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Gansu Weather: Best Time to Visit

Gansu Weather: Best Time to Visit

Written by Candice SongUpdated Oct. 7, 2023

Due to the complex geography and the greatly differing elevation, the weather differs drastically in different parts of Gansu. There is a big difference in temperature between day and night. The climate in Gansu is dry. Preparing moisturizer and lip balm is useful whenever you go.

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The average temperature range for a (middle-season) day in Gansu is roughly 0–15°C (32–59°F). Generally speaking, the lowest temperatures occur in January when the temperature averages from -9°C (16°F) to 3°C (37°F), and the highest temperatures (averaging from 19°C or 66°F to 31°C or 88°F) are in July.

The rainiest days are mainly concentrated in the months from June to September.

Dunhuang has the most sunlight of Gansu's prefectures, so the melons and fruits produced in Dunhuang are particularly sweet.

Weather in Major Cities

Beautiful Grassland Scenery in Gansu in Summer Grassland's scenery in Gannan in summer

Lanzhou is suitable for traveling all the year round. The weather in Lanzhou is dry with plenty of sunshine. The average temperature over a year is 10°C (50°F). Summer is short but not too hot with an average temperature of 22°C (72°F). Winter is chilly with an average temperature of -7°C (19°F), but Lanzhou is still warmer than other cities in Gansu. See more on Lanzhou Weather.

The best time to visit Dunhuang is from May to October. Dunhuang has a warm and windy spring, a hot summer, a cool and mild autumn, and a freezing winter. The average highest temperature is around 34°C (93°F). The coldest month is January with the average lowest temperature of around -16°C (3°F). See more on Dunhuang Weather.

The best time to visit Zhangye is from May to October. It has a short and hot summer, long and cold winter, little rain and long sunshine time. The average temperature of the city is 4–8°C (39–16°F). See more on Zhangye.

The best time to visit Gannan by far is summer. Gannan has a continental plateau climate. Its daily (middle-season) average temperature is around -7–6°C (19–43°F). It has a cool summer, with an average temperature range of 3–13°C (37–55°F).

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The best time to visit Jiayuguan is from May to October. Jiayuguan has a continental desert climate: dry, cooled by the mountain air, with big temperature differences, annually and diurnally. The average temperature range in Jiayuguan from May to October (occurring in September) is 9–23°C (48–73°F). See more on Jiayuguan Weather.

Best Times to Visit Gansu

Zhangye Danxia Landform Beautiful Danxia landform in a sunny day

The best times to visit Gansu are from May to early October.

The main tourist resource in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is its natural grassland, and the grass is the most luxuriant in summer, so summer is the best season to travel in Gannan.

Spring and autumn are the peak seasons in Dunhuang and Zhangye, as the weather is neither too cold nor too hot. In the middle seasons, you should feel cool but comfortable outside as you enjoy the spectacular natural scenery.

Spring in Gansu (March to May)

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Temperature: The average temperature ranges in March, April, and May in Gansu are respectively: 3–16°C (37–61°F), 8–22°C (46–72°F), 12–26°C (54–79°F).

Good to know: There is a big temperature difference between day and night in spring. May is one of the peak travel seasons in Gansu, when early booking is recommended.

Items to bring: jacket or coat, sweater, long-sleeved shirt (for sun protection), both cold and sun protection are needed.

Recommended Places to Go

Jiayuguan Jiayuguan

Spring in Gansu is not rainy and the weather is good. Outdoor activities are recommended, such as:

  • Ride a camel on the Singing Sand Dunes in Dunhuang.
  • Visit Zhangye Danxia Park — one of the most beautiful places in China.
  • Visit Jiayu Pass Fort — "the First and Greatest Pass under Heaven".

Summer in Gansu (June to August)

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Temperature: July is the hottest month. The average highest temperatures in June, July, and August in Gansu are respectively 30°C (86°F), 31°C (88°F), and 30°C (86°F); their average lowest temperatures are respectively 17°C (63°F), 19°C (66°F), and 18°C (64°F).

Good to know: Because of the strong solar radiation in summer, travelers in Gansu need to pay more attention to sun protection. Drinking more water is necessary. Gannan is a must-visit in summer with cool weather and stunning scenery.

Items to bring: light and breathable shirt and other sun-proof clothing, and warm clothes if visiting Gannan, the plateau area.

Recommended Places to Go

Zhagana Zhagana

Summer is the best time to visit the grasslands of Gansu. In the hottest July, indoor activities and visiting the plateau area are recommended, such as:

  • Visit Ganjia Grassland, Zhagana (an Edenic Tibetan village), Nuo'ergai Grand Prairie (a pure oasis on the Northwest Plateau of Sichuan) in Gannan.
  • Go to Kongtong Mountain — a summer resort.
  • Visit Gansu Museum — one of the top 10 museum in Asian-Pacific region.

Autumn in Gansu (September to Early November)

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Temperature: The average temperature ranges in September, October, and November in Gansu are respectively 13–24°C (55–75°F), 7–19°C (45–66°F) and -1–11°C (30–52°F).

Good to know: September and October are the best times to see the beautiful scenery of Gansu with nice weather. The best travel time means a relatively large number of tourists, so an early booking of a private tour is recommended.

Items to bring: warm clothes, with some lighter clothes for September or winterwear for November; sun protection

Recommended Places to Go

Dunhuang Mogao Caves The Mogao Caves in Dunhuang

Nice weather and sunshine in autumn lend themselves to natural landscape sightseeing and also outdoor activities, such as:

  • Explore the Mogao Caves — renowned as the "Oriental Louvre"
  • Visit Maiji Mountain Grottoes — considered as "Oriental Sculpture Hall".
  • Visit Jiayu Pass Fort and the Overhanging Great Wall
  • Visit Zhangye Danxia Park and Yardang National Park — a feast for the eyes.

Winter in Gansu (Late November to February)

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Temperature: January is the coldest month in Gansu. The average high temperatures in December, January, and February are respectively 4°C (39°F), 3°C (37°F), and 7°C (45°F); their average lows are -7°C (19°F), -9°C (16°F), and -5°C (23°F).

Good to know: Gansu is dry, so it seldom snows in winter, though it is very cold. Indoor heating usually gets turned on in mid-November and turned off in March.

Items to bring: winter boots, sweaters, overcoat/ down jacket, gloves, hats, and scarfs: basically, winter clothing with moisturizer for the dryness and shades for the glare.

Recommended Places to Go

Indoor attractions are recommended. However, Gansu's beautiful Danxia landform scenery won't be affected by winter. You can also still plan some outdoor visits, such as:

  • Visit Lanzhou Planning Exhibition Mall — the epitome of Lanzhou's development.
  • Visit the Mogao Caves — "Art Museum of the East".
  • Go to Zhangye Danxia Park — one of the most beautiful places in China.

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Do you want to visit Gansu but find it hard to decide when and where to go? Contact our travel experts who will give you professional suggestions and help you to tailor-make a Gansu tour.

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