Beijing Capital International Airport between 8am and 8pm on Saturday 4 August to welcome participants and assist them at the airport and in finding transport to their destination. 

Registration for the LSE-PKU Summer School will take place at Peking University from 12pm to 2pm on the afternoon of Sunday 4 August so please ensure that you arrive in time for this.

Courses end with an exam on the afternoon of Friday 16 August. A farewell gala dinner is scheduled for the Friday evening and most participants then depart from Beijing over the weekend after the programme ends.

Travel to the Campus

PKU Student Helpers will be available at Beijing Capital Airport on 2-3 August 2019 to welcome participants and assist them in finding transport to their destination. The PKU Student Helpers will be clearly visible on arrival, wearing LSE-PKU Summer School t-shirts and holding LSE-PKUSummer School signs. The PKU student helpers also speak fluent English and provide a friendly welcome for anyone new to China or to Beijing.

If you are unable to meet our student helpers, here is guidance on how to get to PKU:

Taxi: This is the most convenient means of transportation for students with heavy luggage. Getting from the airport to PKU by taxi would normally take 40 – 50 minutes, and cost about 100 – 130 RMB. As most taxi drivers do not speak English, please inform him in advance if you would like to go the East Gate 北京大学东门 or the West Gate 北京大学西门  of Peking University.

Airport Shuttle Bus: The Airport Shuttle Bus (Zhongguancun 中关村 Line) has a stop outside the East Gate of Peking University 北京大学东门站, and costs 24 RMB. It runs from 6:50 am to 1:00 am (the next day) every 30 minutes.

Subway: The subway is recommended if you do not have too much luggage and arrive between 6:30am and 9:30pm. Take the Airport Express Line 机场快线 from Terminal 2 or Terminal 3, change to Line 10 at the Sanyuanqiao Station 三元桥, then transfer to Line 4 at Haidian Huangzhuang Station 海淀黄庄, and finally get off at East Gate of Peking University Station 北大东门 Exit C. The Airport Express fare is 25 RMB; the subway fare from 三元桥 to 北大东门is 5RMB. The entire journey will take about an hour.

Travel within Beijing

Peking University is situated in north west Beijing, and has its own stop on Line 4 of the Beijing Subway. The station is located just outside the East Gate of Peking University, at the intersection of Chengfu Road and Zhongguancun North Street, which is very helpful for travel to and from the campus. Again, further information
and maps for the campus and the subway will be included in the pre-departure handbook sent to confirmed participants.

Travel Card – A Beijing Transportation Smart Card 一卡通, sometimes known as the ‘Yikatong’ or ‘Metro Card’ is a contactless smart card used for public transportation in Beijing. It is similar to the Oyster Card in London, the Octopus Card in Hong Kong, the CEPAS in Singapore or the MetroCard in New York where travellers can use a single card for subway trains, the airport express train, city buses and some taxis. Travel cards are more convenient and economical than purchasing single tickets for frequent travellers. You can buy a travel card at any subway station with a deposit of 20 RMB, and can top up the card at the ticket machines or service desk (note that discounts are available on bus fares prepaid on the card, but not on the subway). It is also important to remember to swipe your card at the beginning AND end of each subway journey by passing it close to the relevant scanners/turnstiles. When taking a city bus, users should move the card close to the card reader at the bus door for payment. Usually, the card is used only once when getting on the bus (this will be clearly signposted on the bus). However, for some bus journeys where the fare is calculated by distance), it is important to swipe the card twice, both when getting on and off the bus.

Subway - The subway is the easiest and most cost-effective way to travel in the city. East Gate of Peking University Station on Line 4 is the closest subway station to the campus. Zhongguancun Station on the same line is just south of PKU on Zhongguancun Street, with Haidian Huangzhuang Station (on Line 4 and Line 10) further south. Wudaokou Station on Line 13 is about 20 – 30 minutes’ walking distance from the East Gate of Peking University on Chengfu Road.

Fares begin at 3 RMB per journey and increase depending on the distance travelled. The subway is open from 5am and the last trains depart between 10:15pm and 11:15pm depending on the station. You can find more detailed information by visiting the Beijing Subway website.

Beijing Subway Map - Chinese version English version

Buses - There are bus stops outside every campus gate with numerous destinations. Bus stops near PKU include:

  • Southeast Gate—Zhongguanyuan Station 中关园站
  • East Gate—Zhongguanyuan North Station 中关园北站
  • West Gate—Beidaximen Station 北大西门站
  • Southwest Gate—Haidianqiao North Station 海淀桥北站

Bus fares are generally cheaper than the subway, with most fares at about 1 RMB with a travel card. For more specific information on different bus routes, we recommend using where you can plan your routes by bus to different places in Beijing.

Taxis - Taxis are convenient and available 24/7. The starting fare is usually 13 RMB, and increases with the distance travelled. Rates are slightly higher late at night. Make sure that the taxi driver is licensed (the license should be displayed above the glove compartment with the driver’s name and photo). You will receive a receipt at the end of your ride. It is wise to keep the receipt in case you need to contact the driver or the taxi company. Online cab calling companies such as Didi and Uber are also available in Beijing.

Many participants take the opportunity to arrange private travel or other activities in Beijing, China or elsewhere in Asia either before or after the LSE-PKU Summer School. Given the intensive nature of the programme programme, there is little opportunity for extensive travel during the LSE-PKU Summer School. Arranging some additional time to explore Beijing and China outside the dates of the programme is consistently a top recommendation from previous participants to those considering joining the programme!