The thing we missed most about home was blue skies.
In 28 days of travel in China, we saw only 4 days of blue skies.
We were there in April 2010 and it was extremely cold in Beijing with a few morning temps down to 0 degrees. Lucky the Guesthouse offered us extra blankets and a heater because we would've never coped with these temperatures. All floors are tiled with no carpet so it makes it even colder. Showers are mainly open showers - a nozzle on the wall with no doors so it's absolutely freezing.
I would definitely travel in warmer weather but they were having a cold spell that week. Keeping in mind that China (like Australia) is a HUGE country and although it was very cold in Beijing by the time we arrived in Hong Kong we were hot!! In hindsight we should've done the trip mirror reverse, but wanted to enjoy the Wall in cooler weather - didn't expect freezing weather!!! A week after we'd left Beijing, Alvin emailed us to inform us there was snow on the Wall, there'd been snow a fortnight prior to our arrival.
Fondest memory: Blue Skies the day we visited the Temple of Heaven - priceless.
Winter in Beijing is mainly very very cold (-15 to -25 degrees Celcius) and dry. Sometimes thick yellow clouds, which bring the sand from Gobi desert, disturb daylight. Even nowadays the air is full of the smell of the coal dust briquettes, which some people still use for heating and cooking. But when the sky is clear, then the light is excellent for taking photos.
In winter the lakes and canals are frozen and give the opportunity for skating.
It very rarely snows. But when it snows, there will be big traffic chaos and it will be difficult to walk around as the snow is not brushed away soon.
Favorite thing: You may consider the option of renting a mobile in Beijing to stay connected with folks back home as you can bring with you the moble all the time. Last time a friend of mine from the United States come to Beijing, he rented a phone, which is a surprise package of reasonable rental fee, low internaitonal IP call rate plus live English assistance. If I remember correct, the mobile rental service is called Yoyoor. Maybe you can google it to find out more.
It is astonishing how many questions there are in the Beijing forum, asking what the weather is like in Beijing. It would be quicker to go to one of the many weather-related websites and get the facts rather than rely on the rather subjective views of previous visitors.
The following websites are obvious:
The Weather Channel forecast for Beijing
Scroll down for the 10-day forecast.
(You can change between Celsius and Fahrenheit)
If you are in Beijing already, you can get an hourly forecast for the rest of the day which is neat.
The Weather Channel website has a table showing the averages and records for the entire year, which is also of *some* use when planning. The reason I say *some* use is that it is actually quite difficult for most people to translate the numbers into reality.
It is also important when checking the weather to understand what the wind speed is, especially when the temperature gets lower because temperature is officially measured in 'zero windspeed'.
Today in Beijing, for example, the current temperature is -1C, but the windspeed makes it feel officially like -6C. That is a very, very big difference.
Fondest memory: Microclimate can make a very big difference. In winter, the city centre is probably at least 4C warmer than the official temperature, but then in certain areas (such as the CBD) the temperature is probably much colder if there is a wind blowing and the high buldings tend to channel the wind making it even windier (and colder) still. In the summer, the city cetre is still probably 4C warmer because of the reflection from buildings and concrete!
The final issue is the diurnal range, which can be substantial in Beijing, especially in March, April, October and November. The nightime temperature can be dramatically cooler than the daytime high.
The Weatherbase statistics provide some detailed climate statistics for Beijjing.
Note that the Qwikcast weather forecast always seems to a day "out of synch" so the box that syas "Today" refers to yesterday, and "Tomorrow" refers to today. Confusing.
If you are travelling to the Great Wall, note that this area is considerably higher than Beijing and much more exposed to the winds. It can be pleasant in Beijing and bitterly cold up on the Wall (like 10C lower in autumn).
My favourite season in Beijing is spring! After the cold, dry and yellow winter, the gras is so green, the Magnolia trees are blooming in the Summerpalace and colorful flowers are everywhere. It does not rain much in spring, the sky is clear and blue. That is why April and May are the best season to visit Beijing.
Fondest memory: April/May
Autumn is the time when Chinese families go into the Western Hills to have a picnic and see the colorful leaves of the trees.
Wheather offers gentle temperatures and not much rain. It is my second favourite season in Beijing.
Summers are very humid in Beijing. It is hot and it rains a lot. Heavy thunderstorms clear the sky. But airpollution and humidity will give you headaches.
The emperors and nowadays the people, who can affford this, leave Beijing in summer to spend their time in cooler places like Chengde or at the sea in Qingdao or Beihaiguan.
Fondest memory: There are not many blue sky days in Beijing or many big cities in China. The air is definitely not clean in Beijing. There's a lot of dust flying around. Pollution from automobiles is adding to the problem. Be careful if you have respiratory problems. In recent years the climate in Beijing has become harsher: Hot and humid summers (sometimes can get above 40C; and/or >35C for 10 days straight) and cold and snowy winters.
Favorite thing: Because of the continental climate, it will be very windy and sandy when you travel during fall seasons. The best period will be around May to July. Summer can be VERY hot while it is cold during winter time.
Beijing is a culture city of China.
Beijing is getting modernized and cosmopolitan but ctill keep the nice scenery of historical palces. It is fun to explore the historical museum, Great Wall, antigue market....good to be here and experinece the historical city.
Fondest memory: Walking in the quiet street on fall season. It is golden memory when the gingo tree turn to golden yellow.
My favorite season of BJ are Autumn and Winter. Autumn is most comfortable interms of weather. it's so cool and nice. YOu can see clear blue sky as well and that's hardly find in other season. I like winter's dry cold and snow. After December, the lakes at Summer Palace and Bei Hai will frozened. People can have fun by doing skate.
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