In recent weeks, those living in China have learned that snow can completely shut even the largest cities down; government heating is now barely adequate in staving off the cold; and sweet potatoes sold on the street invariably double as hand warmers. What can travelers to China do to make their China trip in the cold winter months enjoyable, safe, and meaningful?
1) Familiarize yourself with alternate transportation modes and have resources handy. Beijing’s residents were completely unprepared a week ago when taxi cabs across the city disappeared to avoid the January snow. Lesson learned? Keep a subway map on you, ask your guide/concierge for bus suggestions, hire a car if you’d like, and don’t rule out rickshaws – they may be your ticket home if all else fails.
2) Take advantage of the fact that many people are avoiding the cold. China is never entirely calm, empty, or spacious – but winter means quieter months for tourism. One can expect somewhat shorter lines, more room, and (maybe) a little more peace and quiet when visiting monuments, museums, and other attractions.
3) Make reservations early and often. The cold weather means that casually searching for a hotel/hostel and strolling to find a good restaurant are no more; travelers want to make sure that they have confirmed places to stay warm when not out sightseeing. Be sure to plan accommodations, and make any other preferred reservations, farther in advance than you would otherwise, especially in areas that are very popular with tourists.
Photo credit: WallpapersUp
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