Top Things to Do in Beijing in the Winter

December 2nd, 2019
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Plan your Beijing winter tour? Beijing is an interesting destination for your winter vacation. Winter in Beijing begins with an abundance of festivities during the holiday season: skiing, ice skating, hot spring bathing, hiking the Great Wall of China……and if you prefer to stay out of the cold, choose from the numerous museums, restaurants, book stores open during the season.

We’ve put together a few top things to do in Beijing in the winter,  which allows you to feel the warmer part of the city when it’s cold…

Skiing in Beijing
Skiing has become increasingly popular with Chinese. There are over 10 ski resorts around Beijing which are suitable for both beginners and advanced skiers.

For more Beijing skiing information, check out the link: Top 10 Beijing Ski Resorts.

To meet the various needs from customers, most of the Beijing ski resorts offers snow related activities such as stimulative Motorcycle on snow land, snow flying disc, romantic sleigh drawn by dogs or houses, ice garden, and snow garden.

Snow Ski

Visiting a ski resort is a bonus added to make a perfect winter holiday in Beijing. No matter you are a keen skier or non-skier, you can rewind and entertain yourself in a ski resort around Beijing.

Or skiing and participating in snow activities, or just sitting in a cozy snack bar and appreciating the white ski area over a cup of coffee or tea.

Ice Skate
There are a number of open-air ice skating rinks on some lakes in Beijing. Shichahai Lake,  Beihai Park and Kunming Lake in Summer Palace are three of the most important outdoor ice skating rinks for many local skaters.

For more Beijing Ice Skating information,  check out the link:  Top Beijing Ice Skating Rinks.

There are a few top indoor ice skating Rinks such New World Champion Skating Rink, all Star Ice Rink, New World Champion Skating Rink and more.

Ice Lantern Festival
Each year, starting Jan 05, Beijing will hold its own ice and snow festival – The Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival. The Longqing Gorge is flanked on both sides by green peaks.

Due to the shade from mountains towering on both sides, the area has an annual ice period of four months, offering the ideal venue for an ice-lantern festival.

For more information on Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival, check the link below:

How visit Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival.

Ice lantern Festival

During the ice lantern festival, ice-and-snow sculptures and ice slides are displayed along 300 meters of the gorge. The evening colorful lighting adds to the fun of evening activities.

Hot Spring Bathing
A nice soak in one of Beijing’s many hot springs is an excellent way to the perfect place to wash off the dirt and relax your body. There are three popular hot spring resorts around Beijing: Chunhuiyuan Hot Spring Resort, Jiuhua Spa & Resort and Huaxia Hot Spring.

Hassle-free Beijing Guided Hot Spring Bathing Tours: 
Mutianyu Great Wall & Chunhuiyuan Hot Springs Spa Bathing Day Tour

Hot Spring

Chunhuiyuan Hot Spring Resort and Jiuhua Spa & Resort Actually have the same springhead – Xiaotangshan hot spring. Xiaotangshan has been famous for its hot springs for over 300 years. Local legend has it that the imperial family of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) went there to relax.

Museums and Art Galleries
All the major attractions, including Museums and Art Galleries, are still open in Beijing in winter. As a China’s vibrant and exciting capital city, Beijing is home to many world-class museums and art galleries.

There are over 150 to choose from, ranging from the historical to the hi-tech.

museum

For more information on Beijing museums, check out the link: Top 10 Beijing Museums.

Temple Fairs
As a foreign visitor, if you are in Beijing during the Spring Festival,  visiting a temple fair is definitely a good choice to experience the traditional  Beijing custom and Chinese culture.

Like elsewhere in the world, temple fairs (Miao Hui)originated and developed as groups of vendors did business near temples when many pilgrimages came to pay tribute to the gods during traditional festivals.

For more information in Temple Fair, check out the link:  What to see and do at the temple fairs in Beijing

Temple Fair

Now there are over 10 major temple fairs held each year in Beijing during Chinese New Year. Most of them are in the parks, wide streets and other non-temple areas.

Shop at the local free markets
If you are not interested in shopping at high-end shopping malls in Beijing, where everything seems to be overpriced at fixed prices, then why not dig into the plentiful free or flea markets where you can enjoy bargaining with the local vendors.

Free Markets

For information on Beijing markets, check out the link:   Top Beijing Markets.

 Curl up with a book
The Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore and Beijing Xinhua Bookstore are major book sellers.
The China Book Store in Liulichang binds and repairs all kinds of books and periodicals as well as selling them.Another good place for books is Haidian book street near Beijing University.

