Most of tourists would like to do some readings on weather condition before planning their trips to China. They always wonder when to visit China or what is the best season of China. Actually you can hardly get a definite or fixed answer for “best time”. Everyone has their own preferences depending on the destination, the way of traveling and personal hobby.
Most of us hate the cold winter while some do enjoy themselves in the ice-snow world. When you would rather stay in an air-conditioned environment to keep away from the horrible heat, others prefer to expose themselves under the sunshine on the beach.
In the vast central part of China，there are four distinctive seasons. Spring is from March to May, followed by summer from June to August. Autumn is around September to early November and winter comes at the end of the year from December through to February. Because of its size, China has great climatic diversity.
In general, the best time to visit China is during spring in April and May, autumn in September and October when temperatures are not in an extreme situation. Tourists can enjoy their trips with pleasant climate and comfortable temperature.
The tourist seasons are roughly divided into three sections according to the real climate and weather condition. The diverse prices based on the season’s division are listed clearly in our itinerary details. No matter which season you visit China, you would be encountered with some of the most exquisite sceneries. Kindly note that the pleasant climates will usually also be accompanied by more crowds of tourists and expensive cost. On the contrary, you can obtain the benefits from the lower cost and flexible choice if you don’t care the influence of weather condition and be willing to enjoy your tour in low and shoulder seasons.
Tourist Seasons Division
High Season: September 1- October 31
Shoulder Season: March 1-August 31, November 01- November 15
Low Season: November 16- February 28
High season refers to the best time of the year in autumn months from September to October. They are also peak tourist months at China’s most popular destinations. The price during the high season ranks the highest of the year. Many international exhibitions and conferences will be held in this period. Tourists should do all the bookings in advance due to the limited hotel rooms and air tickets.
Prices drop a bit in the shoulder season which runs from March to May in spring months and from June through to August in summer months. Spring is definitely the best time to visit China. We would like to recommend spring in April and May for your kind consideration. You can enjoy the best sceneries with a favorable price under the pleasant weather condition. Sometimes you might be disturbed by intermittent spring shower in the southern part of Yangtze River.
Although summer also belongs to the shoulder season, the weather is really hot, especially in eastern and southern part of China. Most of youth and backpackers prefer to travel during the summer vacation. Summer months are the peak season for trips to the west undeveloped Region. It is a great time to explore the northwest along ancient Silk Road and mystical Tibet Region. The climate of Tibet and the mountainous areas of western China are most comfortable from June through to September.
Prices drop a lot in the low season which runs from late November through to February in winter months. The weather is quite cold in large part of China except the south. Sometimes we have to suffer from the disturbance of the foggy haze, sand storm and heavy snow. This is why we do not recommend your trip to China in winter months although the price is attractively low. However, the winter months are peak season for trips to the south region Hainan Island for sun bath and to the northeast Harbin for its world-famous ice-lantern festival.
You should try to avoid some special periods which will cause you into overcrowded situation. First of all, the golden week, namely National Day Holiday from 1 October to 7 October, when all people in China seem to move around. Also Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) in late January or February should also be avoided since more and more families take a trip rather than staying at home.
The third is the influence of regional conference and exhibition. The Canton Fair held biannually in Guangzhou every spring from 14 April to 05 May, and autumn from 14 October to 05 November. The limited influence will occur in Guangzhou and its surrounding areas. China Food and Drinks Fair held yearly in Chengdu every spring from 28 March to 31 March. The limited influence will occur in Chengdu and its surrounding areas.
At these time you can expect the difficulties of hotel reservation, ticket booking and traffic condition. The prices are frequently much higher than usual. The hotel rates are flexible based on daily occupancy. If you have to visit China during these periods or attend the Fairs for business, you should do advanced booking for everything.
China lies mainly in the northern temperate zone under the influence of monsoon winds. It features clear temperature differences in winter and summer. In winter, northerly winds coming from high latitude areas are cold and dry, and in summer, southerly winds from sea areas at lower longitudes are warm and moist. In addition, the climate in China differs from region to region because of the country's extensive and complex topography.
