Beijing is somewhere I have always wanted to visit. The idea of walking The Great Wall of China has been something that has called to me for such a long time, alongside wanted to see the wonder that is the Forbidden City and see where history unfolded at Tiananmen Square. However something that had put me off was the thought of the air quality and the pollution in Beijing. This is something that is particularly troubling for travelers with asthma. We did a lot of research before going and prepared ourselves for what to do in case the pollution was bad when we were there so here are our top tips for traveling with asthma to Beijing.
Note: al travellers with health issues should consult their doctors before travel! Advice below is what we found helpful but should not constitute medical advice
Useful resources when visiting Beijing with asthma
When you are in Beijing it is pretty easy to gauge the quality of the air just by looking out of the window. There is an unmistakeable yellow haze that paints the sky and visibility becomes severely reduced. However it is important to know exactly how bad the pollution levels are. We used two main resources to monitor the air pollution levels while we were in Beijing. The first is run by the US State Department and has a useful guide on interpreting the air pollution numbers.
We also downloaded the Air Visual App which provided hourly updates on pollution levels and was easy to use and understand. I am told that this is an app on all Beijingers phones. I love the fact that you can compare air quality across cities and is handy to know the difference between the air you are use to and the destination you are going to. It covers most major cities globally.
For more essential apps when travelling to China check out these posts!
What to do in Beijing if the air quality is poor
While we were in Beijing the air quality was rated as very unhealthy. Traveling with two asthmatics and one person who was still recovering from the flu the air quality was a big consideration on what we did while in Beijing. If the air quality is poor and the pollution levels high in Beijing while you are there it is advisable to stick to more indoor activities and use transportation rather than walking to attractions as exertion in bad quality air is unadvisable.
We also found having a good hotel was an essential when traveling to Beijing. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt and we found that the hotel played a large part in us having a great time in Beijing when the air quality was poor. The hotel was attached to a mall so it meant we could go out without going outside and most importantly it had an absolutely fantastic pool. This meant the whole family could be entertained even in bad weather.
Luckily, we have much better air quality when we were visiting the Great Wall of China on a cold crisp day.
Looking for more places in Asia to visit with kids? Then check out this post!
Have you been to Beijing when the air quality was poor? What do you recommend doing? What other tips do you have for traveling with asthma?
Interested in visiting China or maybe working there? Then check out this guide
Saturday 9th of March 2019
Hello, My name is Ivet and I am going to China (Beijing, Shanghai) in less than a month. I’m astmatic and I often have panic attacks as well. Travelling to such destination is quite risky for me. So I’d like to ask about the pollution. Is it really that bad and how it feels like? Is it more like choky or teasing? And maybe what can I do in case of emergency? Thank you for the answer, Ivet