We hope the following information will be of value to you. If you should have any other questions, we encourage you to contact us.
Best Time to Visit
If the weather is important to you, then the best months to visit are April, May September and October. Beijing has hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. In spring and fall the temperatures are pleasant and the sky is clear.
However, if weather is not a factor, there is no really bad time to visit Beijing. Beijing is a huge city with so many opportunities for the traveler. Consider what you would like to see in any major city in the world. If seeing beautiful gardens is an activity you love, then summer is perfect. Perhaps you have always wanted to be part of the real Chinese New Year; then a visit in winter might be right for you. Visiting during a less traveled time of the year can provide many advantages.
Please visit our weather information page for average temperatures and precipitation in Beijing. You will also find a ten day forecast for Beijing.
Passport and Visa
All foreign nationals traveling to the People's Republic to China must have a valid passport with at least six months remaining validity after the entry date into China. There must also be at least two blank pages. A tourist visa must also be obtained prior to entering the PRC.
Do Before You Go
Before leaving on your trip, make two copies of your passport identification page and your visa page. Leave one copy at home with friends or family. Carry the other one, along with a passport sized photo, in a separate place from your passport. Also consider scanning a copy of your passport and sending it to your own e-mail address. This will help with the passport replacement process if your passport is lost or stolen.
Also leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with family or friends at home so that you can be contacted in an emergency.
Beijing, and all of China, is 13 hours ahead of New York Time, 16 hours ahead of Los Angeles time, and 8 hours ahead of GMT. China does not have daylight savings time.
Jet lag is a temporary condition that some people experience following air travel over several time zones. This causes the traveler's internal time clock to be out of sync with daily cycles of daylight, sleep and meals. Its symptoms are fatigue, irritability, and being disoriented. You cannot totally avoid jet lag, but you can minimize its effects.
Get several good nights of sleep before departure.
Set your watch to Beijing time when you board the plane, and adjust sleep and meals accordingly.
Try to sleep on the plane.
Walk around the plane occasionally, and do some isometric exercises at your seat.
Drink plenty of water while flying.
Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks during and after the flight.
Try not to nap after arrival, and try to stay awake until evening.
What to Pack
Walking shoes are a must. Pack clothing that is casual and comfortable. Coordinate your clothing for multi-tasking. Dress in layers to suit various weather and temperature conditions. Unless you specifically need more formal clothes for a specific occasion, you will be happiest packing for comfort. A few days before your trip, click on our weather link for current weather conditions.Try not to over-pack. Besides providing a lighter suitcase to pull around, it will leave room for the treasures you will surely buy.
It is best to keep prescription medications in their original containers. Make sure to bring enough with you to last your entire trip. Never pack medications in your checked baggage.
Vaccinations are not required to go to China. Most travelers take Hepatitis A&B and Tetanus. Some vaccinations need to be taken well in advance of your trip. For the latest overseas health information, please contact the Center For Disease Control (CDC) by visiting their website. Since you are traveling far from home, it is recommended that you check with your personal physician for any personal needs.
You will need adapter plugs and a converter if you intend to use US made appliances. China's electric system operates on 220/240 volts. It is best to purchase a universal adapter kit, which includes several different adapter plugs. Most hotels have both two and three prong sockets that need specific adapters.
Tap water is not considered safe to drink. Drink only bottled or boiled water. All hotels offer boiled water with which you can make tea or coffee. Bottled water is readily available everywhere.
It is a good idea to bring your money in different forms of cash, travelers' checks, ATM cards, and credit cards. You can usually use a credit card when you shop in large tourist stores, and to pay your hotel bill. You will only be able to use Chinese currency at most local restaurants, tourist attractions, smaller stores, local transportation and when bargaining. We have provided more specific money information on the topics below