In north China, summers are short but there is quite a lot of sunshine, whereas the winters are long and cold. In south China, rains are abundant and the temperature is high all the year round. We can hardly say winter real exists in somewhere like Hainan Island. In west China, climate is distinctive sharply. Precipitation is quite limited in northwest China where it is cold in winter but hot in summer. Instead southwest China of low latitudes has characteristically vertical seasonal zones. Subtropical and humid monsoon climate brings humidity and abundant rainfall.
Normally the vast China is divided into five main climate regions with North and Centre, South，East, Southeast and Southwest. The climate in regions differs from each other. We would like to explain the features of each region and help you get to know more about climate and seasonal divisions in China.
This is a very large region with similar climate situation from the northernmost province Heilongjiang to the northern bank of Yangtze River. The Yangtze River serves as China's official dividing line between north and south. The four seasons present their warm in spring and autumn, hot in summer and cold in winter. Most of historical cities are dotted in this region, such as Beijing, Xian, Luoyang, Pingyao, Datong, Mt. Wutaishan, Harbin, Shenyang, Dalian, Hohhot, Tianjin, Qingdao, Jinan, Mt. Taishan, Taiyuan, Zhengzhou, Kaifeng.
The best time with pleasant climate and comfortable temperature appears in May, September and October. Weather is mild in April and early November, both hot and cool in summer from June through to August, cold in winter from late November till March. The extreme cold situation may occur from December to February with strong wind and heavy snow. For most tourists, the months from April to early November are suitable for travel, but some of snow lovers prefer cold winter from December to February. It is hard to say which one is the best season in this region.
Spring is the season of flowers. The cities of vast centre area look like the legendary beauties in spring months of April and May. Countless colorful peonies bloom everywhere and decorate the ancient city Luoyang. Xian is surrounded by flaming red of pomegranate flowers.
Summer from June through to August is long enough with the average temperature at 30C, hot at day time but cool at night which is actually a very pleasant climate we expect.
Autumn is definitely the best and attractive season in Beijing. October is the golden month of Beijing with a brilliant blue sky, cleaner and softer wind, as well as tender and warm sunshine.
Northern winter from late November to early March is extremely cold. Beijing frequently experiences temperature of -15C with dry air. Further north finding -20C in famous city Harbin or Mongolia Region on the thermometer is common. The buildings and all kinds of vehicles are well equipped with heater or air-conditioned facilities. Temperature difference between indoor and outdoor are sharp which might make you feel uncomfortable.
It seems most of tourist do not like the chilly weather but north China is a hottest destination for fans of winter sports. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, Ice-Lantern Festival present many awarded works of ice and snow sculpture in January every year. People enjoy various winter sports and activities from December to February.
South China is the hottest region and a favorite place to avoid chilly winter. The seasons in southern China are not distinguished sharply except summer. Guilin，Yangshuo, Longsheng, Sanjiang, Hong Kong, Macao, Sanya, Haikou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Longyan(Tulou), Mt. Wuyishan & Fuzhou can be included in this region.
The best time with pleasant climate and comfortable temperature appears in March, April, May, September, October and November. Weather is mild in March, April and early December, hot from June through to September, cold in winter from late December till early February with acceptable lowest temperature of 5C somewhere. Four seasons appear and quit serenely without obvious symbol. You can visit this region all the year round if you don’t care about the hot weather in summer.
Summer is actually from late May through to September and is generally hot and humid. Along southeast coast, summer is the season of typhoon especially between the months of July and September. The unforeseen typhoons might disturb your tour schedule with flight delay or cancellation. Most of tourists think the humid summer with extreme high temperature rising to 38C is inappropriate season for traveling but is acceptable for sunbathe.
Winter in the south from January to February is short with mild and wet climate. Snow has never visited most part of the region. The temperature has never reached the freezing point. The region is filled with the endless green, flourishing plants and vegetation.
South China is the hottest destination for escaping from cold winter. Hainan Island is famed of sun and beach, is the only place to enjoy sunbathe in frozen winter. Sanya boasts its tropical ambiance and tropical marine climate with pleasant temperature at 25°C in winter. Kindly be reminded, you can travel to Hainan Island in every month except one week of the Spring Festival. You have to avoid this period because of the expensive hotel, heavy traffic and the crowded beach.
