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  Quick links: Toilets; Currency; Emergency numbers; Taxis; Beijing airport; Useful Phrases; Tap Water  
  China is big so it is only natural that its climate will vary from freezing cold to boiling hot. As a general rule of thumb, spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit.

China has a climate dominated by dry and wet monsoons, which make clear temperature differences in winter and summer. In winter, northern winds coming from high latitude areas are cold and dry; in summer, southern winds from sea areas at lower latitude are warm and moist.

North - Beijing

Northern winters, from December to March, can be extremely cold. Beijing generally experiences temperature of -20C. Little rain, and little sun Further north, temperatures reaching -40C are not uncommon.

During the summer, from May to August, temperatures in Beijing can hit 38C (100F), coinciding with the rainy season for the city.

Central - Wuhan, Chongqing, Nanjing

The Yangtze River valley has long and humid summers with high temperatures from April to October.

Winters , with temperatures dropping well below freezing, can be as cold as in Beijing

Summers are generally wet.

South - Guangzhou

The summer is a season of typhoons between July and September. Temperatures can rise to around 38C. Winters are short, between January and March. Not as cold as in the north.

Autumn and spring can be good times to visit, with day temperatures in the 20C to 25C (68F to 75F) range. Sometimes, it can be miserably wet and cold, with rain or drizzle.

Northwest - Turpan

It gets hot in summer, dry and sunny. The desert regions can be scorching in the daytime. Turpan is referred to as the 'hottest place in China' with maximums of around 47C.

In winter this region is as severely cold as the rest of northern China.

This area of China experiences little rain, and as a consequence, the air is very dry. Summers, however, can exceed 40C, while winters may drop to -10C.


Temperatures can vary from below zero during the evening and early morning to a formidable 38C (100F) at midday.

Cold and fierce winds are common in winter, but snow is rare in Tibet. Rainfall is scarcest in the north and west of Tibet. Northern monsoons can sweep across the plains for days on end, often whipping up dust, sandstorms, snowstorms, or (rarely) rainstorms.

  China's toilets are interesting to say the least, although they have improved considerably over the past few years. As a general rule, public toilets tend to be of the squat variety. Also, these toilets tend not to have toilet paper, so bring your own. Which leads us on to the next point - many of China's toilets cannot take toilet paper, which is disposed of in bins next to the toilet. The situation in hotels is somewhat better and it is likely, if not almost certain that your hotel will have a standard western toilet capable of consuming toilet paper. The advice is therefore to do your business at the hotel.  

China's currency is the RMB. 1 RMB is made up of 10 Jiao, or 100 Fen. The chinese will often refer to RMB as kuai (pronounced kwai). At the time of writing (Spring 2005), £1 is roughly equal to 15 RMB. You cannot obtain RMB outside of China. However, there are numerous cash desks at Beijing airport and also ATMs within the airport which will change foreign currency. A word of warning, not many places take credit cards.


Taxis in Beijing are cheap. All registered taxi drivers are required to use a meter. Registered taxi drivers will have a "taxi" sign on the top of their cars and will have a driver number prominently displayed in the car. If your taxi driver refuses to put down the meter or give you a receipt, do insist, as these are legal requirements. All taxis from the airport are registered and are safe for travel.


It is best to take a taxi from the airport to the city. A taxi should cost you in the region of 110RMB and take about 25 minutes depending on the Beijing traffic.

It used to be the case that when you left Beijing airport, you had to pay a "construction tax" on leaving. As the fee is now included in the price of air tickets, there is no requirement for this.


Some useful phrases as they would be pronounced by an Englishman!


Hello = "Ni how"

How much = "Dorshao Chien"

How are you = "Ni how ma?"

Taxi = "choo zu cher"

Airport = "Ji chang"

Thank you = "Shie shie"

Doctor = "Ee shung"

Help = "Jio Ming"

Great wall = "Chang Chung "

Temple of Heaven = "Tian Tan"

Summer palace = "Ee her yuan"

Forbidden City = "Gu goong"

Ming Tombs = "Shwer san ling"

Beihai Park = "Bay hai"

Where is the toilet = "Che swore zai nar?"


American Express 010-65052888

Mastercard 010-65101090-95

Visa (credit card) 010-65064371

Tourist Hotline 010-65130828

British Embassy (010) 6532 1961

  Although the tap water is generally safe (you can brush your teeth with it), it is best not to drink it, as you risk getting a runny stomach.  

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