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Talking About Summer in Chinese Posted by on Jun 20, 2019 in Culture, Vocabulary

Tomorrow is the first day of summer (夏天 – xià tiān). Many students are getting ready to go on summer vacation (暑假 – shǔ jià), so lots of families plan to take a vacation (假期 – jià qī) in the coming months. All over China, people are excited for what the summer months bring. Learn how to chat with people by picking up some useful vocabulary for the season in this post on talking about summer in Chinese.

Summer Activities and Places

Of course, many people like to hit the beach (海滩 – hǎi tān) in the hot summer months. Some like to go swimming (游泳 – yóu yǒng), while others simply want to relax (休息 – xiū xí).

At the Beach in Chinese

Chillin’ on the beach.

Coastal cities with a beach such as Qingdao (青岛 – qīng dǎo) and Xiamen (厦门 – xià mén) are at their busiest over the summer. Just one look at a crowded Chinese beach and you’ll see where the classic Chinglish idiom “people mountain, people sea” (人山人海 – rén shān rén hǎi) comes from.

Traveling (旅游 – lǚ yóu) is definitely one of the most popular summer activities, and not just to the beach. Plenty of people like to go to the mountains (山区 – shān qū) to enjoy some hiking (爬山 – pá shān).

The Tiger Leaping Gorge.

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.

Lots of tourists, both domestic and international, flock to China’s cities in the summer to do some sightseeing (观光 – guān guāng). Places like Beijing (北京 – běi jīng) and Shanghai (上海 – shàng hǎi) are both very popular destinations.

The cities can be hot and crowded during the summer, so many folks choose to escape out to the countryside to go camping (露营 – lù yíng), or maybe head to a nearby lake (湖 – hú) to do some fishing (钓鱼 – diào yú).

Cycling around Shangr-la’s lake.

Of course, there are plenty of people who simply spend their free time in the summer at the local park (公园 – gōng yuán), perhaps cycling (骑自行车 – qí zì xíng chē) or just having a picnic (野餐 – yě cān). Or maybe getting wild on a “Party Bike” in Beijing’s Chaoyang Park…

Amusement parks (游乐园 – yóu lè yuán) are always packed in the summer months in China. As you might expect, water parks (水上乐园 – shuǐ shàng lè yuán) are very popular places as well. There’s always the local swimming pool (游泳池 – yóu yǒng chí) if you don’t feel like dealing with those huge crowds.

The water park inside of Beijing’s Water Cube.

Festivals are all the rage in China these days, especially during the summer months. All over the country, there are several different music festivals (音乐节 – yīn yuè jié) and beer festivals (啤酒节 – pí jiǔ jié) happening in the summer. The Qingdao Beer Festival is one of the biggest in China and is pretty rowdy. Just see for yourself:

Students in China are always busy, and many of them attend a summer camp (夏令营 – xià lìng yíng) of some sort. There’s more studying than capture the flag going on here, though. I teach children ages 5-12 and when I ask them about their summer plans, most of them tell me they will be busy with more lessons and homework!

 

Summer Clothing

If you’re heading to the pool, water park, or the beach, you’ll want to bring your bathing suit (游泳衣 – yóu yǒng yī). Ladies might wear a bikini (比基尼 – bǐ jī ní), and many women in China rock a fashionable “face-kini” to avoid the sun.

Go for a swim on a hot summer day.

During the summer months, many women prefer to wear a dress (连衣裙 – lián yī qún) or a skirt (裙子 – qún zi), while men opt for shorts (短裤 – duǎn kù) and a t-shirt (T恤 – T xù). In the capital, many guys roll up their shirts over their bellies in what’s known as the “Beijing bikini.”

You’ll see a lot of people wearing a hat (帽子 – mào zi), sandals (凉鞋 – liáng xié), and sunglasses (太阳镜 – tài yáng jìng) in the summer.

 

Summer Food & Drink

When it comes to summer food & drink, you just can’t beat BBQ (烧烤 – shāo kǎo). Whether in the park or at the beach, people all over China love firing up the grill during the hot summer months.

Summer fun in China!

As you might expect, ice cream (冰淇淋 – bīng qí lín) is the most popular treat with children. Refreshing fruit like watermelon (西瓜 – xī guā) is also commonly enjoyed in summer.

You might be surprised to hear this, but a lot of people in China don’t really like cold drinks. Even during the hottest months of the summer, many people still drink room temperature or even boiling water. This is because cold drinks are believed to be bad for your qi.

China loves beer.

Not everyone follows this mindset, though. Plenty of people enjoy an iced tea (冰茶 – bīng chá) or a cold glass of lemonade (柠檬水 – níng méng shuǐ). Of course, there’s also plenty of cold beer (冰的啤酒 – bīng de pí jiǔ) to be had during summer.

 

Summer Vocabulary

Here’s a list of all the Chinese summer vocabulary covered in this post for you to study:

summer
summer vacation
vacation
camping
cycling
fishing
picnic
hiking
relax
sightseeing
swimming
traveling
amusement park
beach
lake
mountains
park
swimming pool
summer camp
water park
music festival
beer festival
bathing suit
bikini
dress
hat
sandals
shorts
skirt
sunglasses
t-shirt
BBQ
cold beer
ice cream
iced tea
lemonade
watermelon

夏天
暑假
假期
露营
骑自行车
钓鱼
野餐
爬山
休息
观光
游泳
旅游
游乐园
海滩

山区
公园
游泳池
夏令营
水上乐园
音乐节
啤酒节
游泳衣
比基尼
连衣裙
帽子
凉鞋
短裤
裙子
太阳镜
T恤
烧烤
冰的啤酒
冰淇淋
冰茶
柠檬水
西瓜
xià tiān
shǔ jià
jià qī
lù yíng
qí zì xíng chē
diào yú
yě cān
pá shān
xiū xí
guān guāng
yóu yǒng
lǚ yóu
yóu lè yuán
hǎi tān

shān qū
gōng yuán
yóu yǒng chí
xià lìng yíng
shuǐ shàng lè yuán
yīn yuè jié
pí jiǔ jié
yóu yǒng yī
bǐ jī ní
ián yī qún
mào zi
liáng xié
duǎn kù
qún zi
tài yáng jìng
T xù
shāo kǎo
bīng de pí jiǔ
bīng qí lín
bīng chá
níng méng shuǐ
xī guā

See if you can use some of this vocabulary (or other Chinese words you know!) to answer a few questions:

夏天的时候…
你喜欢做什么?
你要去哪里?
你穿什么衣服?
你喜欢吃什么东西?

xià tiān de shí hòu…
nǐ xǐ huān zuò shén me
nǐ yào qù nǎ lǐ
nǐ chuān shén me yī fú
nǐ xǐ huān chī shén me dōng xī

In the summer…
What do you like to do?
Where do you want to go?
What clothes do you wear?
What things do you like to eat?

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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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