There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Beijing each year.
The main ones are listed below.
As China is still largely a rural country, Chinese New Year celebrations are exceedingly important, emphasizing rebirth and renewal. Coinciding with the new moon on the first day of the first lunar month, in ancient times the start of the festival marked the beginning of the new season for planting crops, the ideal moment to pray for a good harvest. For three days, celebrations involve merrymaking and entertainment of many kinds, both at home with family members and outside in the streets: firecrackers to ward off evil spirits and demons, fireworks, etc.February or March: Lantern Festival (Yuanxiao Jie, celebrated nationwide)
Colourful paper lanterns line the streets of Beijing and throughout China on this day. Children and adults parade through the city carrying long bamboo poles hung with smaller lanterns. This festival officially ends Chinese New Year celebrations.May 1 : Labour Day (national holiday) August – Seventh day of the seventh lunar month : Double Seventh Festival (Qixi, celebrated nationwide)
Also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day, this romantic festival has been celebrated in China for centuries. Traditionally, this was the day when young, single women prayed to attract a husband. The name of the festival refers to the seventh daughter of the Jade Emperor, a weaving maid, who was only allowed by her father to see her beloved, a lowly cowherd, once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. Gifts of bouquets of flowers or chocolates, special dates, romantic dinners, and dance parties are among the celebrations during this day, highly anticipated by all single people in Beijing.September or October – Fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month: Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhongqiu Jie, celebrated nationwide)
Also known as the Moon Festival, this is the day in the year when the moon is particularly round and bright, a symbol of unity and familial happiness. The main feature of this traditional festival is the sharing of cakes with family and friends.October 1: National Day (Guoqing Jie, national holiday)
Commemorates the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, proclaimed by Mao Zedong. Festivities held throughout the city include fireworks, military parades, concerts and dance parties.December 25: Christmas (celebrated nationwide)
|Month||Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Average Rains (MM)||Best Time to Travel|
|January||7/45||2/36||3/0.1||Not the best period to go|
|February||4/39||6/43||4/0.2||Not the best period to go|
|March||1/34||12/54||10/0.4||Good period to go|
|April||9/48||21/70||25/1.0||Good period to go|
|May||15/59||27/81||37/1.5||Good period to go|
|June||20/68||30/86||72/2.8||Not the best period to go|
|July||22/72||31/88||160/6.3||Not the best period to go|
|August||21/70||30/86||138/5.4||Not the best period to go|
|September||16/61||26/79||48/1.9||Not the best period to go|
|October||9/48||19/66||23/0.9||Not the best period to go|
|November||0/32||10/50||9/0.4||Not the best period to go|
|December||-5/23||3,8/39||2/0.1||Not the best period to go|
The Beijing Capital International Airport is located about 25 kilometres (16 miles) north of the city centre.
Getting around Beijing is relatively simple. The Beijing Subway, which underwent major renovation in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games, is quick and convenient. Taxis are another option, and fares are relatively inexpensive. Lastly, if it appeals to you, renting a bicycle is the best solution for really exploring the city.
Ultra-modern and easy to use, the Beijing Subway is an excellent way to get around the city. At present, the system comprises 21 lines including the Airport Express, serving most city districts. However, trains can be very crowded at rush hours. The system operates from 5 a.m. to midnight. Fares depends on the distance: CNY 3 for the first 6 kilometres (3.7 miles), then CNY 4 for 6 to 12 kilometres (3.7 to 7.4 miles), CNY 5 for 12 to 22 kilometres (7.4 to 13.6 miles), CNY 6 for 22 to 32 kilometres (13.6 to 19.8 miles). Beyond, add CNY 2 by extra 20 kilometres (12.4 miles).
You can access all modes of transportations with the integrated Transportation Smart Card. You need to activate it with a refundable CNY 20-credit. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to credit your card with CNY 50 for a 2-3-day stay, and CNY 100 for a week.
Beijing has an especially dense network of bus lines, which are often very useful to reach places not served by the subway. They usually run from 5 or 5.30 am to 10 or 11 pm. The only problem is that almost all signs are written only in Chinese. Fare depends on the distance: CNY 2 for the first 10 kilometres (6.2 miles). Beyond that, add CNY 1 by extra 5 kilometres (3.1 miles). The maximum fare is CNY 10.
Taxis are plentiful in Beijing. Definitely an option to bear in mind if you need to make a long trip in the city or get around late at night. Taxis charge an initial rate (flag-down fare) of CNY 10.00 covering trips of up to 3 kilometres (2 miles) and CNY 2.00 for each additional kilometre (0.6 miles), plus a fuel surcharge of CNY 3.00.
Although some visitors may be skeptical at first, getting around by bicycle in Beijing is certainly worth a try, at the very least. In fact, bicycles offer an excellent alternative to other modes of transport. There are many bicycle rental companies, cycling paths and bicycling parking stations around the city. Rental kiosks are located near Beijing Subway stations, shopping centres and hotels. Public rental bikes are free for the first hour, then CNY 1 for each extra hour. The maximum fee for a day is just CNY 10.
The international driving license is not recognized in China. Foreigners who wish to drive in China must carry a valid Chinese driving license.
Upon your arrival in Beijing, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.Beijing Tourism Building
Offers practical information and useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).
The official website of the China National Tourist Office (CNTO) provides a wealth of information on Beijing.
The currency used in China is the Yuan (CNY).
£ 1 = ¥ 8.48
¥ 1 = £ 0.12
The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.
See your doctor before you travel. Beijing counts several hospitals and medical institutions, as well as quality medical practitioners and health specialists. If you are under medical treatment, it is recommended to carry sufficient prescribed medicine. It is also recommended to take out insurance covering medical expenses and repatriation before your trip.Vaccinations
There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to China. However, obtaining a booster vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio is strongly recommended. For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:
As a general rule, it is recommended to drink only sealed bottled water.
Citizens or nationals of all but a handful of countries must be in possession of a visa to enter Beijing and China, regardless of the length of their stay. For further information, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China:
To enjoy peace of mind during your stay in Beijing, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country.
Here are a few basic Chinese phrases that will make your stay in Beijing a little easier:
Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon: Nǐ hǎo
Good evening: Wǎnshàng hǎo
No, thank you: Bù, xièxiè
Thank you very much: Fēicháng gǎnxiè
I don't understand: Wǒ bù míngbái
Could you repeat ?: Máfan nín zài chóngfù yībiàn
What time is it ?: Qǐngwèn xiànzài jǐ diǎn ?
Sorry: Bù hǎoyìsi
Train station: Huǒchē zhàn
I'm (…): Wǒ shì (…).
I'm looking for (…): Wǒ zhǎo (…).
How much is (…)?: Qǐngwèn duōshǎo qián (…) ?
Do you have (…)?: Qǐngwèn nín yǒu ma (…) ?
Where can I find (…)?: Qǐngwèn nǎlǐ kěyǐ zhǎodào (…) ?
Where can I buy (…)?: Qǐngwèn nǎlǐ kěyǐ zhǎodào (…) ?
I'd like (…): Wǒ xīwàng (…).
Tipping is not expected in Beijing's restaurants and cafés. On the other hand, it is quite common to thank tour guides and drivers by offering a small gratuity. Of course, the amount you choose to give is entirely up to you.