Best time to visit HK and Beijing

Aug 19th, 2008, 01:25 PM
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Best time to visit HK and Beijing

Hoping to visit in 2009 and I'm wondering when the best time is to visit both of these destinations? It seems the weather is pretty different from one to the other, HK is very hot in the summer and fall, whereas Beijing is hot in the summer and cool in the fall and freezing in the winter. Any advice from people who've been?
Also do you think this would be doable with a small child (visitng from the US). I'm guessing no (will have to leave the little one with grandparents most likely).

jubileefd is offline  
Aug 19th, 2008, 02:54 PM
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I think just about any guide book will help with the weather query, but the short answer is that the northern hemisphere winter is the best time to visit Hong Kong: November onwards when the humidity drops.

As for Beijing, the best time is September-October--warm days and cool evenings with relatively low pollution due to winds blowing it away. Second choice: April-May, although winds at this time of year can sometimes bring in scouring sand storms.

Hong Kong is rather easier with a small child than Beijing. Although I'm a frequent visitor to both I wouldn't take my infants to Beijing because of the appalling air, although a few days' exposure would not have any permanent effects. As with taking children anywhere, the difficulties are largely in the mind of the parents. Obviously there are several million children living in Beijing, including those of expats, and none of them ask if Beijing is 'doable'. The main issues will be whether the food is liked, and most important of all, simple hygiene: fingers must be kept out of mouths at all costs, and frequent hand-washing is essential. Pushchairs/strollers are not terribly practical in Beijing due to unevenness under foot so a carrier is a better idea; metro stations do not, for the most part, have lifts nor downwards escalators. Taxis do not have working seat belts. There's not much in the way of professional child care help or facilities for children in the overwhelming majority of hotels (notable exceptions include Beijing's Kerry Centre). I find most of this largely irrelevant, but then I take my children all over the planet and expect this kind of anomaly. But some would find any one of these items a clincher, and decide they make Beijing impossible. It clearly isn't impossible, but whether it's 'doable'. Certainly children are welcome everywhere in both Hong Kong and China, although there may be a lack of high chairs--both places are in that sense very child-friendly.

Peter N-H
PeterN_H is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 06:33 AM
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Thanks for the responses and weblinks. I guess I was wondering when the best time to visit both would be. It sounds like September or October might be the closest to overlapping "ideal" times to visit even though HK will still be hot and humid--I'd rather that then it being too cold in Beijing.
jubileefd is offline  
Aug 20th, 2008, 08:34 PM
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Iíve lived in Hong Kong almost 10 years now, and can attest that the temperatures and the humidity drop about the second week in October, and the rainfall ends; you can almost set your watch by it, generally the second weekend or so. Therefore, the second half of October would be fine in my opinion terms of nice temps but lower humidity. You could also go to the PRC first and then come to Hong Kong even later in the month to be sure to miss any lingering humidity. For Hong Kong, from mid-October until early February is the best weather all year. Christmas is really wonderful weather here and all the skyscrapers are decorated as are the stores, so it is quite festive and I think a good time to visit. Of course it is cold then in many parts of the PRC, but if you are dressed for it, perfectly fine, and quite beautiful in many ways. (The PRC is of course huge and has a large range of climates, see for temperature information). But for a typical tour like Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, etc, it would be cold but still lovely and not crowded at sights like you might find still in October. You could go to the famous ice festival in Harbin and even ski in that area, there are winter options that are interesting for the PRC. A place like Kunming is mild all year as well.

My least favourite months in Hong Kong are from mid-February and all of March. Foggy and damp. August and September are the worst in terms of rain and typhoons generally. The summers (from April through mid-October) are hot and humid, and tend toward rain, but the one thing is that the air pollution levels are significantly better, as the wind is from a different direction and you get many more days with very clear skies. If you come in November, you will have nice weather, but stand a chance of quite polluted skies where you may not be able to see across the harbour. So itís a toss up. But of course many parts of the PRC are really hot in the summer months too, I have been in the Forbidden City in June at 100 F and it is no fun I can say.

I have never understood the point of traveling with very young children (say under 5), as they wonít remember much the trip if at all, and the jet lag really affects them. I donít think a 5 year old will get anything out of a tour of the Forbidden City. Strange foods can be hard on them too, but these days even in the PRC you donít really have so much of an issue with that. But it is certainly possible if you want to do it.
Cicerone is offline  
Aug 21st, 2008, 06:44 AM
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Thank you very much for your detailed reply!
I think latter October sounds like a great suggestion.

And I think we will leave our little one at home (will only be 1 at that point..she's not born yet , so we can have some alone time and also it sounds far too straining on a child. Not the countries visited--but more due to the long flight (over 13 hours) and time difference there and back.
jubileefd is offline  
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