November is the beginning of the real winter weather in northern and high altitude areas. It can be an ideal time to travel in China after the peak season crowds head home and before the worst of the chilly winter weather arrives. North China sees its first snows, but Central and South China have moderate and comfortable temperatures. November is a good time to see fall foliage in China, as leaves change color after the first frosts.
You can see fall colors around the Great Wall, the Yellow Mountains, and the Yangtze River. Red, gold, yellow, and brown hues create an amazing view. The sky is more often clear in dry autumn.
— Beijing, Datong, Hohhot, Harbin…
Beijing gets crisp, cold, and clear weather optimally, and the locals love to see the fall scenery and exercise during the day. Beijing and the mountains to the north where the Great Wall get their first snowfall, and it usually freezes at night. There is low Chinese tourism, so foreign tourists benefit because prices decrease substantially from high season.
Average temperatures in Beijing range from a cool 10°C (50°F) in the day to 0°C (32°F) at night. Total precipitation drops to only 7 mm in 4 days of the month. So it is usually dry and clear. It is only lightly polluted this month.
— Xi’an, Tibet, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Dunhuang…
In most areas, the temperature falls significantly, and it gets cold and snow starts to cover the ground. The average high is 2°C (36°F) in Urumqi, and it freezes nightly.
Xi'an is warmer with the average high at 12°C (54°F), and it usually stays above freezing at night. The days are still pleasant, and most days are clear. It rains 6 days of the month for a total of 24 mm. This is good weather for touring and street shopping.
— Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Huangshan…
Shanghai mostly has pleasant autumn weather and there may be fog in the morning. But a cold snap might bring bitter windy weather. Red and yellow leaves decorate the city.
The average high in Shanghai is about 17°C (63°F), and the nightly low is 9°C (48°F). Eight days of rain brings 43 mm total.
— Changsha, Wuhan, Zhangjiajie...
This area of China around the Yangtze River also cools much in November, but it is still fairly comfortable. Average high temperatures in both Wuhan and Changsha are about 16°C (61°F), and lows are still above freezing. It rains about 10 days for a total of about 58 mm in both cities in the month.
The mountains in Wulingyuan, Zhangjiajie feel colder. But it is good weather for a strenuous hike. The hills and valleys are beautiful with many colors and shades.
— Guilin, Nanning, Hainan, Guangzhou, Hong Kong…
Guilin cools, and much less rain is better touring, hiking, and biking weather. Tourists generally appreciate the month since the countryside is beautiful. Less tourists make for a more enjoyable time. It is often sunny. There is 64 mm of rainfall, and it rains about 9 days of the month. The average daily high and low temperatures are comfortable at 20 °C (68 °F) and 12°C (54 °F).
Hong Kong gets ideal warm, dry, and sunny weather for outdoor activities, sightseeing, and street shopping. The average high and low temperatures are 24 °C (75 °F) and 19 °C (66 °F). Only four days of rain in the month drop 35 mm of rain which is a tenth of that of summer. Locals look forward to the cool and dry weather for going to the country parks, hiking, and biking. November and December are the most pleasant months.
— Dali, Lijiang, Xishuangbanna, Kunming, Chengdu…
Like usual, the valleys of Yunnan Province and Sichuan Province have pleasant weather. The mountains are cold though and receive snow. It is cool or cold depending on altitude. Rainfall varies much as well. Dali and Kunming both have cool weather with about 41 mm of rainfall over 6 days. Lijiang however has cold nights just above freezing.
Chengdu and the mountains have their autumn foliage. The scenery is clear with good air quality. The temperature is comfortable, and only 16 mm of rain falls. The first week is an ideal time for going to Jiuzhaigou while tourism is lower.
Press the links to see the cities' climate and local current forecast.
|Cities||Average High||Average Low||Rainy Days||Precipitation|
|Beijing||10°C (50°F)||0°C (32°F)||4||7mm (½")|
|Xi’an||12°C (54°F)||3°C (37°F)||6||24mm (1")|
|Shanghai||17°C (63°F)||9°C (48°F)||8||43mm (1½")|
|Hong Kong||24°C (75°F)||19°C (66°F)||4||35mm (1½")|
|Chengdu||16°C (61°F)||10°C (50°F)||8||16mm (½")|
|Guilin||20 °C (68 °F)||12°C (54 °F)||9||64mm (2½")|
|Kunming||17°C (63°F)||7°C (45°F)||7||42mm (1½")|
In general, Chinese are busy at work and school in November and December. There are no major holidays, but there are ethnic festivals and regional events in November.
For more suggestions see How to Plan Your First Trip to China.