8 Tips for Visiting Beijing in Smog

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Beijing has been in the armageddon struggling with air pollution for years with a host of smog clearing programs on the way. But this doesn’t have immediate impact or completely eradicate smog overnight .

We must live through smog and have fun in life.

We must live through smog and have fun in life (Photo from internet)

Beijing’s smog is the result of multiple factors like vehicle emission, coal-powered industry, dust from construction sites,  all contributes to the smog which is accelerated by lack of wind and other human activities.

Your Beijing tour,  planned weeks, or even months ago, can’t promise you blue sky days when you actually land in Beijing. Like weather, it is hard to exactly predict smog in advance. Smog level goes up and down. You can’t tell what it’ll be like from one day to the next.

When you hit smog or bad air pollution in Beijing, how can you survive the airpocalypse and go on with your trip? Scared?  A day or two of bad air won’t have any lasting impact on you.  There are over 20 million people here. Come and have fun in Beijing!

Here are a few of my tips for traveling through the smog and air pollution you may unluckily encounter.

1. PM 2.5
Have some basic knowledge of PM 2.5. Particulate matter, or PM, 2.5 is a type of pollution involving fine particles less than 2.5 microns (0.0025mm) in diameter. They often comprise substances that are small enough to get to the lungs or, in the smallest cases, to reach the bloodstream as well.

The World Health Organization considers 25 micrograms (PM2.5 Index) per cubic metre to be a safe level. Basically, if Beijing PM2.5 levels average around an index of 100, it is considered “unhealthy”.

2. Check the Pollution Index Every Day 
Download a PM2.5 index app or check related PM websites for the latest information on Beijing’s PM2.5.  U.S. Embassy Air Quality Monitoring Website and Beijing Air pollution index.

Before flying for Beijing or going out of your Beijing lodging hotel, check out the local PM2.5 index.

3. Masks
Get ready for masks. There are a slew of masks to choose from, but it is advised that you want one with a rating of N90 and above. That means it filters out 90% of pollution particles in air.

4. Take Cabs
When PM2.5 index is high, going outside for activities, you’d better off taking cabs, not the subway, not a crowded public bus.

Being in a car with windows closed protects you to some extent from the bad air pollution outside.

5. Indoor Activities
When the weather is particularly bad, you may reschedule your Beijing travel itinerary and add or advance your indoor activities.

There are a range of indoor activities in Beijing like visiting museums, shopping in hermetically-sealed malls, or just staycation in your cozy hotel for bonding time with your family and friends.

6. Great Wall 
The Great Wall of China is located about 80km away from the downtown Beijing, the far distance often allows you to have better air quality there on the wall.  But if you hit AQI (PM2.5) over 200, you’d better stay indoor.

7. Back to Hotel and Wash Your Face
Come back to your hotel in a hazy day, immediately wash your face, clean your nostrils, brush your clothes.

8. Drink More Water and Tea
Taking more water or green tea drink with you on a bad weather day.  Drink water, green tea and other anti oxidants to increase your body’s immunity.

Have fun in Beijing! Cherish the days where the sun shines brightly on azure sky.

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing by Night Illuminations Tour  from US$33 p/p

Beijing Hutong Highlight One Day Tour  from US$59 p/p

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

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