When most Chinese cities begin to suffer through the dog days (the hottest days of the year in Chinese lunar calendar), the following places are enjoying agreeable temperatures and picturesque scenery. Don’t hesitate, just pack up and enjoy a cool getaway.
No.1 Qingdao, Shandong
Located on the southern coastline of the Shandong Peninsula and facing the Yellow Sea, Qingdao features “red tiled buildings and green trees, azure sea and blue sky”, and is dubbed as “Eastern Switzerland”. With its seafront promenades, winding colonial streets, and pretty parks, Qingdao is probably one of China’s best cities for strolling. Here, you can visit various scenic spots, such as Mountain Laoshan, Badaguan Scenic Area, Zhanqiao Pier, and May 4th Square, and so on. Of course, it’s also home to ‘that’ beer…the ubiquitous Tsingtao. Every August, the International Beer Festival is held in Qingdao, which attracts millions of travelers at home and abroad to enjoy the carnival.
Summer is the best time to visit Qingdao and enjoy the beach. After July, the seawater warms, and the temperature stays between 20 and 28°C.
No.2 Changbai Mountain, Jilin
Located on the border between China and North Korea, Changbai Mountain is well-known for its snowy scenery, cool summers and an abundance of mineral springs, and is considered as the most famous mountain in northeast China. With an average altitude of 2,000 meters, Changbai Mountain has rich biodiversity, vertical zonal distribution of plants, and a great variety of wild animals due to the varied topography, soil, weather and other natural conditions.
The centerpiece of Changbai Mountain is the spellbinding Heaven Lake (Tianchi). Leaf-like shaped, and slightly elliptical, it is a naturally formed crater lake after the eruption of the volcano, resembling a jasper-colored lotus flower nestled among the 16 peaks of Changbai Mountain. Heaven Lake’s beauty and mystical reputation, including its Lake Tianchi Monster (Loch Ness Monster-type creatures), lures visitors from all over China, as well as many South Koreans.
No.3 Dalian, Liaoning
Dalian, perched on the Liaodong Peninsula and bordering the Yellow Sea, is one of the most relaxed and liveable cities in the northeast. It is famous for its agreeable climate – neither too cold in winter nor too hot in summer, clean air, beautiful beaches, sea breezes and fresh seafood. A coastline stretching 1,906 kilometers offers a huge choice of beaches and scenic spots. The most famous scenic spots include Tiger Beach Ocean Park, Shengya Ocean World, Bingyu Valley, Bangchui Island and Jinshitan Scenic Area. Dalian is also known for its soccer, which explains the large sculpture of football you will see around.
No.4 Mount Emei, Sichuan
Mount Emei, located 150 km away from Chengdu, is one of the four most famous Buddhist mountains in China, together with Wutai Moutain in Shanxi Province, Jiuhua Mountain in Anhui Province and Putuo Mountain in Zhejiang Province. In 1996, Mount Emei was designated as a World Heritage Site because of its breathtaking scenery, mysterious natural wonders and historical Buddhist sites. There are more than 3,000 kinds of plants and over 2,000 species of animals, making the mountain a huge natural arboretum and a kingdom for wild animals.
The landscape changes markedly with the seasons. Most people come to Mount Emei in the summer, when the vegetation is a dense, lush green. Although the weather is warm, it is an ideal place to get a refreshing escape from higher temperatures on the surrounding plains.
No.5 Hulunbuir Grassland, Inner Mongolia
Hulunbuir Grassland, located in northeastern Inner Mongolia, is considered to be the “most unsullied grassland” in China. Named after the Hulun and Buir lakes, the grassland features the beautiful scenery of vast grassland, forests, rivers and lakes, as well as the unique custom of the Mongolian ethnic group. In summer, the grassland is green, dotted with colorful flowers. You will see birds soaring up in the blue sky, and cattle and sheep scattering among the grasses. Besides enjoying the beautiful scenery, you can also participate in various local activities, including horseback and camelback riding, horse racing and wrestling.
No.6 Shennongjia Nature Reserve, Hubei
Famed for its medicinal plants and legendary wild man (ye ren), Shennongjia is likely to be the wildest of your experiences in Hubei Province. Lying between the transitional region of the northern subtropical and warm temperate zone, the Shennongjia Nature Reserve has more than 3,000 species of plants, 300 kinds of animals, and hundreds of insects. Shennongjia is probably one of very few virgin temperate forests remaining in the world. Walking in the virgin forests is an incredible experience for nature lovers. The Shennong Crest (Shennongding), located in the middle part of the Reserve with the elevation of 3,105 m, has been known to be the first peak of Central China.
No.7 Mogao Caves at Dunhuang, Gansu
Carved out of the cliffs 25 km southeast of Dunhuang, Gansu Province, Mogao Caves or Mogao Grottoes is one of the three notable grottoes in China and also the largest, best preserved and richest treasure house of Buddhist art in the world. In 366 AD during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317—420), a monk began to chisel the first cave. The work continued from Northern Wei Dynasty (386—534) to the Yuan Dynasty (1206—1368). After more than 1,000 years, 492 caves remain today, containing about 2,100 colored statues and 45,000 square meters of murals. In Dunhuang, you can enjoy the exquisite caves and experience the unique culture of the ancient Silk Road.
No.8 Qinghai Lake, Qinghai
Covering an area of 4,583 sq km, Qinghai Lake is the largest inland lake and the largest salt-water lake in China. It lies 4,500 meters above the sea level on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, surrounded by four mountain ranges. As one of the top five most beautiful lakes in China, Qinghai Lake attracts millions of ornithologists, botanists and travelers to see migrating birds and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The climate surrounding the lake is very cool even in the middle of the summer, which is the reason why it is often selected as an ideal summer resort. Tour de Qinghai Lake International Road Cycling Race is held every summer.