China is more than a country. It’s a different world, a land where the civilisation dates back more than 6,000 years, the source of inventions such as paper, gunpowder, the compass and printing, and home to such wonders as the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Warriors, the Imperial Palace in Beijing and Mount Lushan.
It is also a country that is becoming the next great superpower almost by the minute. The rate of modernisation is breathtaking, with cities such as Beijing and Shanghai under a canopy of cranes, their shapes changing almost daily. The Chinese are building the world’s longest transoceanic bridge, from Ningbo to Shanghai, the biggest dam, at the Three Gorges, and one of the world’s tallest buildings, the Shanghai World Financial Centre.
This year’s big event in Beijing, the Olympic Games, showcased this extraordinary growth. Now, keen to capitalise on China’s emergence as a holiday and business destination, several airlines offer increasingly cheap flights to China (Beijing and Shanghai) from the UK.
Search and compare: cheap flights to China
China is a very large country, with climates ranging from tropical and subtropical climates in the south to subarctic in the north and the Himalayas. The southern coast has heavy rains, with lighter rains in the west. The monsoon season lasts from July through September and affects the southern coasts. The north has warm, dry days and cool evenings while the south has cooler but more humid days.
The peak domestic travel seasons, when the Chinese travel, include Chinese New Year, Labour Day, and National Day. The New Year occurs in January / February. The Labour Day and National Day dates vary, but are around May 1 and October 1. Hong Kong’s high season is October through December. Despite the heat and humidity, summer is the peak season for Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
Hong Kong’s off seasons are summer and winter. Conventions and trade fairs, however, book the best hotels, particularly in March and April. Winter in Beijing and Shanghai is the off season, and hotels offer substantial discounts. The best time to search for cheap flights to China is autumn when the weather is gorgeous and there are few tourists.
Flying is the best way to cover large distances in China. With more than 470 airports and international and regional carriers, China flights are frequent and reduced fares available. Buses are available and sometimes provide faster service than trains. Trains range in service from express with all the services to slower and no-frills.
(prices quotes are from London)