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Shangri-La Weather: Climate and Best Time to Go

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Shangri-La is blessed with natural attractions, such as snowcapped mountains, meadows, gorges, and national parks, which offer different sceneries in different seasons. It is important to check the weather before you plan your trip.

Climate Features in Shangri-La

Shangri-La, lying on the southeastern extremity of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, at a high altitude of 3,380 meters (11,100 feet), is surrounded by mountains. It is just 4.5 degrees north of the tropics.

The resulting climate in Shangri-La includes temperatures that vary widely from daytime to nighttime, moderate monsoon rains, freezing winters, and mild summers.

Remember to take warm clothes when you go to Shangri-La, even if you visit in summer. The ultraviolet radiation there is very strong so wear a sun cream, hat, and sunglasses.

The Best Time to Go

In terms of weather, the best time to go to Shangri-La is from March to October.

The months from March to August are the best times to see wild flowers in bloom. September and October are also good times, when the leaves of the trees are ablaze with color and snowcapped mountains glisten in the sunlight.

July and August should be avoided if you don't like too much rain.

Based on historical data, we would like to give you some weather facts that might be helpful when arranging your trip:

  • Warmest month: July — the average high is 19°C (66°F)
  • Coolest month: January — the average temperature is -2°C (28°F)
  • Daily temperature range: summer 9°C, winter 17°C (16–31°F)
  • Wettest month: July (with a moderate 150mm or 6 inches of rain)
  • Dry months: October–May (less than 50mm or 2” of rain/snow)
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The Four Seasons in Shangri-La

Spring ­­

Weather: Spring in Shangri-La is from April to May. Temperatures climb from cold to mild, ranging from an average of 4°C (39°F) to 12°C (54°F).

Clothing: Sweaters and coats are suitable for this season, but dress in layers to adapt to the large temperature changes.

Things to do: Visit Potatso National Park, which is like a charming natural painting in spring, with a sea of wild flowers, green forests, meadows, and rare animals.

Summer

Weather: Summer in Shangri-La is from June to August. The temperature is 10 to 19°C (50–66°F). It rains moderately on 23 days a month in July and August.

Clothing: Take a couple of light layers for the daytime, and some warm clothes for the evenings. Remember to take an umbrella, hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Things to do: Enjoy the colorful meadows at Potatso National Park.

Tip: The condition of the roads is bad on rainy days. You’d better check the weather before you travel.

Autumn

Weather: Autumn is from September to October with an average temperature range of 18 to 2°C (64–36°F). The weather becomes colder and drier as fall goes on.

Clothing: Long-sleeved tops, wind/water-proofs, and coats are needed due to the changeable weather.

Things to do: Hike along Tiger Leaping Gorge and enjoy the sunrise or sunset at Meili Snow Mountain.

Winter

Weather: Winter can be very cold, and temperatures range from around -10 to 10°C (15–50°F). If it snows, the morning and nighttime temperatures are likely to drop well below freezing.

You will be rewarded with magnificent snowcapped mountains, blue sunny skies, and few tourists.

Clothing: Thermal underwear, sweaters, a thick coat, gloves, scarf, and a hat are necessary.

Things to do: Pay a visit to Songzanlin Lamasery.

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Our Most Popular Tours of Shangri-La

Shangri-La has beautiful offerings all year round. Tell us your interests and requirements, and we will be glad to create a tour to suit you.

Here are two recommended itineraries, for inspiration: