Being far from ocean with a wide area and an elevated altitude, Inner Mongolia has a cold/temperate continental climate with low and irregular rainfall and drastic shifts of temperature.
Scroll down to find out the main features of Inner Mongolia's climate, best times to visit, and other seasonal travel information.
The Main Features of Inner Mongolia's Climate
Inner Mongolia has a semi-humid zone in the east and a semi-arid zone in the west. The main feature throughout is the large temperature differences between day and night, generally over 10°C (18°F). Harsh weather in Inner Mongolia includes spring droughts and winter blizzards.
The climate of Inner Mongolia can be divided into two major climate zones: east and west.
The Grassland Climate Zone (East Inner Mongolia)
From the Hulunbuir Grasslands in the east to the Yinshan Mountains of central Inner Mongolia, winter is icy and snowy and usually lasts for half the year. The average January low in Hulunbuir is -28°C (-18°F). The mild months from May to September are the best times for a grassland tour.
The Desert Climate Zone (West Inner Mongolia)
From the Yinshan Mountains of the Alxa Desert Plateau to the Badain Jaran Desert in the west, spring is stormy, summer is extremely hot, and winter is freezing cold. Only autumn has mild weather, making it the best season for a desert tour.
- 5-Day Xilamuren Grassland and Kubuqi Desert Tour
- 8-Day Hohhot–Ordos Tour with Hiking, Camping, and Culture
Best Times to Visit Inner Mongolia
Generally speaking, July to September is the best time to travel to Inner Mongolia, when the temperature is quite comfortable and the grasslands are lush. The annual Naadam Grassland Festival is held during this period, during which you will have the chance to enjoy Mongol sporting competitions and traditional celebrations with Mongolian folk songs and dances.
If taking a desert tour, it's better to go in September or October for the most pleasant desert weather and the chance to witness mirages.
Inner Mongolia in Spring (April to June)
Nature is waking up in spring in Inner Mongolia. The grasses on the prairies begin to flourish and blossom, flocks and herds scatter over the grasslands, and several hundred species of migrant birds fly back to Inner Mongolia. However, in desert areas, sandstorms are common.
Best places for traveling: Hohhot and Hinggan League
Things to do:
- Discover the historical sites in/around Hohhot and learn about Mongolian cultures.
- Watch birds migrating throughout Inner Mongolia.
- Soak and refresh in the hot springs of Arxan (which means 'hot springs').
- Hike in the Daxing'anling forest and the wetland areas to discover the beauty of nature there.
Inner Mongolia in Summer (July to August)
With an average daily temperature range of 16°C (60°F) to 27°C (80°F), summer is mild and short, lasting for only one or two months, and there is no "summer" to speak of in some areas of Inner Mongolia. The hottest month always comes in July with highest temperatures of 36°C (96°F) to 43°C (109°F) in desert areas.
The grassland areas become resort areas to escape the summer heat with average temperatures of around 20°C (68°F).
Best places for traveling: Hohhot, Hulunbuir, or any grassland area in Inner Mongolia
Things to do:
- Join in various interesting activities on the grasslands of Inner Mongolia.
- Attend the Summer Naadam Festival.
Note: The venues and dates for the Naadam Festival won't be published in advance. You are free to contact us for more accurate information with tour recommendations.
Inner Mongolia in Autumn (September to October)
Grasses turn yellow in late August and the forest areas of Inner Mongolia turn red and yellow. Temperatures are cool in the desert and suitable for various activities: camping, hiking, camel riding, etc.
Best places for traveling: Ordos, Alxa League, and Hinggan League
Things to do:
- Dive into the golden ocean of Ejina's Poplar Forest.
- Hike, camp, and enjoy other desert entertainments in the Kubuqi Desert.
Note: The best time to visit Ejina's Poplar Forest is from October 1–15 when you can hardly book a hotel room due to its popularity. It is wise to find a travel agency like China Highlights to assist you with the booking. Contact us in advance for a space.
Inner Mongolia in Winter (November to March)
Winter is freezing cold, with average temperatures ranging from -3ºC (-38°F) to -15ºC (-59°F), and it lasts for a very long time, sometimes more than half a year! January is the coldest month with average daily temperatures from -32°C (-89°F) to -10°C (-50°F). Extreme minimum temperatures are as low as -50ºC (-122°F).
The grasslands become a world of ice and snow, and festivals like the Winter Naadam Festival and Ice and Snow Festival take place during this period. Alshan in the Hinggan League become a popular destination to skiers due to its large quantity and good quality of snow each year.
Best places for traveling: Alshan, Hailaer, and Genhe
Things to do:
- Attend the Winter Naadam Festival and Ice and Snow Festival.
- Have fun and ski at Alshan Ski Resort.
- Take an adventure to "China's cold pole" and experience the extreme coldness of Lengji Village.
Note: The venues and dates for the winter festivals change every year. You are invited to contact us for more accurate information and tour recommendations.
Touring Inner Mongolia with China Highlights
Want to visit Inner Mongolia, but finding 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 an Inner Mongolia tour.
Here are our most popular Inner Mongolia tours for inspiration: