Best time to visit China

China is a vast country with wide-ranging climatic conditions, so a decision about the best time to visit should be based on the regions you plan to visit and the kind of weather you enjoy. When is the best time to travel to China? I've been asked this question a thousand times and over the years I've finally developed an answer that I feel comfortable giving you here. The fact is that China is a very big country and anybody who gives you a "one size fits all" answer probably doesn't understand that.

best time to travel China

The Best Time to travel to China and How Long to stay there

For this reason, I'm going to share with you my answer based on the month you plan to visit here, along with my recommended places to visit during that month. To start, however, let me share with you a couple times when you should not travel to China.

Normally, the most comfortable season of the year is autumn (September to October). During that period, temperatures are reasonable throughout China (about 50-72F) with a limited amount of rain. September for example is the only month in the year when the ancient and valuable paintings of the Beijing Palace Museum are displayed due to proper climate conditions (low humidity and proper temperature).

best time to plan a trip to China

Visiting China In Spring

There aren't too many places in China that you can't visit in between the months of April and June. The only exception might be the far northern parts of Heilongjiang and Xinjiang, which can still be quite cold during April and May. Throughout the south of China the wet season has begun, which may be a bit of a hassle but at the same time could enhance your trip with early morning mist which can be spectacular in places like Guilin and Yunnan.

Spring can also be delightful with the average temperatures roughly the same as in autumn (about 50-72F). The best way to deal with weather unpredictability is to wear layered clothing that will make you comfortable in both chilly and warm weather.

best time to China

Visitng China in Summer

Summer (from June to the end of August) can be extremely hot with temperatures well above 72F, especially in the famous 'four furnaces' of China: Wuhan, Tianjin, Chongqing and Nanchang. Summer is also a rainy season, so visitors should not forget umbrellas, light raincoats and rubber/plastic shoes.

July and August is the peak travel season here in China, mostly because everybody is off from school all over the world. It's not always the best time to visit, however. Places like Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Xi'an are all crazy hot, unbelievably humid and often just plain uncomfortable. That's not to say that you can't visit, just be prepared with plenty of water and make sure to book your lodging in advance since it gets booked up quickly during the summer months.

plan a trip to China

Visitng China in Autumn

Like the April and May months, September and October is another excellent time to visit China. Places like Xinjiang, which are normally blazing hot in the summer and still a bit too cold in spring, are in perfect season.

Same goes for Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and all of the other major tourist cities. What I suggest, however, is that you try to make your way inland during these months. Take some warmer clothes for the evening.

During that period, temperatures are reasonable throughout China (about 50-72F) with a limited amount of rain. September for example is the only month in the year when the ancient and valuable paintings of the Beijing Palace Museum are displayed due to proper climate conditions (low humidity and proper temperature).

Visitng China in Winter

Winter can be incredibly cold especially in the north. Off season visit can also offer its rewards. For example, the Harbin Winter Ice Lantern Festival is quite charming. Before deciding when to pay a visit, it is worth checking carefully the China weather conditions of each city on the itinerary. Needless to say that the most attractive seasons to visit are also the most crowded. Regardless of the time of the year, a visitor will always be rewarded with charming scenery throughout the country.

best time to china

Finally, we're left with the winter. Most people try to avoid traveling to China during the winter but the fact is that there are some great places to visit between the months of November and March. Most of these places are in the south, including Hong Kong, Macau, Hainan, Yunnan and others.

Of course, if you're really brave, China is gorgeous under a blanket of snow. Walking through Beijing or around Pingyao while it has a few inches of snow can be very memorable. The problem is you never quite know when it's going to actually snow, so if you're unlucky you'll just be stuck walking around with your teeth chattering (trust me, I've done this while taking my family on the Great Wall and it was miserable!).

There are a few places in China that have made a name for themselves during the winter months, particularly Harbin, whose ice festival is one that shouldn't be missed.