When would you go to Beijing?

Old Mar 17th, 2002, 12:56 AM
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When would you go to Beijing?

If you had to choose between 2 weeks at the end of August, or 2 weeks at the start of November, which would you choose and why? I've heard that summer is peak season, but I've also heard that September-October is peak season. When is the best time to go in summer and fall when the weather is ok and there aren't hoards of tourists?
Old Mar 18th, 2002, 01:42 AM
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Are those your only choices?

August could be very hot with a lot of rain (average in August is over 7 inches), and November will likely be really really cold (average is 40 degrees Farenheit) - it just depends on which extreme you're more comfortable with.

Spring and Fall are the times with the best weather - do a quick search online for "Beijing average temperatures" and you'll find a lot of sites with not only avg. temp. tables but comments on the weather.

I always recommend Fall over Spring to visiting family and friends since the Spring can be very rainy.

There are week-long holidays the first week in May and in October, which means that there will be a LOT of Chinese tourists out and about - try to avoid those two weeks if you can.

Good luck!
Old Mar 18th, 2002, 11:39 AM
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I was in Beijing in late August, early September. It was only warmish to me but I am from Texas and I don't remember it ever raining. I didn't think the amount of tourists was bad at all at that time.
Old Mar 18th, 2002, 02:51 PM
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The end of August would most likely to be very hot and humid... Winter does start around Nov there, but the beginning of the month shouldn't be too cold yet. Depends on what you're used to I guess! I was there mid Nov, and the weather wasn't too bad. Good luck!
Old Mar 18th, 2002, 04:51 PM
Peter N-H
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Beijing doesn't really get anything like as humid as the south. August is sweaty but tolerable, but November is a better choice, although a little earlier is better. Places you want to visit will be less crowded, and prices in general will be lower. Foreign visitors (negligible in numbers compare to Chinese tourists anyway) will be few in numbers, and most Chinese tourism is over after the first week in October. Nights will be cold, but days probably warm enough to be quite comfortable, although you'll probably find you want to wrap up really well.

Generally September and October are best. Quite a lot of foreign tours are schedule for this time, and, as was mentioned, the first week of October is a national holiday now--part of the government's 'holiday economics' programme to stimulate domestic spending. But then Beijing empties, pollution diminishes, and you can get around town in a cab as fast as you could ten years ago. If you go out towards the northest, to the orchard areas around Miyun, the persimmons are still on the trees, or being harvested, and small carts bring piles of the fruit to brighten up the greyness of the Beijing streets. The light in mid-afternoon is quite yellow and very horizontal, making for excellent photography of ancient buildings etc. One disadvantage of November is that the available light will be poor, and the days brief.

Spring used to be good, but the sandstorms are back. I'm in Beijing right now and in the day time it's dry and 20 degrees. The winds clear away the pollution, which will also drop a little in a few days when the heating in most buildings is turned off. Sadly we've had serious dust storms last week, with sand brought in from the northwest, and all the dust from the many building sites enveloping the city in a pall of yellow-grey. Very tough on the eyes and throat.

Summer is peak season insofar as foreigners mostly take their holidays then, so there's maximum demand for tours. But Chinese mostly remain at home in that period, so the pressure on sights, etc, is not as great as you might expect.

To avoid real travel volumes stay away during Chinese New Year, the first week of May, and the first week of October, although Beijing can be very easy to get around at these times. At Chinese New Year, though, a lot of restaurants close and most of the street food disappears, as the staff and vendors go back to the countryside.

Peter N-H

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