The Big Sizzle: How to Survive Beijing’s Summer

The Big Sizzle: How to Survive Beijing’s Summer

After enduring an exceptionally long, grey and smoggy winter, it can be said with certainty that most Beijing residents have been looking forward to the more laid-back summer days, often associated with open-air dining at one of the many make-shift eateries that spill over the pavements, or sipping on ice cold beer on one of Beijing's many idyllic rooftop bars. However, once the mercury begins to soar close to the 40's, another reality strikes most people: Beijing gets hot, often unbearably so!  Lethargy takes over and suddenly the AC becomes man's best friend. But the scorching Beijing heat doesn't have to be an unpleasant experience; follow the tips below and you're guaranteed to get through the season with ease.

Summer accessories to keep cool

You've probably noticed many a Chinese lady strolling around the city holding an umbrella even though it's not raining. Chinese women are not as keen on tanning as their counterparts in the west, so they use an umbrella to create some shade. While you may have grand ambitions of working on your tan in Beijing, the reality is you'll get heat exhaustion first, so make like a Chinese lady and use your umbrella for shade. Or even better…why not snap up a vintage oil paper umbrella from Ruoshuitang on Gulou Dongdajie. The parasols are a bargain, with prices generally ranging from 100 RMB to 300 RMB. The umbrellas are built to last: they are covered with Tung oil and made to withstand the rain. If you want to avoid squinting all summer, it would be safe to equip yourself with some sunglasses. Sunglasses are the epitome of cool, so it's important to choose wisely. It is possible to pick up designer brands like Rayban and Oakely for around 1,250 RMB in Beijing. However, if you are looking for something a little more affordable, the 4th floor of the Silk Market has plenty of fake designer brands available in the more wallet pleasing 30 – 50 RMB price range.

If carrying a bulky umbrella around with you all day is not your thing, why not stock up on cool shades, summer clothing and flip flops at one of Beijing's many clothing markets? If you're okay with bargaining long and hard for the sake of securing a pair of fake designer shades at a reasonable cost (aim to pay less than 50 RMB), then head over to the Silk Market or Yashow Market, where you'll find all the fakes one's heart desires. Alternatively, check out H&M or Zara – found in most new malls in Beijing these days – where you can pick up the latest trendy accessories at affordable prices.

Cool down with some cold treats

There are many ice cream parlors dotted around Beijing, offering you a chance to cool down with some super cool and sugary treats. Cold stone Creamery has many outlets across town and it serves some of the best ice cream in town. The ice creams are swirled together on a chilled marble slate with a variety of fruit, nuts, chocolate and syrups to create ice cream concoctions fit for the gods. If you are interested in making cool deserts at home, you could always pop along to novelty joke and gadget shop, Zha Fei Zha on Gulou Dongdajie and pick up a small ice-cream maker for just 65 RMB. For a more healthy option, however, you can always try the frozen yoghurt topped with fresh fruit over at Sunberry Frozen Yogurt in Houhai.  Another alternative treat is to try some of the fashionable Chinese and Hongkongese dessert places that are sprouting up all over town.  Some of the more well known treats like Red Bean Ice (红豆冰山) and numerous mango inspired desserts are a great source of fruit, fun, and ice.

Get out the city

While it may be a little taxing to organize that dream trip to Thailand on the spur of the moment, it's still fairly easy to escape from Beijing for a day or two: There are easy to reach, picturesque locations on the city's outskirts and in the neighbouring province of Hebei. Yunmeng Scenic Resort, just north of Beijing, offers you the chance to cool down by going rafting in the roaring rapids, which cut through the mountains. If you are feeling a little less adventurous, you could take a leaf from the books of China's emperors and escape the summer heat by fleeing to the capital of Hebei, Chengde. Easily accessible by train with Qing pavilions, historical palace buildings, lakes and temples, Chengde is ideal for a needed break from Beijing. If you're after a beach, Hebei has one of those too. Beidaihe is a beach resort that stretches along a twisted coastline punctuated by rocky outcrops and sandy beaches. It's a popular day or weekend trip for Beijing residents and their families. Another picturesque option not far from Beijing is Miyun, where you'll find luscious greenery, lakes and beautiful country resorts.

Go for a splash

If you don't fancy taking a day trip out of the city to reach a beach, then you can try exploring the outdoor pools within the city. Crab Island is as close as you can get to a real beach in Beijing. The water park boasts a wave machine, waterslides and a 60,000 square metre fake beach and is located in Chaoyang District. If you don't feel like getting sand between your toes, and are looking for something a little more central, then try Qingnianhu Park Waterworld. Perhaps one of Beijing's most popular outdoor swimming pools, the water park contains 4 different pools with water slides, as well as a pool for serious swimmers aiming to do laps. Another option is the Happy Magic Water Cube Water Park in Fengtai District, currently the biggest water park in all of Asia! Only open seasonally, the site includes a wide range of exciting water rides as well as the world's largest wave maker. Last but not least, the most popular water park to open in Beijing in recent years is the Happy Magic Water Park (not to be mixed up with the one in Fengtai above). Housed in the Water Cube, just beside the Bird's Nest, this wacky water park features fun slides, pools and other fun features.

Crab Island 蟹岛水上世界View In Map
Add: Crab Island Resort, 1 Xiedao Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
地址:北京市朝阳区蟹岛路1号 (从东苇路出口处红绿灯右转前行三百 米左转即进入蟹岛)
Price: 60 RMB
Opening hours: 8:00 – 13:00 (June – September)
Tel: 010 8433-9689/9191 
Getting There: By Car: Get onto the Airport Expressway (机场高速公路) until you reach the Weigou exit and follow the signs. By bus:688, 418 or 909 from Dongzhimen bus station. 

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Keywords: How to survive summer Beijing summer day trips Beijing summer activities Beijing summer accessories Beijing


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