Weather: September is a pleasant month weatherwise. It is cool or warm and rainy. It is in the end of the monsoon season, and there are only about 5 hours of sunshine per day. It rains about 20 days of the month. About 152 mm of rain falls in Lijiang in September, and it rains more in the nearby mountains.
The average nightly low temperature is a pleasant 16 °C (61 °F), and the average daily high temperature is 25 °C (77 °F). These temperatures are comfortable because the elevation of 2,400 meters (7,900 feet) makes it feel warmer. Check the Lijiang weather forecast>>
Clothing: During the day, light clothes such as shirts and trousers are fine, but you might need a jacket at night. You'll need rain gear, and take rain gear and a coat if you go up to the mountains since the weather is changeable. The UV radiation is high, so if it is sunny, cover up if you have sensitive skin.
Altitude Sickness: Most people will experience some degree of altitude sickness if they stay for a night or two, and many people want to breathe a little oxygen on the heights of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The price of oxygen canisters can be a third less in Lijiang compared with the price there. Precautions are necessary if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure.
Things to Do in Lijiang in September
Hike at Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge hiking: You might see snow. See the beautiful fall scenery in the natural wonder that is one of the world's deepest gorges. It is about 18 kilometers long, and 5,000 meter (17,000 to 18,000 feet) high mountains rise on both sides while the Yangtze River churns beneath you.
Be careful in September. The weather is quite changeable, so be prepared with rain gear, a coat, and good shoes with firm traction. The main trail goes by guest houses where you can take shelter. Some are much better than others though, so let us use our experience to guide you on a wonderful hike, or arrange the logistics for you. See below.
Learn about the Local Naxi and Mosuo
The Naxi: The Naxi around Lijiang developed an interesting culture in their position astride trade routes between big empires and the smaller kingdoms of Southeast Asia. They developed their own style of architecture, cuisine, and writing. Their writing system is the last hieroglyphic writing system still in use in the world.
Visit the Dongba Museum: A good place in Lijiang to learn about the Naxi is the Dongba Museum. The little Naxi museum is next to the Black Dragon Pool in Jade Spring Park. There are some interesting exhibits, photos, and a shop selling Naxi souvenirs and jewelry.
The Mosuo: The ethnic people around beautiful Lugu Lake (the picture above) are genetically and linguistically related to the Naxi. You can learn about the Mosuo at their Zhuan Shan Festival that is often in September. They are known for being strongly matrilineal. Lugu Lake is about 100 kilometers from Lijiang.
Experience the Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second biggest holiday in China. Most years it's in September. When near the October 1 National Day holidays it becomes a super busy tourism week. To get away from the huge crowds of Chinese tourists, head towards the outskirts of Lijiang and the Naxi traditional areas of Shuhe and Baisha.
Try local moon cakes, Naxi holiday sweets, and dairy treats.
Touring Lijiang in September
High Travel Season
Due to the Mid-Autumn Festival and the October 1 holidays, September and October are peak travel months. Due to the heavy rainfall and high tourism in September, it might be better to go at another time of year to avoid the crowds and higher prices.
It is important to book your hotel room and plane/train tickets in advance. Let us help you arrange the trip by our experience and try to get discounts.
Recommended Tour Packages
The 5-day Lijiang Tour and Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike: First enjoy the local highlights of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the Baisha Murals as you acclimate for two days. Our guide will guide you, but you can choose where to go. Most people need to acclimatize before they hike, because most of the trail is at the elevation of 2,700 meters (8,800 feet). Then enjoy a two day hike with our guide.
The 10-day Romantic China Tour: You'll see Shanghai's highlights with our guide. Then take a Yangtze River cruise all the way west to Chongqing and disembark at the Three Gorges Dam and the Fengdu Ghost City. Then tour Chongqing and Lijiang. Tell us your ideas so we can modify your tour as you wish.