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Best Places to Visit in China in the Summer Posted by on Jul 19, 2017 in Culture

Summer is here, and it’s a great time to travel in China. Sure, it’s a busy time of year, but that’s always the case in the world’s most populous country. In my 5+ years of living in China, I ended up doing most of my traveling during the summer months. Here are a few of the best places to visit in China in the summer, with links to more detailed posts and some videos to check out.

Beach

In the hot summer months, most people just want to find a beach. In China, get ready to see where the old Chinglish idiom “people mountain, people sea” (人山人海 – rén shān rén hǎi) comes from when you see how crowded the beach can get. That being said, if you can deal with the crowds there are plenty of places to have an awesome beach holiday in China.

Xiamen

A view of the Xiamen skyline.

While much of Fujian remains isolated and less developed, Xiamen (厦门 – xià mén) has thrived and is a bustling city for both business and tourism. Centered on Xiamen island, there are also four other districts on the mainland plus the small island of Gulangyu (鼓浪屿 – gǔ làng yǔ). Most tourists spend a majority of their time here. There’s more to do in Xiamen, however, including beaches, parks, and temples, so you could easily spend a few days here.

Qingdao

Summertime, and the livin’s easy.

Exploring beautiful churches and other historical landmarks, lounging on the beach, eating delicious seafood, and partying at a massive beer festival. That’s what summertime in Qingdao (青岛 – qīng dǎo) is like. Just be warned that it is a very popular place to visit, especially during the beer fest. That being said, my two trips to Qingdao in August were two of the best times I had while living in China. Check out some highlights from the beer festival and start planning your trip:

Adventure

If you’re like me, you think that sitting on the beach gets boring before too long. Give me an adventure over a beach any day! Here are a few great spots for adventure-lovers in China.

Guangxi

The Dragon’s Backbone

The autonomous region of Guangxi (广西 – guǎng xī) is the perfect spot for a summer adventure. You can start off exploring the city of Guilin (桂林 – guì lín) for a day or so – just make sure to eat the famous rice noodles. Catch the bus or take a raft along the Li River to the scenic town of Yangshuo (阳朔 – yáng shuò), where you can spend your days cycling, hiking, playing in the river, and enjoying the raucous nightlife. Wind it all down with a hike in the beautiful Longji Rice Terraces (龙脊梯田 – lóng jí tī tián) – a landscape so amazing you’ll have to see it in person to believe it’s real.

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Making our way down.

When it comes to adventures, it’s hard to beat a hike of Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡 – hǔ tiào xiá) in Yunnan province. Walk high up in the mountains gazing down at the rushing Yangtze River and then come down the next day to see the spot where a tiger supposedly leapt over it. The scenery out here is absolutely breathtaking!

City Life

While the concrete jungle can be incredibly hot during the summer months, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit any cities on your trip! Plus, if you’re flying to China from another country, chances are you’ll have to start and finish your trip in one of the big cities anyways.

Beijing

Beijing doesn’t look so bad from up here.

It’s true that the capital of Beijing (北京 – běi jīng) gets so hot in the summer that guys roll up their shirts over their bellies in what’s known as the “Beijing bikini.” Go ahead and join them if you’re feeling the heat! Summertime in Beijing is best spent outside of the ring roads. There are plenty of awesome day trips you can take, such as rafting and bungee jumping out at Shi Du or hiking around the Red Snail Temple.

Shanghai

The awesome Shanghai skyline.

Shanghai (上海 – shàng hǎi) is definitely the most cosmopolitan, modern city in mainland China. You can spend a day or two admiring the new skyline on one side of the Huangpu River and the Bund on the other for a mix of historic and futuristic architecture. Come hungry, because there’s lots of delicious food being cooked up here. Check out some cheap eats in Shanghai in this short video:

A great part about visiting Shanghai is its proximity to other amazing places. You can visit some scenic water towns, hike the Yellow Mountain, or check out other famous cities like Suzhou (苏州 – sū zhōu) or Hangzhou (杭州 – háng zhōu). Thanks to China’s lightning-quick high speed rail network, you can do a lot with only four or five days in this area.

 

 

Have you been to China in the summer? Where did you go? Which places were your favorite? Let us know!

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


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