Beijing in august.(9 Posts)
Looks like dd is going to Beijing in august for a couple of weeks. I've never been to China and have no idea what she should expect.
Google tells me it will be fairly hot and possibly wet. Are there any cultural considerations she ought to take into account for clothing? How expensive is it for meals, snacks, etc?
She should expect it to be stiflingly hot. Also very crowded. The Chinese flock there in the summer. We went in October and it was still crowded. Takes ages to get into Tianamen Square for example. The tour groups are enormous and have guides that bellow through megaphones. They also tour the main sites in record time. Speed sight-seeing. Take time and look at things properly. An umbrella and lightweight mac may be useful.
The guides told us that the Great Wall gets to 40C in the summer. It gets really hot before it rains. Smog can also be a problem in the summer. Remember the problems with the Olympics? There are no particular cultural issues. The Chinese wear what they want and shorts and tops are ok for day-wear. Just take a cover up for temples. I would also wear a skirt or trousers if going to a temple.
The Wall at Jingshanling is best. Ultra crowded sections nearer to Beijing. Also, get the train to Xian. I would not stay 2 weeks in Beijing. Lots to see there if she can do it.
It is cheap to eat except for the rip off restaurants serving Peking Duck. Street restaurants used by the locals are about £2. There are so many restaurants to choose from too. The wealthy Chinese pay for very good restaurants!
Thanks for all the info. Dd is very excited. Shes going to be meeting someone who works out there quite a bit and he's said they'll go see the wall and forbidden city
She'll have a great time, lots to see and do. Definitely don't stay in Beijing the whole time though - its cheap and easy to travel by train and lots of routes have bullet trains now (e.g only 4/5 hours between Beijing and Shanghai). Or she can get the sleeper train which is really cheap and quite fun (you get a bunk bed) - lots of information on sites like travelchinaguide if she will need help on routes/buying tickets etc. In August I'd recommend Hangzhou or Suzhou, both really nice cities and not too hot. I used to live in Suzhou - it's only 45 mins from Shanghai on the bullet train so she could easily do both places over a couple of days. People tend to be pretty helpful and certainly in the bigger cities young people will speak some English so she doesn't have to worry about getting stuck or lost! It's also a very safe country to travel around crimewise (just be careful with traffic etc).
For Beijing itself, there aren't any particular considerations. I've not been in August, the hottest I've been was July but I found it fine - it's not as bad as the south because it's drier. Most girls carry umbrellas (uv proof) which helps - they're for sale everywhere. Shops and restaurants etc are all open really late especially when it's hot in the summer so everything tends to come to life after dark. Clotheswise, wear whatever she feels comfortable in, no problem at all, but as pp said I'd take a cover up for temples just so she doesn't feel uncomfortable (there'd be no problem getting in though).
Food is really cheap and delicious - only a problem if she's vegetarian really. Just avoid the tourist trap kind of areas for food (it's not bad per se you just miss the best stuff!). Street food is cooked fresh and very hot so usually fine. I'm sure her friend will know where to go if they visit regularly.
Like pp said the bits of Great Wall near Beijing are crap - well worth taking a day trip further out. There used to be a great one from Beijing Downtown backpackers hostel but idk if they still run it (it's been a few years)... worth a google though to see if they do.
That's it really, hope she enjoys herself!
It will be v hot and polluted - something to bear in mind if she is asthmatic. The Chinese dress casually - jeans/shorts with t-shirt and trainers will blend in well. Chinese people are friendly and welcoming to foreigners. If she looks western, she will be approached by people wanting to practise their English. She needs to watch out of the usual tourist scams you get in any city all over the world. Also, China has a restricted internet and many sites are blocked - Facebook, Google etc. Hope she has a fun time!
I live in China and it will be very hot then and pollution is bad in Beijing and agree with previous posters re uv umbrella - makes a huge difference.
High speed trains are excellent in China and would definitely use the opportunity to explore other cities - Nanjing is about 4 hours by train and xi'an is a great city - warriors, goose pagoda, Muslim market, cycle on the city wall etc.
There's a website called seat 61 or man in seat 61 which gives train travel advice for many different countries - really informative.
That's useful to know that facebook isn't accessible. I had no idea and normally if she's abroad without me it's how we keep in touch.
Communjcation providers are restricted by the Government there. They have their own systems for their own people. I think you can text though.
Wechat is an ideal way to keep in touch in China. It's free and you can use it to send photos, messages and for phone calls and video calls.
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