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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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Enjoying hand pulled noodles

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Month-by-month guide to traveling 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 traveling 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 34°F 0" 39°F 0" 52°F 0" 68°F 1" 81°F 1" 86°F 3" 88°F 8" 86°F 7" 79°F 2" 66°F 1" 50°F 0" 37°F 0"
Chengdu 48°F 0" 52°F 0" 61°F 1" 70°F 2" 77°F 3" 81°F 4" 84°F 9" 84°F 9" 77°F 5" 68°F 2" 59°F 1" 50°F 0"
Guilin 55°F 2" 55°F 3" 63°F 6" 73°F 5" 82°F 14" 88°F 13" 91°F 9" 91°F 7" 90°F 3" 81°F 3" 70°F 3" 61°F 2"
Hainan Island 70°F 1" 72°F 1" 77°F 2" 84°F 4" 90°F 7" 91°F 8" 91°F 9" 90°F 8" 86°F 10" 82°F 7" 77°F 3" 72°F 2"
Hong Kong 66°F 1" 64°F 2" 70°F 3" 77°F 6" 82°F 12" 86°F 14" 88°F 14" 88°F 15" 86°F 11" 82°F 5" 75°F 1" 68°F 1"
Kashgar 32°F 0" 41°F 0" 57°F 0" 72°F 0" 81°F 0" 88°F 0" 91°F 0" 88°F 0" 81°F 0" 68°F 0" 52°F 0" 36°F 0"
Macau 66°F 1" 66°F 2" 70°F 3" 77°F 6" 84°F 12" 88°F 13" 90°F 10" 90°F 11" 88°F 7" 82°F 4" 77°F 2" 68°F 1"
Shanghai 46°F 2" 48°F 2" 55°F 3" 64°F 3" 73°F 4" 81°F 7" 90°F 6" 90°F 5" 81°F 5" 72°F 2" 63°F 2" 52°F 2"
Suzhou 45°F 2" 46°F 2" 55°F 2" 64°F 3" 73°F 4" 81°F 6" 88°F 5" 88°F 5" 79°F 4" 73°F 1" 59°F 2" 50°F 2"
Xian 41°F 0" 46°F 0" 59°F 1" 70°F 2" 81°F 2" 90°F 2" 91°F 4" 88°F 3" 77°F 4" 68°F 2" 54°F 1" 43°F 0"
Zhongdian 45°F 0" 46°F 0" 52°F 1" 57°F 1" 63°F 2" 64°F 5" 64°F 8" 64°F 7" 63°F 4" 59°F 2" 52°F 1" 48°F 0"

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 favorite 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