Climate of Beijing
Beijing's climate is defined as “continental monsoon”. The four seasons are distinctly recognisable. Spring and autumn are the best time to visit Beijing, particularly in the months of April, May, September and October. Autumn is considered to be the best time to visit as the skies are clear and the weather is very comfortable. The four seasons are very clear in Beijing with a temperate spring, rainy summer, clear autumn, and a cold, snowy winter. The average temperature throughout the year is 11.80. The coldest month is January with an average temperature of -4.6 and the hottest month is July at an average temperature of 26.10. Unfortunately, spring and autumn are shorter than summer and winter. Although winter is technically longer, that should not keep you from traveling to Beijing as indoor heating is widely available. Nevertheless, as the indoor/outdoor temperature difference is rather large, travelers should be prepared with warm clothing and a thick coat is recommended for the colder months of the year
Geography of Beijing
The geography of Beijing Municipality is characterised by its flatness, except for hills that dominate in the north, northwest and west of Beijing. The mountains to the west are known as Xishan, which is Chinese for “Western Hills”. The city's centre is Tian'anmen, and the city spreads out in bands of concentric ring roads radiating from Tian'anmen itself. Physically, Beijing is on flat land, but is strategically close to hills and mountains, as well as plains and the sea. Oddly enough, Beijing is one of the few major cities in China that does not lie on a major river. Instead, water is supplied from two reservoirs -- Guanting Reservoir (on the border with Hebei) and Miyun Reservoir in Miyun County.
History & cultures of Beijing
Although influenced by its long and rich history, Beijing is a city that is in the process of reinventing itself. Since receiving the honour of hosting to the 2008 Olympic Games, the city has worked hard to modernise, but still shows the world the rich culture of China. There are many religions practiced in Beijing, though not always freely. Freedom of religion is actually in the Chinese constitution, but throughout recent history, suspensions have occurred that have made it hard to practice certain faiths. Despite this, the religious diversity in Beijing is vast, encompassing Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. With many temples throughout the city, visitors can get a real feel of some of the area’s religions. The largest Buddhist temple in Beijing is the Tanzhe Temple whose history dates back to the Jin Dynasty (3rd Century AD). The White Cloud Temple is the largest Taoist temple in the city and was once the main religious centre of Northern China. The Great Wall of China is something that shouldn’t be missed when in Beijing. Built during the Qin Dynasty, it truly is a wonder of the world. There are many sections of the wall that have been restored, the most popular (and close to Beijing) is the Great Wall at Badaling. Many tourists are discouraged by the tourist crowds at Badaling, however the views are still spectacular from this section of the wall and the atmosphere is almost market like, with hawkers and artisans along the route. The Beijing Opera is the area’s most famous opera house. Theatre restaurants are of a high quality, and Kung-Fu and acrobatic play frequently.
DID YOU KNOW ?
Feng Shui is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure the health and good fortune for people inhabiting it.
When people get together for dinner, the host usually pays the bill.
CHINESE LOVER'S DAY
Every 7th July in the Chinese traditional calendar is the Chinese Lover's Day which comes from the old story of "Niu Lang and Zhi Nv". According to this story, these lovers could only meet once a year, on this very day.
WHAT TO PACK
Beijing has a very dry climate, no matter which season you visit, so please bring body lotion and lip balm with you. If you forget to pack them, you can also easily find these items in local shops.
The only accepted currency in China is the Chinese RMB (yuan). Most hotels accept international credit cards, and ATM machines are common. Cash is the preferred method of payment in local shopping districts and restaurants.
If you suffer from specific ailments, bring your medicine with you. Language barriers often make interacting in a pharmacy very difficult.
The Beijing Winter is very cold and dry. Temperatures range from -5C to 10C. Conditions are dry, so please bring moisturisers.