The Weather

Weather is one of the first concerns many people have about living in China. Are their seasons the same as ours? How cold does it get? How hot does it get?

The first thing you need to know is, as shown on the map below, China and the U.S. are both in the Northern hemisphere so they experience the seasons at the same time.


You’ll also notice that the Northern portion of China is pretty far North and therefore will get super cold in the winter. Whereas the Southern portion is close enough to the equator to be extremely hot in the summer.

The graph below compares the averages temperatures in Beijing and Shanghai to Denver. As you can see, Shanghai is warmer in general while Beijing is colder in the winters and warmer in the summers.


Travel China Guide has an awesome weather map that will show the temperature for the coming 3 days in many large cities . You might check it out before your trip. It will help you know how to pack.


During the winter months, you’ll meet few natives with less than 3 layers of clothes. This little girl, for instance, is wearing 4 layers while were were inside a building on Halloween day. Many places in China do not have central air or heating, so if it’s hot outside its going to be hot inside, if it’s cold outside it’s going to be cold inside. It’s is also very humid in most places so if you’re cold you’re going to be very cold and if you’re hot you’re going to be very hot, and sweaty. There’s not much you can do about the heat, but if you’re going to be traveling during the winter I would suggest taking a nice coat and a set of thermals.


There are a billion mom and pop stores everywhere, but the stores listed below are the stores that are available in all moderately populated cities.

Typical grocery stores:

You can buy groceries and common household items here. Many of them also have jewelry, handbag, and pottery shops attached to them.




Chain Malls:

Wanda plazas aren’t just malls, they’re city blocks with door-to-door shops and stores.



Similar to dollar stores:

Miniso is my best friend. You can get lots of knick knacks and household items for just a few kuai.


Foreign grocery chains:

These stores are nice to visit if you’re wanting to cook Western food at home. Sometimes they require a membership card that you’ll need your passport to apply for.



Metro China Logo


Outdoors and sports:

Think Cabela’s or Big 5 Sporting Goods.


The Complete List

IMG_8534There are a million packing lists out there. Some of them are helpful and most of them are redundant. Because this is a travel blog I have to add my list, right? Yes! So, here goes, below is my personal packing list. It’s fairly extensive, but in my defense, this is a packing list for a full year.



  • Shirts x 10
  • Pants x 5
  • Shorts
  • Jammies x 2
  • Exercise x 2
  • Skirts x 4
  • Dresses x 3
  • Undies x 8
  • Bras x 5
  • Socks x 8
  • Tights x 2
  • Winter coat
  • Rain jacket
  • Thermals x 2
  • Belt



  • Tennis shoes
  • Chacos
  • Flip flops
  • Waterproof boots
  • Hiking boots
  • Flats



  • First aid kit
  • Vitamins
  • Tampons
  • Midol
  • Tylenol
  • Allergy meds
  • Sunscreen
  • Pepto Bismol

Woman Stuff


  • Straightener
  • Lotion
  • Make up
  • Deodorant
  • Dry shampoo
  • 1 Necklace
  • 5 Earrings

Bathroom Stuff


  • Towel
  • Razor + extra heads
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash


  • Cell phone
  • Laptop
  • External charger
  • Headphones
  • Earbuds
  • Universal adapter
  • All chargers

Church Stuff


  • Recommend
  • PMG

Docs to have on hand


  • Passport
  • Boarding pass
  • Debit card
  • Credit card
  • Password log
  • $200



  • Big check in bag
  • Backpack
  • Day bag
  • Luggage scale



  • Lap blankie
  • Water bottle
  • Presents for friends
    • Scented lotion
    • Chapstick
    • Candy
    • Wallet pictures
  • Deck of cards

Packing: What You Can and Can’t Find in China


(This is a picture of everything my sister and I took home after living in China for a year. You don’t want this much luggage, it was hecka annoying to cart around.)

Packing is one of the most important parts of preparing for your trip, so prepare yourself for a bunch of posts on the subject. We’ll start out with a couple simple lists of things you can and cannot buy in China.

Things you CAN buy in China (a.k.a. don’t pack these things).

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap/body wash
  • Hair ties
  • Toilet paper
  • Hair dryers
  • Wet wipes
  • Laundry Soap
  • Shower shoes
  • Water bottles
  • Notebooks
  • Pens

And now for a list of things you CANNOT buy in China.

  • Tampons
  • Deodorant
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Good shoes
  • Clothes over size 8
  • Quality phone chargers
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Tums
  • Cold and Flu meds
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit
  • Pain reliever
  • Hand sanitizer