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The peculiar combination of a high altitude and a low latitude results in, for the most part of Lijiang, a climate that is characterized by cooler summers and warmer winters, combined with heavy rains in the monsoon period, but relatively clear weather throughout the rest of the year.
The temperature swing is greater on a daily basis than it is on a season-to-season basis, meaning that layered clothing– at least the use of warm outer clothing in the mornings and evenings – is imperative.
But like all highland areas that are bordered by mountains, the weather can change several times in a single day. In fact, there is an apt saying in the north of Yunnan Province that captures this climatic instability: "in the north of Yunnan Province, you can experience all four seasons within the span of a single day!"
Lijiang's rainy season begins in May and ends in October, with the heaviest and most recurrent rainfall periods (some locals would swear that they can set their clocks by it) occurring during July and August, meaning that this is hardly the ideal time of year to visit the Lijiang area.
The best times to visit Lijiang are from late March to May and mid-October to November. Have a look at our Lijiang Tours and choose your time of travel.
Spring is from March to May. It is a comfortable season with clear weather, blue sky and flower blossoms. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain can be seen from almost every corner of the city.
The average temperature is 17 °C (63 °F). The temperatures differ greatly between day and night. Prepare long-sleeve shirt, thick sweater and coat. Convenient and comfortable layers are practical for taking on and off.
Summer is from June to September. There are often heavy rains, and thus causing landslides. It is usually cloudy and maybe too foggy to see the snow mountains. It is also more expensive to visit Lijiang in summer.
Wear any summer clothes, such as shirts, shorts and skirts, but also a light coat or sweater for early morning and evening. If you visit the mountainous areas, you need to prepare warmer clothes. Sunlight is very strong in summer, wear sun protection such as hats, sunglasses and sun block, and drink lots of water.
Autumn is from October to November. It is the most beautiful season, and also has comfortable weather. Dry and clear, with verdant trees and blossoms. Rainfall is rare by mid-October. Temperature between day and night varies greatly; usually it feels chilly during the night. Bring long-sleeve shirts, light sweater and coat.
Winter is from December to February. It is a very good season for visiting the Tiger Leaping Gorge. The weather is clear and warm during the day, but at night, temperature often drops to below 0 °C (32 °F).
There are much fewer travelers in winter, so it is cheaper to travel for this season. Prepare warm clothes such as down jacket and thick sweater.