Bookstore

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

Mutianyu Great Wall + Beijing Huaibei International Ski Resort Day Tour  from US$79 p/p
Badaling Great Wall + Snow World Ski Resort Day Tour  from US$69 p/p
Beijing Winter Downtown Day Tour  from US$65 p/p

Visit Beijing in December

November 25th, 2019
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Plan your Beijing winter tour? Most people choose to visit Beijing in Autumn or spring, but there are some who would like to travel Beijing in December, not just because of Christmas holiday…

The weather in December in Beijing
December is the actual beginning of Beijing’s long winter season which lasts 4 months from November 15 to next year’s March 15. In December Beijing is cold and windy.

Beijing is a dry city, not much snow in winter. Sometimes there is some snow in later December. Sometimes there is no snow at all for the whole December.

Beijing could be very windy in December. Don’t stay outside for long time if you are in a windy day. As for what to wear on your December Beijing tours, you may check below each day ‘s average temperature according to the past  50 years’ climate data.

Winter Great Wall Hike is a bit challenging mainly due to the frozen weather in later December, January and early February each year in Beijing. Check How to dress for visiting Great Wall in winter.

You are advised to dress warmly – winter hat with ear flap, ear warmers, gloves, scarf, warm jackets and the winter accessories.

Historical Climate  Data for December in Beijing
This past 50-year historical weather data is quite useful for you to plan your trip to Beijing well in advance.  You may use the data to decide what to wear on your coming trip to Beijing.

By the way you may also check our  Beijing December Realtime Weather Photos  for more information on the Beijing weather images in December.

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Date       Average high    Average low   Precipitation   Extreme High  Extreme low
Dec 01 5℃                    -4℃ 0mm 13℃(2008) -13℃(1966)
Dec 02 5℃ -4℃ 0mm 13℃(1983) -13℃(1952)
Dec 03 5℃ -4℃ 0mm 20℃(1989) -12℃(1952)
Dec 04 6℃ -4℃ 0mm 17℃(1989) -11℃(1952)
Dec 05 5℃ -5℃ 0mm 12℃(1955) -14℃(1952)
Dec 06 4℃ -5℃ 0mm 10℃(1983) -13℃(1965)
Dec 07 5℃ -5℃                  0mm 13℃(1983) -13℃(1985)
Dec 08 4℃ -6℃ 0mm 12℃(1983) -16℃(1967)
Dec 09 5℃ -5℃ 0mm 12℃(2004) -14℃(1985)
Dec 10 5℃ -5℃ 0mm 13℃(1951) -13℃(1956)
Dec 11 4℃ -5℃ 0mm 13℃(1958) -14℃(1967)
Dec 12 4℃ -6℃ 0mm 10℃(1988) -12℃(1972)
Dec 13 3℃ -6℃ 0mm 9℃(1998) -13℃(1967)
Dec 14 3℃ -6℃ 0mm 10℃(1963) -14℃(1961)
Dec 15 3℃ -7℃         0mm 13℃(1998) -14℃(1967)
Dec 16 4℃ -6℃ 0mm 13℃(1951) -14℃(1952)
Dec 17 3℃ -6℃ 0mm 12℃(1951) -14℃(1965)
Dec 18   3℃ -7℃ 0mm 13℃(1951) -15℃(1952)
Dec 19 3℃ -7℃ 0mm            11℃(1951)           -18℃(1952)
Dec 20 3℃ -7℃ 0mm 14℃(1951) -18℃(1952)
Dec 21 3℃ -7℃ 0mm 11℃(1998) -16℃(1971)
Dec 22 3℃ -7℃ 0mm 11℃(1963) -14℃(1956)
Dec 23 3℃ -7℃ 0mm 14℃(1962) -16℃(1967)
Dec 24 2℃ -8℃ 0mm 16℃(1996) -15℃(1967)
Dec 25 2℃        -7℃ 0mm 10℃(1987) -16℃(1970)
Dec 26 2℃ -8℃ 0mm 10℃(1987) -14℃(1966)
Dec 27 2℃ -8℃ 0mm 13℃(1987) -18℃(1966)
Dec 28 1℃ -8℃ 0mm 14℃(1987) -18℃(1967)
Dec 29 1℃ -8℃ 0mm 8℃(1987) -15℃(1966)
Dec 30 2℃ -8℃ 0mm 9℃(1975) -16℃(1967)
Dec 31     2℃ -8℃ 0mm 10℃(1973) -18℃(1965

—————————————————————————————————————–

December Events, Holidays& Festivals


Most people choose to visit Beijing in Autumn or spring, but there are some who would like to travel Beijing in December, not just because of Christmas holiday…

Annual Events and Festivals
1.  Ski Resorts in Beijing 北京滑雪场 ( Top 10 Beijing ski resorts )
Visiting a ski resort is a bonus added to make a perfect winter holiday in Beijing. No matter you are a keen skier or non-skier, you can rewind and entertain yourself in a ski resort around Beijing, skiing and participating in snow activities, or just sitting in a cozy snack bar and appreciating the white ski area over a cup of coffee or tea.

