Plane Spotting Beijing Capital Airport

Cordis Hotel (ex Langham Place)
Must now rate as one of the worlds top ten airport hotels for aircraft spotters.
Location: *** This hotel is a firm favourite for Beijing Capital Airport. The hotel has good views out onto the main departure runway of 36R and also landers on 36L enabling over 90% of movements to be logged. The hotel is situated on the edge of the famous park, meaning that the viewing mounds are only a 5-10 minute walk away. There is a good sports bar and Chinese resteraunt at the hotel meaning good food and beer is on hand. The hotel itself is only a short 1/4 mile walk from Terminal 3.
Spotting: *** Ask for a high lake view room and you should get a great view of proceedings, although SBS may be required to tie up all movers. An airport view room would only give views of Runway 01 and terminal 3, meaning that quite a few movements would be missed.

Lake view rooms are odd numbered, the lower the better. The photos below were taken from room 6007. From a Lake view room you get views of the busy 36R (arrivals and deps) as well as a distant view of 36L arrivals (flight tracking or powerful telescope required). A quick stroll down the corridor to the lift area will give you a view over to Runway 01, so flight tracking is essential if you do not want to miss any good movements on the back runway (note a good number, but not all of these will leave from the central runway 36R so all is not lost if you miss an arrival on the back runway.

Photos: *** See shots below. Obviously you are shooting through glass in the room, however the locals can often be found in the park mound areas which offer good photographic locations.
Value: ** Rooms start at around £80, but well worth it for the view!
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Plane Spotting Beijing Photos of Langham Place, Beijing Capital Airport, Beijing
General Overview from room 6007 at Langham Place (double click picture for full size) Airport facing room view of the Runway 01 approach (similar view from lift area on upper corridors. Credit

Video showing the general outlook from a lake view room at The Langham Place.

CITIC Hotel (formally Sino Swiss)
is located approximately 2.5 miles from the airport, and is linked by a free shuttle bus. Despite being 2.5 miles from the terminals the hotel is in a great location for spotters, as it is situated right between both runways. Runway 36R is the normal departing runway and 36L is the normal arrival runway for the older 2 terminals.  Room number 710 is said to have views of 36L, from this room aircraft landing on 36L can be easily read off and even photographed. Rooms 707-711 should offer similar views as would corresponding room numbers from the levels above. The photo below is taken from room 942 which also offers great options.

This hotel is useful for gaining photos of the more unusual traffic which lands on Runway 36L which you cannot really shoot from the mound area. The disadvantage is that you need to get the airport shuttle to the terminal and then walk out to the mound if you wish to spend time there.

Location: ***
Very good location with easy access to the terminal buildings and other well known spotting areas. If you exit the hotel and turn left , after about 15 mins walk there is a large square which has a huge wall decorated with plaques of aircraft used by CAAC, including a Trident, and is a little undiscovered gem
Spotting: *** Try get an East facing room for distant views of the vast majority of the landing traffic on 36R. West facing rooms should give photo opportunities of arrivals on 36L. If you catch the lift up to the 11th floor you will see a function room directly ahead of you. This room has English style plugs which you can use for the SBS. The view from here is good with the central runway (usually used for departures) and 36R in view. This floor is a better option when aircraft are taking off towards the hotel.

Rooms 712,812,912 1012 1112 would get you 99% of traffic with flight tracking software and a walk out into lobby.

Photos: ** Average arrival shots are possible from the room through the windows. Some room windows are reported to open far enough wide to stick a camera lens through. The example below was taken from room 942. This room is ideal as just across the corridor is a fire escape through which are views of the central and runway 36R so with SBS you can walk out of the room whenever there is an interesting arrival on the other runway. A 120-300 range of zoom is required for most airliner arrivals.
Value: *** Great value at just £47 for a twin room at weekends. Prices for a midweek stay are very similar.
Book: Prices can be found through the following websites AGODA 

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Beijing_sino Hotel spotting Beijing Airport
The above shot was taken from room 942 in the Sino Swiss which is ideal for landing shots on 36L

Credit Paul Moiser

The CITIC gives great views of passengers traffic….

For a comprehensive list of Beijing Airport Hotels please visit the site of which gives a complete list of hotels at good prices.

For an excellent guide to Beijing Airport photography and plane spotting spots visit

Posted in Asia, China, World