October is one of the best months to travel in China as long as you avoid the National Day holiday in the first week. The weather is very comfortable, and locals call this month "golden October" because of the good weather conditions. October has cool days and nights, and autumn colors begin to appear across the country and generally grow to their best at the end of the month.
— Beijing, Datong, Hohhot, Harbin…
Beijing gets crisp, cool, clear weather optimally, and the locals love to see the scenery and exercise. The summer rains are over, so it is usually dry. Air pollution is moderate this month.
Clothing: Generally, a base layer with a light jacket is a good option for day time. Perhaps a coat at night.
— Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Huangshan…
Like Beijing, Shanghai gets pleasant autumn weather most days. It is often still warm. There is much less rain than in August. The exception is if a tropical storm or typhoon arrives. Red and yellow leaves decorate the city.
The drier and cooler weather is good for touring and hiking in the Yellow Mountains and Hong Village where it is cooler.
Clothing: Light jacket, light clothing, shorts.
— Changsha, Wuhan, Zhangjiajie
This area of China around the Yangtze River also cools much in October. Temperatures during the day are warm or cool. It rains about one out of three days.
The mountains in Wulingyuan, Zhangjiajie feel even cooler. But it is good weather for a strenuous hike. September and October are the best months weatherwise. The mountains are decorated with many colors and shades so they are most beautiful.
Clothing: Bring both short and long-sleeved clothes and a light coat for the cool mornings and evenings, and rain gear.
— Guilin, Nanning, Hainan, Guangzhou, Hong Kong…
Guilin cools, and it rains half as much as in the summer. This makes for better touring, hiking, and biking weather. It can still be warm during the day, and it is cool at night. There is a lot of sunshine.
Hong Kong finally gets the cool, drier, fall weather like the rest of China by the end of October. However, sometimes typhoons arrive and it rains heavily. It is warm during the day and sometimes still at night. Locals look forward to the cool and dry late October weather for hiking and going to the parks.
Clothing: Shorts, light clothes, rain gear.
— Kunming, Chengdu, Dali, Lijiang, Xishuangbanna …
Like usual, the valleys of Yunnan Province and Sichuan Province have pleasant weather. The mountains grow cold though and receive snow. It is cold or warm depending on altitude. Rainfall varies much as well. Dali, Lijiang, and Kunming have cool weather with several days with rain.
Chongqing cools significantly and gets pleasant daytime temperatures.
Clothing: Light jacket, shorts, T-shirts, shirts, pants, rain gear. Take a coat if you go up to the mountains.
— Xinjiang, Qinghai, Dunhuang, Xi’an, Tibet…
The temperatures falls significantly, and it gets cold at night. Early October is still a fine time to go. It is cool in Urumqi, and it begins to freeze by the end of the month. See Silk Road Travel Tips.
Xi'an is warmer than Urumqi. It has pleasant autumn temperatures, but gets cooler after rain. It stays well above freezing at night. This is good weather for touring and street shopping.
Clothing: What you should pack depends on the altitude. For Lhasa, bring your coat and sunglasses and dress in layers.
Press the links to see the cities' climate and local current forecast.
|Cities||Average High||Average Low||Rainy Days||Precipitation|
|Beijing||19°C (66°F)||8°C (46°F)||5||22mm (1")|
|Xi’an||20°C (68°F)||10°C (50°F)||10||60mm (2½")|
|Shanghai||22°C (72°F)||15°C (59°F)||8||64mm (2½")|
|Hong Kong||28°C (82°F)||23°C (73°F)||6||145mm (6")|
|Chengdu||21°C (70°F)||15°C (59°F)||13||35mm (1½")|
|Guilin||27 °C (81 °F)||17°C (63 °F)||10||86mm (3")|
|Kunming||20°C (68°F)||12°C (54°F)||13||79mm (3")|
See more on The Five Best Places to Visit in October.
The main holidays are the "golden week" of National Day (October 1–7). The Mid-Autumn Festival coincides about one year in six. Expect big crowds at the main attractions and heavy traffic. See where we recommend to go in Golden Week.
There are also a number of regional/ethnic festivals and events in October.
For more suggestions and tips on a China trip, please see How to Plan Your First Trip to China.