Chinese Language Blog

Wet Hot Chinese Summer Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

Summer (夏天 – xià tiān) is in full swing in China. All across the country, dudes are letting their bellies hang out to cool off and ladies are swimming in the sea with their face-kinis on. The beaches are packed, as are popular tourist sights such as the Great Wall and Jiuzhaigou National Park. Summer is a busy and fun time, as children enjoy their long holiday, families head out on vacation, and people all over the country get out to enjoy the warm weather. Here are a few posts to get you excited for and talking about summer in China:

Chinese Summer Vocabulary

Qingdao in summertime - "people mountain people sea."

Qingdao in summertime – “people mountain people sea.”

Build your vocabulary by studying this post that includes a bunch of summer words. Study the vocab list, answer the practice questions, and get out there to talk about summer in Chinese.

Summer Olympics

Beijing Olympics 2008

Beijing Olympics 2008

This year marks the return of the Summer Olympics (夏季奥运会 – xià jì ào yùn huì), which will be held in Rio de Janeiro (里约热内卢 – lǐ yuē rè nèi lú). This post includes all of the Chinese words for the various events and prizes that are a part of the Olympics.

Summer Fun in and Around Beijing

Summer fun on Houhai.

Summer fun on Houhai.

The summer months are tons of fun in Beijing. Whether you’re hanging out in a local park, cruising a paddle boat around Houhai, or hiking in the mountains that surround the city, you’re sure to have a good time in the Beijing summer. Check out “5 Awesome Beijing Day Trips” in this short video, including the Fragrant Hills and Shi Du:

Popular Summer Destinations

A collage of Beidaihe and Nandaihe.

A collage of Beidaihe and Nandaihe.

The summer months are a big time for traveling in China. Not surprisingly, some of the most popular destinations are located on the coast. For Beijingers, an easy-to-reach spot is Beidaihe (北戴河 – běi dài hé) or Nandaihe (南戴河 – nán dài hé) in Hebei province. Here you can hang out on the beach, go for a swim, have a seafood BBQ, and dance around a campfire at night.

It's nice and hot in Xiamen in the summertime.

It’s nice and hot in Xiamen in the summertime.

Another spot that draws in tourists in the summer is Xiamen (厦门 – xià mén). This coastal city in southeast China’s Fujian province has a small island you can visit, plenty of beaches, fun night markets, and much more. See more of Xiamen in this video highlighting the “Streets, Beats & Eats” of the city:

Dali Yunnan

Beautiful Dali

It’s not all about the sea and the beach in the summer months, as many choose to spend their vacation cooling off up in the mountains instead. There are plenty of options for breathing in the fresh mountain air in China, but perhaps none are more popular than Yunnan province. With two weeks in Yunnan, you can visit the Spring City (Kunming), Dali, Lijiang, the Tiger Leaping Gorge, and Shangri-la.

Amazing scenery in Yangshuo.

Amazing scenery in Yangshuo.

One of my personal favorite places to visit in the summer months is scenic Yangshuo (阳朔 – yáng shuò) in Guangxi. Sure, there’s an insane amount of tourists there, but I can think of at least 10 reasons why Yangshuo is still awesome. Exploring this area away from the crowded town reveals some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, so rent some wheels and hit the road. See what a Li River cruise and motorbike trip around Yangshuo looks like in this video:


Now you’ve got tons of Chinese summer related vocabulary and plenty of ideas for how to spend the summer months in the Middle Kingdom. If you’ve got any other ideas or comments about summertime in China, feel free to post them below!

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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.


  1. Peter Simon:

    Another nice post. However, I have to ask you something: has anything changed substantially since I worked in China for 3 year more than a decade ago? Then, most children (and teachers too) were dragged into summer schools, camps, you name it. My friends are there now on ‘holiday’ and, being musicians, have kindly been asked to give regular guitar and singing lessons to kids by their parents in two large cities where they spend time. I usually feel sorry for Chinese children otherwise too, as, for example, I’ve never seen proper playgrounds for little ones in lots of cities I visited (though this friend of mine insists there are some) and sand in playgrounds is definitely non-existent (this is a basic reason for this friend’s abhorrence on seeing her kids playing in the sand all the time, even in nursery school). So a big reason Chinese kids should enjoy the beaches, but can they really make it there??? OK, I know Chinese kids start school at 7 and here in the Netherlands at 4, so the little uns could be taken along, still, how about school children?

    I’d appreciate an answer. P

  2. sasha:

    Peter, Thanks for the comment. Kids in China are definitely pushed to do summer camps, summer school, extra lessons, etc. And yes, you don’t really see proper playgrounds too often, although there seem to be more and more in bigger parks such as Chaoyang Park in Beijing. That being said, people definitely take time off to travel in the summer. In summer trips to places I’ve mentioned above (Xiamen, Yangshuo, Lijiang), the crowds were huge, and there were plenty of children. I assume a lot of families fill the summer with things like camps and extra lessons plus leave a week or two for family vacations. I’m back in the US this summer and definitely don’t miss the crowds that show up in China in the warmer months!

  3. Peter Simon:

    Thanks, Sasha, so things change only slowly for kids. I understand your not missing the crowds – for me, one winter holiday season was already one too many back then, and then found that even during less outstanding holidays, crowds were always a drag.

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