2. Traffic Safety’s Day Of China 全国交通安全日
The reason to designate 02 December as the day each year for ” Traffic Safety’s Day Of China” is mainly due to fact that 112 is the common emergency telephone number ( road traffic accidents). The traffic safety day is aimed at promoting the road traffic safety and reducing the traffic accidents.

3. National Legal Publicity Day 全国法制宣传日
The National Legal Publicity Day falls on 4 December which was inaugurated in 2001.  It is aimed at promoting the constitution sprite as well as building a harmonious society in China.

4. Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre 南京大屠杀纪念日
This special day falls on 13 December. The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders (侵华日军南京大屠杀遇难同胞纪念馆) tells the overwhelming atrocities of raping, killing, burning and looting committed by the Japanese forces of aggression during the six weeks from December 13 to January, 1938. For more information Nanjing Massacre, check out the link:  How to Visit Nanjing Massacre Museum.

5. Macau’s Return to China Day 澳门回归纪念日。
The day is designed to commemorate the formal handover ceremony on Dec. 20, 1999,  when Macau,  the final vestige of European colonialism in the region, was returned to Chinese sovereignty after 442 years of Portuguese rule.

6. Christmas Eve in Beijing
If you happen to spend your Christmas eve in Beijing during your Beijing tour, you may take some adventure going on to the streets to explore and spend a local Christmas eve.

So how will local Beijingers celebrate Christmas eve? What are things to do during Christmas eve in Beijing?  Unlike the west countries where Christmas is a time for family get-together, here in Beijing it is a time for people making fun and shops making money. Check out the link: How to Spend Christmas Eve in Beijing.

7. Beijing New Year’s Eve Countdown Celebration 新年之夜欢庆
Each year the local tourism bureau will hold a fantastic “New Year Celebration” on the eve of the coming new year in a unique way.  Turn to a local travel agency or visit the tourism bureau’s official website for the new year celebration.

Beijing Weather in Each Month

Beijing in November Beijing in December Beijing January
Beijing in February Beijing in March Beijing in April
Beijing in May Beijing in June Beijing in July
Beijing in August Beijing in September  Beijing in October

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Winter 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:

Mutianyu Great Wall + Beijing Huaibei International Ski Resort Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall + Snow World Ski Resort Day Tour
Beijing Winter Downtown Day Tour
Beijing Nanshan Ski Day Tour

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.

How to visit Terracotta Army in Xian

November 21st, 2019
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Terracotta Warriors.

If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

Important Notice:
The special shuttle bus line ( Bus No.306 or Tourism Bus 5 ) running between  Xian Railway Station and Terra-cotta Army has been moved to the bus station of Fangzhicheng ( metro line 1) about 200 m from exit A (纺织城枢纽站). The relocation of the bus line is due to the reconstruction and expansion of of Xian Railway Station.

____________________________________________________________________

Plan your Xian tour? For many foreign visitors, visiting the excavated Terracotta Army is a must. These Army of Terra-Cotta Warriors were supposed to safeguard Chinese first emperor – Qin Shihuang in his afterlife.

He unified China in 221 BC for the first time in Chinese history and established Qin Dynasty (221–206 B.C.), thus starting China’s over 2000 years’ feudal society

You are kindly reminded that Qin Shihuang’s underground palace is still there and remains intact though some of the burial sites annexing to his mausoleum have been robbed.

Why his own burial site or his underground palace still intact? It is said that his tomb has solid and strict anti-gravedigging system including secret crossbows which may kill people once you are inside the tomb, and a large amount of mercury which will emit much toxic air within the tomb.

Now the entrance for Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum is also included in your ticket for Terracotta Army Museum – One ticket for two sites. The two sites are 2 km apart connected by free shuttle buses.