East China refers to the lower and middle plains of the Yangtze River. Most of popular cities are in this region, such as Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuzhen, Hangzhou and Nanjing, Wuxi, Yangzhou, Wuhan, as well as Mt. Huangshan. The climate of eastern china is the combination of the south and the central. The season’s division is similar to the central China but the weather condition in summer and winter tends to that of the south. In general, climate of east china is mild and moist, and suitable for travelers all the year round.
The best time with pleasant climate and comfortable temperature appears in spring months of March, April, May, and the autumn months of September, October and November. Weather is mild in March and April with lasting spring shower, hot from June through to August and cold in winter from December till February.
Spring starts from March and ends in May unconsciously, is the best season to visit this region since the weather is comfortable with the basic temperature at 15C although the occasional rainfalls accompany you. The best scenery of eastern China in spring shows like a picturesque gouache. The peach trees are in bloom while the willows are turning green along river banks in crisscrossed water towns. Cherry Blossoms cover the banks of East Lake in Wuhan and turn the city into charming pink.
Hot and humid summer is a long and sweltering period from June through to August with high temperature of 35C and abundant rainfall. The attack of typhoon usually occurs in summer each year.
Autumn is from late September through to November with sunny and dry climate and pleasant temperature at about 25C. There are lots of international conferences held in this region. We conclude autumn is a busy season for business and a peak season for tourists.
Winter is from December to February, characterized by cold north wind and heavy humidity. The coldest time always encounters with the Spring Festival when the temperature can drop below freezing point. Snow is rare to see in this region, but the humid cold wind makes the cold seem more biting. Traveling in winter and summer is acceptable. Do not worry about the disturbers of extreme weather problems here.
The western part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is covered by snow all the year round. The special climate formed its features with endless desert, Gobi sands and plateau. Except the provincial capital city Lanzhou, Xining and Urumqi, the small towns Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Kashgar and Turpan are immersed in the Gobi sand dunes and snow-capped mountains along the narrow Gansu Corridor.
Northwest China along the Silk Road is characterized by bitter cold and dry winter from November through to March. The best time with pleasant climate and comfortable temperature appears from July through to September. Weather is mild in May, June and October with warm day but cold night.
When bountiful harvest of grapes and melons coming in July and August, the fragment smells exude from villages of Turpan. The hot and dry climate is especially beneficial to fruit trees, melons, and particularly grapes. Of course, summer of July and August is the best time to enjoy fresh melons and grapes, as well as the dancing for celebrating harvest.
Autumn is short enough to leave its imperceptible trace. Besides the lack of water, the duration of sunshine is longer than other areas. This is why we always feel dry everyday in each month. We can hardly endure the bitter cold with strong wind. We should avoid traveling in this region both in winter and early spring because of the serious sandstorms in March and April.
On the contrary, it is unbelievable that Turpan is the hottest town in July. The temperature can easily reach up to 40C at day time but drop quickly below 20C at night. For tourists, it is easy to escape from the heat by taking a nap after lunch and go out after 3pm.
Southwest China is quite special in location which enjoys a complex climate distribution with subtropical, humid monsoon climate and plateau climate existing together. Chongqing stands at the gateway to the wild southwest, the upstream destination of Yangtze Cruise Tour. Chengdu, the home town of pandas is inlaid in Sichuan Basin. The well known Jiuzhaigou National Park, Mt. Emeishan in Sichuang Province, Yunnan Province of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-la (Zhongdian) & Xishuangbanna, Guizhou Province of Guiyang, Kaili, Leishan, Rongjiang, Congjiang, Liping and Anshun, as well as Tibet all belong to this region.
It is hard to define what the best time of this region is. General speaking, the southwest China boasts a pleasant climate and is spring-like all the year round. There is neither extreme weather condition, nor exceeding hot or cold temperature. The pleasant climate and comfortable temperature appears from March through to November. Cold weather appears in January and February with the temperature keeping above the freezing point.
Yunnan Province situated in the southwestern borderland. Different topography has formed a unique biosphere ranging from the tropical to the frigid. The climate in different regions has obviously features. The climate in each season or every month is pleasant in Yunnan.
