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Spring and autumn are traditionally considered the ideal times to visit China. During these periods, the weather tends to be warm and dry, in contrast to the bitterly cold winters and hot, humid summers experienced in much of the country. China’s sheer size, however, means there are no true limitations for travel, and with one or two exceptions it is possible to visit all year round. In general, April to October is the ideal window to visit western China, with the flowers blossoming and local bazaars thronged with life. For those heading across the high passes or into the mountains, the best time is from June to August, when alpine flowers carpet the steppe and the conditions for hiking and trekking are at their best.

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Audley Travel specialist Cheryl

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Month-by-month guide to travelling in China

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Yunnan, China

Visiting China in January - February

In the north and in the mountainous areas - for example, around Beijing and in the mountains of Yunnan - winter is cold but dry, with typically clear blue skies and possible smatterings of snow at night. Elsewhere, China's humidity levels make January and February cold and damp, although most sites will be fairly quiet. Chinese New Year usually falls in early February or late January, and travelling over this time is extremely busy.


Events & Festivals

  • Chinese New Year (late January or early February): Celebrated across the country with fireworks, lanterns, decorative red scrolls, gifts and feasting with the family.
  • Harbin Ice Festival (early January): This is held over a week or so and features a large, impressive display of intricate ice sculptures.


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China Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Beijing 1°C 4mm 4°C 5mm 11°C 9mm 20°C 21mm 27°C 32mm 30°C 74mm 31°C 193mm 30°C 190mm 26°C 51mm 19°C 17mm 10°C 7mm 3°C 3mm
Chengdu 9°C 8mm 11°C 12mm 16°C 20mm 21°C 50mm 25°C 85mm 27°C 108mm 29°C 236mm 29°C 231mm 25°C 124mm 20°C 47mm 15°C 18mm 10°C 6mm
Guilin 13°C 55mm 13°C 84mm 17°C 141mm 23°C 124mm 28°C 349mm 31°C 339mm 33°C 220mm 33°C 183mm 32°C 85mm 27°C 88mm 21°C 65mm 16°C 48mm
Hainan Island 21°C 26mm 22°C 34mm 25°C 53mm 29°C 98mm 32°C 174mm 33°C 209mm 33°C 218mm 32°C 198mm 30°C 263mm 28°C 173mm 25°C 88mm 22°C 43mm
Hong Kong 19°C 25mm 18°C 45mm 21°C 73mm 25°C 153mm 28°C 301mm 30°C 367mm 31°C 346mm 31°C 380mm 30°C 277mm 28°C 120mm 24°C 34mm 20°C 27mm
Kashgar 0°C 4mm 5°C 5mm 14°C 7mm 22°C 6mm 27°C 11mm 31°C 7mm 33°C 8mm 31°C 8mm 27°C 5mm 20°C 3mm 11°C 3mm 2°C 2mm
Macau 19°C 26mm 19°C 48mm 21°C 68mm 25°C 151mm 29°C 299mm 31°C 334mm 32°C 248mm 32°C 286mm 31°C 189mm 28°C 103mm 25°C 41mm 20°C 27mm
Shanghai 8°C 44mm 9°C 57mm 13°C 75mm 18°C 88mm 23°C 91mm 27°C 169mm 32°C 141mm 32°C 135mm 27°C 130mm 22°C 54mm 17°C 49mm 11°C 39mm
Suzhou 7°C 46mm 8°C 56mm 13°C 58mm 18°C 72mm 23°C 93mm 27°C 152mm 31°C 135mm 31°C 125mm 26°C 105mm 23°C 32mm 15°C 42mm 10°C 42mm
Xian 5°C 6mm 8°C 9mm 15°C 23mm 21°C 44mm 27°C 58mm 32°C 53mm 33°C 92mm 31°C 87mm 25°C 96mm 20°C 57mm 12°C 21mm 6°C 7mm
Zhongdian 7°C 5mm 8°C 11mm 11°C 22mm 14°C 36mm 17°C 59mm 18°C 127mm 18°C 195mm 18°C 171mm 17°C 102mm 15°C 62mm 11°C 14mm 9°C 6mm

Trip ideas and travel guides to exploring China

Yangshuo, China
China
The Great Wall at Jinshanling
China
Chris in front of Mount Muztagata, Kashgar, China

China is a country of many landscapes and climates, which means finding the ‘perfect’ month for travel difficult. My favourite month in China is November, not only because it’s just about the driest month of the year, and the summer heat has turned to autumn crispness, but also because the key sights are far quieter than in October and September.

Chris, North & Central Asia & Oman Specialist