Plane Spotting Beijing

Langham Place
Must now rate as one of the worlds top ten airport hotels for aircraft spotters.
Location: *** This new hotel is bound to become a firm favourite for Beijing 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.

We have received numerous recommendations from spotters of the value of the club suite. For an extra payment you get a high level room along with free breakfast (a full english and also large buffet spread), drinks, snacks and a 2 hour happy hour in the evening with alcoholic beverages and light meals included. This actually has the potential to pay for itself as in theory you will not need to spend money on food through the stay.

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 Beijing Spotters Photos of Langham Place, Beijing Capital Airport, Beijing
General Overview from room 6007 at Langham Place (double click picture for full size)  Although views are not as good if departing towards the hotel, shots like this can be had of slow climbers departing the nearest runway. 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.

Prices can be found through the following websites AGODA 

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

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Beijing_sino Hotel spotting Beijing Airport Plane spotting tips China

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….  ……As well as cargo traffic landing Runway 36L (285mm zoom). Credit Tis Meyer

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
  • PSHcom

    Video footage from The Langham Place.

  • Bailey

    Langham Hotel was great and highly recommended but you could only shoot from the room from sunrise to midday. After that cross into the park and over to the famous mound but beware that even in winter you can have problems with heat haze from there. From midday to sunset you may have to consider the Hilton Hotel opposite. No problem getting a 72 hour transit visa on arrival which many passports qualify for.

  • Jate Vej B

    CITIC Hotel Room 944 taken 04-APR-2015

  • Chris Mahaffy

    i have just spent a week in the Langham ,,,I had room 6009 on the club floor. The hotel is superb,,,the view is superb

    the only thing that was not superb for the first 2 days was the mist/pollution/fog where I cold see nothing and almost left, it being pointless being there…then it poured down heavens hard and we had two cloudless days…..brilliant….the club floor is well worth it coz in afternoons the sun is in the correct position to shoot stuff landing on 01 (the back runway) from the club while having a few beers,,BUT,, A WORD OF WARNING the glass in the windows is optically impure,ie. is not optically flat and so one must try to shoot at 90 degrees to the glass and not at an angle..but one gets better at it with practice..I shot 6000 pics in a week…highly enjoyable,,,and SUPERB sashimi….

    chris mahaffy

  • Wayne Morris

    I recently spent a couple of days at the Langham Beijing Airport. I had emailed the hotel in advance and was very pleased to have been allocated room 6007 on the club floor. Great views to be had from this room. I could even see the famous mound in the park over the road. The airport is very busy and very interesting between 0001 and 0200. The club rooms are highly recommended – the club lounge is accessible 24 hours, so a nice to know cold beer is never far away. A big Thank You to my next door neighbour, Chris Mahaffy. for supplying me with lists of the more interesting arrivals due.

  • Andrew Whitmore

    anyone got updates for
    Beijing hope to stay at the citic and get east facing room a lot seem to land on 36 so details of anyone staying recently please email me directly
    also after my trip in oct 18
    onto japan
    haneda hotel in town as going with my other half
    any updates with rooms spotting be great
    sorry if this messages cross with othrs reading them also soon

  • Paul Draper

    I recently visited this hotel (November 2018) and advise that it has changed it’s name from Langham Place to Cordis. The hotel is still excellent with friendly staff and clean amenities, however, upon this rebranding the Club floor no longer exists and so is no longer available for food and beer. Airport terminal T3 is a brisk 10 minute walk away where there are food outlets and a deli selling cold canned beer and other quick foodstuff. T3 is connected to T2 and T1 with a free shuttle where there are other similar outlets. Rooms 6033 to 6007 odd numbers overlook the lake and runways 36L and 36R and this is the view that you want, even numbered rooms overlook the approach to runway 01 but you cannot see any aprons due to the terminal buildings. There are, however, 2 lift areas with large windows opposite rooms 6033 and 6019 which have a view to the 01 approach so the these rooms are best, I had room 6015 which needed an extra 20 steps to get to the lift area window whenever an aircraft approached, SBS is required to tie up most aircraft, but the free wifi is fast with no lag on the aircraft icon to real time. I had mostly clear blue sky days and there are busy airways routes to be seen out of the lift windows, you can also see the occasional aircraft into or out of Nanyuan airport passing at around 10,000 feet.