The eastern part enjoys a mild plateau climate and is reputed as Spring-like without season’s division. Kunming and Dali lie in this area, neither hot in summer nor cold in winter. The southern part is surrounded by tropical rain forest. The weather in Xishuangbanna is a combination of continental and oceanic climates with an annual average temperature of 22℃. This region is reputed as a happy land without winter. The northwest part located at the brim of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau with snow-capped mountains. Shangri-la and Lijiang are at the foot of the mountain range. You can feel the chilly weather only in this part because it is close to the border of Tibetan region.
The feature of Chongqing and Chengdu is wet in winter, foggy in spring, hot and humid in summer. Autumn is the best season with pleasant climate and comfortable temperature.
The rainy season lasts a long time starting from March through to September with foggy spring from March to May and hot summer from June to September. During rainy season, it can easily rain all day long. This is why spicy food is the favorite of locals no matter how hot the weather is in summer. People enjoy the spicy food without any hesitations. The terrible hot summer with humid climate brings the temperature high up to 35C sometimes, makes you breathe hard. Autumn from late September through to December is the best time to visit this part because of the mild climate and break of humidity. Locals prefer to expose under the precious sunshine. The winter in January and February is short but gets very wet. It is important to bring your heavy overcoat although the temperature is above the freezing point.
Guizhou Province is the neighbor of Yunnan and Sichuan in the subtropical zone with a humid monsoon climate. The climate is similar to Yunnan of Kunming and Dali with warm winters, mild summers and unclear seasonal contrasts at annual average temperature of 15°C. This moderate climate is due to the high mountains and lush vegetation in the area, which wards off the intense summer heat and severe winter cold. June and July are raining season. You had better pay attention to the weather forecast during the trip. It is cold, drizzle and hazy in December, January and early February.
Ecological environment in Guizhou Province is favorable. Verdant mountains, eyeful of green trees and fresh air help Guizhou earn the title "Natural Oxygen Bar". The agreeable weather makes it suitable for travelers to visit Guizhou all the year round. However, Guizhou has more overcast days and rainfall than any other part of the country especially in winter and summer. No matter when to visit Guizhou, you will encounter some interesting minority festivals. The best time to visit Guizhou is actually the months during minority festivals instead of pleasant weather condition.
Tibet is located at the main section of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at an average altitude of 4000m. Its year-round temperatures are quite low. It seems there is no clear summer season in the region.
The best time with pleasant climate and comfortable temperature appears in July and August. The high temperature in the summer months might get to 20C. Weather is mild in June and September with warm under the sunshine and cold at night. April and May belong to the early spring months of Tibet. But the weather is very changeable and it is common to experience cold air intrusion at day time. October belongs to the early winter of Tibet. The weather is getting colder with strong wind.
August is the peak tourist month in Tibet with the highest cost, expansive hotel rate and overload traffic. It is quite difficult to get train or air tickets between inner China and Tibet. You should do all the bookings at least three months ahead. For your convenience, we would like to encourage you visit Tibet in June, early July and September, keep away from the busy August. You can benefit from the beautiful sceneries as well as the comfortable environment.
The winter months can see the temperatures plummeting below -20c with fierce winds. It seems the winter from late October through to April is endless, and it is no easy to put swift spring and autumn into season’s division in Tibet region.
Obviously the months from June to September are the only suitable period for tourists. We should avoid traveling in this region from November till Mar. According to our experience, we would like to remind you that the Alien’s Travel Permit to Tibet might not be issued during the winter months.
This is a general introduction convenient for fast reading which will assist you in getting basic understanding to most of cities and regions in China. You can easily match the suitable months and prices to make your choice for the best time of your own. Of course you can also visit China in different seasons to enjoy the various beauties.
As a brief introduction, it is not precise enough to every detail covering each corner of the region since China is vast with diverse climate. If you intend to touch the rural or remote areas where we seldom have tour routes, please consult with us(Chinatourstailor@hotmail.com, firstname.lastname@example.org), we would like to provide you with comprehensive information for your kind consideration.
It is the right time to Tailor Your Own Itinerary now. Try to be a knowledgeable traveler and design your favorite blueprint. Be sure we are your professional tour consultant and willing to assist you to achieve your China dreams.