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Located  2km east of Qin Shihuang Mausoleum, the Emperor’s afterlife army terracotta soldiers are only part of his mausoleum. These vivid over 2000-year-old soldiers of Terracotta Army were discovered March 24, 1974 by a group of local farmers when they were digging a well.

Now this site of Terracotta army has been turned into a world-famous attraction site, bombarded by tons of tourists visiting this museum. I’ve been to the Terracotta Army Museum for several times.

Below are some of the Terracotta Army travel tips for your reference if you are going to make your maiden trip to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors and Soldiers Museum:

Tip#1: How to get from Xian Xianyang Airport to Terracotta Warriors (TCW)

1. Xian Airport to Lintong Special Bus.
At Xian Xianyang Airport, first take the Airport to Lintong Special Bus. Arriving at Lintong, then change for the local bus for Terracotta Warriors (TCW).
Departure time from Xian Airport: 10:30、12:30、15:30、17:30
Bus fare: 30 yuan ( excluding the local bus from Lintong to TCW)

2. By Taxi
Arriving at Xian Xianyang Airport, line up at the official taxi stand and take taxi for TCW:
Taxi Ride: about one hour and 66 km
Taxi fare: approx. 193 yuan, plus toll fee: 30 yuan

3. Private Transfer
Before getting to Xian Xianyang Airport, you can book a hassle-free private transfer from the airport to TCW. Check out Xian Car Rental with Driver for more information.

Tip#2: How to get from Xian North Railway Station to TCW
If you take high speed train to Xian, you will arrive at Xian North Railway Station.

1.By Subway + Bus
First take subway line 2 and get off at the station of Beidajie (北大街), then interchange for subway line 1 and get off at the station of Fangzhicheng (纺织城枢纽站) . Then take the special bus Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) going to TCW. The bus station is about 200 m from exit A of Fangzhicheng (Subway line 1).

2.By Taxi
Arriving at Xian North Railway Station, line up at the official taxi stand and take taxi for TCW:
Taxi Ride: about one hour and 50 km
Taxi fare: approx. 150 yuan, plus toll fee: 20 yuan

3. Private Transfer
Before getting to Xian North Railway Station, you can book a hassle-free private transfer from the airport to TCW. Check out Xian Car Rental with Driver for more information.

Tip#3: How to get from Xian Railway Station to TCW
The special Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) running between Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum has been moved to Fangzhicheng ( metro line 1) about 200 m from exit A (纺织城枢纽站). The relocation of the bus line is due to the reconstruction and expansion of of Xian Railway Station.

Take subway line 4 from Xian Railway Station and get off the next station of Wulukou (五路口), then interchange for subway line 1, then get off at the station of Fangzhicheng (纺织城枢纽站) . Then take the special bus Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) going TCW. The bus station is about 200 m from exit A of Fangzhicheng (Subway line 1).

Tip#4: Basic information on Tourism Bus 5 ( Bus No.306)
You don’t have to buy the bus ticket in advance. Just jump on the bus and later a bus guide will come to you and collect the money – RMB 7 per person.

Basic Information on the Bus
Bus Line: Tourism Bus 5 (306)
First Bus: 08:00; Last Bus 19:00
Departure Time: Leave when full.
Line Length: 42 Km
Drive Time: 0ne Hour
Bus Stops: Totally 12 stop on route
Bus Stop No.01: Xian Railway Station
Bus Stop No 08: Huanqing Hots pring
Bus Stop No 12: Terracotta Army

Be sure to get off at the last destination – Terracotta Army Museum since the Bus 5 (306) is scheduled to stop at several tourist attractions including Huaqing  Hot spring, Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum.

You don’t need to get off at these stops. The very last stop ( the 12th stop ) of this bus is the Terracotta Warriors. Just stay on the bus until you get to the last stop. Remember where you get off the bus terminal.

After finishing your visiting the museum, come to the same parking lot and take the exact bus No 5 (306) since there are some other “fake” bus 306 which eagerly push you to take their buses.

Tip#5: Basic information about Terracotta Warriors and Soldiers Museum
Located 30km east of Xian, the Army of Terracotta Warriors are undoubtedly the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century. The museum is composed of three pits: Pit 1, Pit 2 and Pit 3.

Pit 1 is most impressive and the highlight of the museum. Pits 2 and 3, though interesting, are not as impressive as the pit 1. If you don’t have sufficient time, PIT 2 and PIT 3 can be avoided.

The movie -360 degrees, the background film, is in English and very cool, which takes about 15 minutes long. It gives some background to what you see with your own eyes. It is worth the 15 minutes. The film ticket is included in your entrance fee.

