Best Time To Visit China

What is the best time to visit China?

The best time to visit China is during Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to October). China is a vast country with a diverse climate. The Spring and Fall seasons offer incredibly mild weather conditions in most parts of the country. South China experiences humid summers, with temperatures approaching 40 degrees Celsius in some regions. The south-east coast of the country faces typhoon season in July and September. Central China has long, humid summers and short, chilly winters. Historical and cultural destinations like Shanghai, Beijing and Xi’an are not affected much by changes in the weather. They are suitable destinations to visit at any time of the year. Overall, spring and fall are the best time to visit as these months also constitute the offseason for domestic tourism.

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China in Peak Season

August is the busiest month for tourism in North China, followed by May, June and July. Domestic tourism also reaches its peak during the summer owing to school vacations. The flight tickets and accommodation will be at their peak during these months. Another busy time is the Chinese Golden Week in October. Apart from these, the country is usually crowded and experiences a surge in local tourism during major Chinese festivals. It is recommended to book in advance if you’re considering a trip during the peak season.

Tips for Tourists
Most of the regions can get extremely crowded during major Chinese festivals such as Chinese New Year, National Holiday in October and Labour Day in May. It is recommended to avoid planning your trip during these public holidays as tourist attractions as well as public transport will be extremely overcrowded. Moreover, the prices of flights and accommodation are also on the higher end.

Low Season in China

The winter period from November to early March constitutes the Low season for tourism in China. Certain regions experience temperatures far below freezing temperatures. Most of North China is covered in a blanket of snow whereas South China is relatively warmer. You can find the lowest prices for flights and accommodation during these months.

Shoulder Season in China

The shoulder season for tourism in China would include April, September and October. These months are a part of the Spring and Autumn seasons and make for an excellent time to visit China. It is also an offseason for local tourism, and hence, there will be much lesser crowds. Travellers can also expect to get good deals on flights and accommodations during this time.

China in Spring (Mid-March - May)

Weather in Spring
Spring is considered to be one of the best times to visit China, especially for nature enthusiasts. The country experiences blooming flowers and pleasant weather conditions this season. The warm, sunny days offer optimal conditions to take part in outdoor activities. The average minimum and average maximum temperatures are 10 degrees Celsius and 23 degrees Celsius respectively. North China remains relatively dry whereas rains intensify in South China with the progress of Spring. However, the rainfall should not discourage travellers from visiting South China during this time of the year. The rain only enhances the views of these mountainous regions.
Popular Spring destinations in China include Suzhou, Yunnan, Jiangxi, Henan and Guilin.

Events and Festivals in Spring
  • The Miao minority celebrates the Lusheng Festival in April. There are dances in traditional costumes and bullfighting.
  • The Dragon Boat Festival takes place in late May (or sometimes early June). Major cities hold exciting dragon boat races that are witnessed by huge crowds.
  • The Sister’s Meal Festival is another Miao minority festival that is celebrated in May. It is similar to the Western festival of Valentine’s Day.
  • Labor Day is celebrated for three days, starting from 1st May. Public places and transport are overcrowded these days.
  • Qingming Festival takes in the first week of April. It is also known as the Tomb Sweeping Day or Pure Brightness Festival. It is the day when locals visit the tombs of their ancestors.

Autumn in China (September to October)

Weather in Autumn 
China experiences lesser rainfall and clear blue skies during the Fall season. These months are believed to offer the best weather conditions for travel. There is less rainfall when compared to Spring and better temperatures when compared to the summer season. The average minimum and average maximum temperatures drop to 15 degrees Celsius and 27 degrees Celsius respectively. Autumn is also a good time for outdoor activities.
Popular Fall destinations in China are Liaoning, Hubei, Gansu Province and Sichuan.

Events and Festivals in Autumn
  • The first week of October is a National Holiday, also known as China’s Golden Week. Domestic tourism usually peaks during this week.
  • Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in late September or early October. A delicacy called Moon cake is a speciality of this festival. Some regions even hold lantern festivals.

China in Summer (June to August)

Weather in Summer
Despite the heat and crowds, Summer is considered a good time to travel to China. This season offers the most things to do in this country, ranging from sightseeing to hiking and minority festivals. The average minimum and average maximum temperatures rise to 25 degrees Celsius and 33 degrees Celsius respectively. North China is usually hot and dry whereas South and East China experience rains. The temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius in Western as well as Southern China. Summers in the northern and southern parts of the country is usually hot and humid with the southeastern region receiving a substantial amount of rain.
Highland areas such as Tibet, Yunnan, Zhangjiajie and Guilin are popular destinations in this season. They offer optimum weather conditions. If travelling to Beijing or Shanghai, it is recommended to make your bookings in advance and to be prepared for the heat and crowds. Summer is also the peak time for domestic travel as schools have vacations during these months.
Famous summer destinations in China include Xinjiang Province, Yunnan, Jiangxi Province, Chengde and Tibet.

Events and Festivals in Summer
  • The Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated in August. It is a famous Chinese festival with unique customs employed to memorise the dead.
  • Ganden Thangka Festival is another important Chinese Festival that is celebrated in August annually. Locals pray and seek blessings from the Buddha Thangka.

Winter in China (November to early March)

Weather in Winter
The average daily maximum temperature is about 8 degrees Celsius. North China experiences below freezing temperatures as its lowest. In general, the winter season in China is bitterly cold with temperature in northern China reaching as low as -40C. During winter; the mercury can drop to -20C in Beijing. In the south, the country experiences mild weather condition with lows of around 10C in January and February.
Despite the cold weather, winter can be considered for travel if you wish to save on flights and hotel bookings. It is also the best time to avoid tourist crowds. Cities in North China are usually covered in a blanket of snow which makes for a beautiful experience. If you wish to avoid the chilly temperatures, then you can consider the relatively warmer Southern regions such as Hong Kong, Macau, Southern Yunnan and Hainan.
Popular winter destinations in China include Yunnan, Hongkong, Huangshan, Henan and Beijing.

Events and Festivals in Spring
  • The Chinese New Year is the most important festival in China. It is usually celebrated towards late January or early February and is also commonly known as the “Chinese Spring Festival”. Celebrations include fireworks and lanterns and elaborate feasts.
  • The Harbin Ice Festival runs from 24th December to 25th February in the dead of winter. It is the largest festival of its kind, and many travellers are known to brave the cold to witness the spectacular display of ice sculptures.
  • The Lantern Festival takes place in February. It is a splendid occasion to watch lanterns and eat rice dumplings.
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