You, too, can cool off — for a price

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CHINA DAILY

Shang­hai res­i­dent Wang Liyun made one of the most hasty travel de­ci­sions of her life when she ap­plied for an­nual leave, es­caped the heat and took shel­ter with her fam­ily in Qing­dao, Shan­dong prov­ince.

Tor­tured by the heat wave that has broiled east­ern China for about two weeks, the 35-year-old bank worker booked a flight and left Shang­hai with her son on Fri­day, when the mer­cury there surged to a record high 40.9 C.

With­out doubt, the trip was costly — 1,200 yuan ($178) per day on av­er­age. Her to­tal ex­penses in the sea­side city north of Shang­hai were higher than a trip to Ja­pan.

“We had to stay in the bud­get ho­tels with poor air-con­di­tion­ers and fa­cil­i­ties be­cause the star ho­tels were fully booked,” Wang said. “But I am still very happy be­cause I didn’t have to tol­er­ate the swel­ter­ing weather in Shang­hai. Walk­ing along the shore at night was very com­fort­able.”

The re­cent high tem­per­a­tures in east­ern China are push­ing the wealthy in Shang­hai and some other cities to cooler places for short va­ca­tions.

Ac­cord­ing Ctrip, a ma­jor on­line travel agency, Shang­hai, Bei­jing and Chengdu are the top three cities with the most peo­ple trav­el­ing to es­cape the heat this sum­mer. Cooler places, in­clud­ing Qing­dao, Kun­ming in Yun­nan prov­ince, Qin­huang­dao in He­bei prov­ince, Xi­a­men in Fu­jian prov­ince and the Ti­bet au­ton­o­mous re­gion are their most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions.

Ho­tels near these des­ti­na­tions are vir­tu­ally full, and some pop­u­lar rooms are booked un­til early Au­gust.

On Tu­niu, an­other on­line travel agency, the most fre­quent key­word is bishu, or es­cape the heat. Searches have in­creased 52 per­cent week-on­week the agency said.

It added that do­mes­tic travel routes of eight to 15 days are the most pop­u­lar this sum­mer.

Out­bound tourism is also a choice for many this sum­mer, as Africa has gained the at­ten­tion of Chi­nese tourists.

“South Africa be­came a pop­u­lar travel des­ti­na­tion in re­cent years. Dur­ing China’s sum­mer, the av­er­age tem­per­a­ture there is about 10 C,” said Liu Qing­tian, a tour guide from Bei­jing who will lead a group to the coun­try on Thurs­day.

For those in the mid­dle class who can­not af­ford a lav­ish va­ca­tion, seek­ing shel­ter at a high-end ho­tel in a nearby city is an­other choice.

Lux­ury ho­tels with in­de­pen­dent swim­ming pools, as well as spe­cialty food and cour­te­ous ser­vice have key ad­van­tages, Ctrip said.

Also, some peo­ple worry about stay­ing out of the heat when the va­ca­tion ends. On Mon­day, Shang­hai is­sued a red alert, the high­est of four lev­els, for the sec­ond time this year when the mer­cury in the land­mark Xu­ji­ahui area jumped to 40.2 C.

The Shang­hai Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ser­vice said things won’t cool down un­til the end of the month.

“There’s no an­nual va­ca­tion left this year,” Wang said. “To es­cape the up­com­ing heat, I may have to choose a road trip to nearby places like Chong­ming Is­land or Qingpu dis­trict.”

To es­cape the up­com­ing heat, I may have to choose a road trip to nearby places like Chong­ming Is­land or Qingpu dis­trict.” Wang Liyun, bank em­ployee

He Qi in Shang­hai con­trib­uted to this story.


Tourists in Min­ion cos­tumes en­joy leisure time on rub­ber rafts at a river­side scenic zone in Lianyuan, Hu­nan prov­ince, on Mon­day.

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