Beijing, the capital of China, is known for its diversity. However, its variety goes beyond its entertainment, dining, historical, and cultural offerings. One of the biggest and populous cities in the world, it also goes through 4 seasons, the temperatures of which can be very extreme. To ensure you’ll have a grand time during your visit in the city, it’s best to know when to visit, what to expect from every season, and what to wear.
Beijing is one of the cities in Asia that are affected with the four seasons, though the length of time differs for each. For example, the capital experiences longer summers and shorter springs. The days, on the other hand, tend to be a lot shorter during the winter while in the autumn the temperature is often described as mild.
In general, though, the Beijing climate is not only dry but also humid. Moreover, because the season can be affected by monsoons, sometimes rains come pouring heavily. It is also prone to cyclones as well as sandstorms, especially during springtime.
After the dreary and sometimes harsh winter, Beijing looks forward to spring. Just like in every part of the world, spring is one of the best seasons to catch the flowers, especially on wide gardens and parks. These include the city’s official arboretum, which is located in the base of Xiaotangshan Telai. Aside from the plants, visitors can enjoy seeing or harvesting countless options of fruits and vegetables. They can also visit the Summer Palace, which is considered as the biggest park in the country. It used to be the summer home of the royal family, hence the name. Beijing also celebrates the Cherry Blossom Festival in Yuyuantan Park. Other noteworthy excursions are Pinggu Peach Orchards and Mutianyu Great Wall.
Springtime in Beijing is from early parts of April to the last weeks of May. Though the sun is up, it can still get windy, so aside from wearing shorts and short-sleeved blouses or shirts, bring along a reliable scarf. Moreover, watch out for intense temperature drops, as well as sandstorms, which can definitely hamper your trip.
Once the spring is over, Beijing then ushers summer, which is quite long. It begins around the first weeks of June all the way to the middle of September. When it’s summer in the area, you can feel the intense heat, with the temperature going as high as 40 degrees Celsius. There’s hardly any wind around, but because it can be affected by monsoon, the summer months can also mean sudden outbursts of rain. Thus, travelers during the summer are always advised to tag along a handy umbrella every time they go out.
Due to warm weather, you have ample time to move around, but it’s ideal if you can carry some bottles of water for easy hydration. Some of the good places you can check out are the mountain resorts up in Chengde as well as the Ling Mountain. You can also visit some national museums like the one in Forbidden City as well as the Ming Tombs. Take note, though, that summer in Beijing means a lot of tourists. So be patient and plan your itinerary well.
As for the clothes, wear something that allows your skin to breathe, so cotton blouses and shirts are great. Shorts are perfect as well.
Fall, which usually falls around the later half of September all the way to November, is actually the best time to visit Beijing, barring other factors. Around this time, the temperature is cool or mild, but there’s hardly any rain. In other words, the entire surrounding is very comfortable, and taking long walks is a great experience. Plus you get to see the wonderful change of foliage, from green to orange then later yellow. In fact, many travelers, particularly photographers, go to Beijing during this season just to capture such change in hues. The foliage change also happens in virtually all parks or natural areas of Beijing such as Lingshan Mountain, Summer Palace, Yudu Mountain, Badaling Great Wall, and Fragrant Mountain. Some of the trees to watch out for are jujube, gingko, maple, smoke, sawtooth, and walnut. Around this time as well, the vegetables and fruits that have been planted during spring are already ready for harvest, and you can participate in the process.
You can still wear your most comfortable and airiest clothing, but you may tag along a nice jacket because the cold wind blows once in a while.
Winter in Beijing is very interesting, as you can get a taste of the weather of the other seasons. For example, although the temperature is very cold—sometimes it goes down to negative 4 degrees Celsius—the sun can still shine brightly, as if it’s autumn. The air, on the other hand, is dry, which is reminiscent of spring. The only thing that makes you remember that it’s winter is because overall it’s cold.
If you happen to be in Beijing during the winter months, which are from the middle of November to March, you definitely have to pack very thick coats. If they are not enough, then you can just buy cheap ones or those at a bargain in countless shopping malls and flea markets in the city.
During winter, you can enjoy a trip to the Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival or Huaibei Ski Resort. You can also beat the coldness by dipping in the Huaxia Hot Spring Resort. The city’s spring festival occurs sometime in January to February, so ironically, it’s still winter.
Quality of Air
While the quality of air has decreased drastically in several urban cities all around the globe, it’s a lot worse in Beijing, where smog can literally cover the skylines and the surroundings for hours. Many workers and families are even planning to leave the city for a better breathable air. As a traveler, this should also be one of your concerns as they can make the environment more humid. Nevertheless, the country is currently working on controlling and minimizing urban air pollution in the city.