Tip#6: Don’t expect too much from the Museum
Before you visit the terracotta warriors, if you have already read a lot and seen tons of pictures of the Army of Terracotta warriors, you may feel a little disappointed. So there is much hype which causes your visit to be a letdown.

Tip#07: Rent an audio guide? Hire a tour guide? or Using a guidebook?
How to visit the museum? You have three choices:
1) Rent an audio guide ( recorded guide ). You just pay RMB 40 an audio tour. The voice sounds like an American accent and it is easy to understand and informative.

2) Using a tour guide service. When you are going to buy your tickets at the ticketing office, tons of tour guides will come to you, eager to offer you the guide service.

If you haven’t done much homework before you came to Xian. You are advised to hire a local tour guide to guide or translate for you at the price of about RMB 100-150. You will get more knowledge than from a guidebook or the recordings. Just avoid the shopping sites your local guide may suggest you to go.

3) Using a guidebook to guide your tour in and around the museum.

Tip#8: Walking from Ticketing office to Entrance Gate
It takes 5-10 minutes walking from the ticketing office to the entrance gate. If you pay RMB 5, you take a small tram ride to the entrance gate. In my opinion, if you are in good shape, just avoid using the small tram.

Free luggage storage service:
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.

Tip#9: Exit from the museum
After you finish visiting the museum and leave for your bus terminal, or in a word, on the way back, you have to pass through an area with a lot of shops and restaurants. This obviously poses some pressure on you to buy some souvenirs or spend some money here.

If you are tender-hearted, and going to buy something to support China’s economy, please bargain!

Tip#10: Some Restaurants Rip off
There are many restaurants leading up to the museum. Some of them just rip you off. So take great care of your money!

Tip#11: Toilets in the museum are free
For the toilets outside the museum, you have to pay. But once you are inside the museum, you enjoy free toilets. They are the same squatting-style facility like everywhere else in china.

Tip#12: Take a taxi to the Museum
It takes about 160 RMB by taxi from the downtown Xian to Army of Terra-Cotta Warriors. Very often you have to bargain with your taxi driver.

Tip#13: Terracotta Army, not Qin Shihuang Mausoleum
If you take Bus 5(306) from Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum, don’t get off at Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum. Qin Shihuang’s Mausolem is not much worth visiting since it is just a mound, not excavated yet.

So don’t confuse Terracotta Army with Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum. The entrance for Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum is also included in your ticket for Terracotta Army Museum.

A closer look at soldiers and horses

A closer look at soldiers and horses

Tip#14: Opening time and entrance fees
Ticket Selling Hours: 8:30 – 17:00 (March 16 – Nov 15)
8:30 – 16:30 (Nov 16 – March 15)
Time for ticket collecting: 8:30 – 18:00 (March 16 – Nov 15)
8:30 – 17:30 (Nov 16 – March 15)
Entrance Fee: RMB 150 (March 1-November 30); RMB 120 (December 1-the end of February)
The ticket also includes the entrance to Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum.

Note: There is a cap for the number of visitors ( limited to daily 65000 visitors ). But  basically  you won’t have any problem buying your tickets if you avoid visiting the site during National Holiday ( Oct 01 -07 ).

For booking the tickets online, you use the following two websites ( both in Chinese ):
1) http://piao.ctrip.com/ticket/dest/t1444.html
2) http://order.bmy.com.cn:88/ticket/index.htm

Tip#15: Free luggage storage service:
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.

The Terracotta Warriors Museum is open all year round – 365 days every year! Children under the height of 1.2m don’t have to pay.

06611Tip #16: Hassle-free Xian 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 Xian guided tours:

Xian City Day Tour from US$69
Xian Terracotta Warriors Day Tour A from US$85
Terracotta Army and Song of Everlasting Performance from US$135

Xian 2 Day Tour Package from US$170 p/p
Xian 3 Day Tour Package from US$235 p/p

Terracotta Army  Join-in Escorted Bus Tour RMB 480 p/p
Terracotta Army  Escorted Private Tour  US$ $125 P/P

Further Readings


Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Tips for Visiting Muslim Quarter in Xian
Tips for Visiting Xian City Wall
Tips for Visiting Shaanxi History Museum
Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower
How Visit Terracotta Army
How to Visit Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Top 10 Photography Spots in Xian
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Tips for Visiting Hanyang Tombs Xian
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show in Xian
Tips for Visiting Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Tips for Visiting Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Best Time to Visit Xian

Any questions, just drop a line.