There is definitely something about China's sultry summer (June to August) that adds romance to the days and nights. We have listed the best 13 places that are especially brought to life by summer.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. All our tours can be customized. We will create a trip for your summer vacation according to your group size, time, budget, interests, and other requirements.
If you are planning your first summer trip to China, see our How to Plan a Summer Trip to China (Weather, Cost, Where to Go)
- Yunnan Province — a Colorful Fairyland
- Inner Mongolia — Vast Grasslands
- Chengdu — Meet Cute Pandas
- Guilin — A City in Karst Mountains
- Zhangjiajie — A Surreal World
- Gannan — Scenic and Cool
- Places to Go around Shanghai in Summer
- Tibet — A Pure Land with Mysterious Culture
- The Silk Road — Discover Chinese History and Culture
- The Yangtze River Cruise — Enjoy Undisturbed Time
- Guizhou Province — Explore Chinese Minority Culture
- Xinjiang — a Romantic Purple World
- Qinghai Lake — Nature and Tibetan Culture
- Northern Sichuan — Cool with Tibetan Landscapes
1. Yunnan Province — a Colorful Fairyland
Yunnan is an ideal destination for a summer trip in China. Owing to its 2,000-meter-altitude with abundant heat and light, Yunnan has a year-round spring-like climate. You will have a cool summer trip in Yunnan. The best cities to visit in Yunnan are Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La.
Start from Kunming to see the spectacular Stone Forest, enjoy a relaxing tour along the lakeshore of Erhai in Dali, visit the Old Town of Lijiang, and take a cable car ride to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Finally, immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural beauty and holy religious atmosphere of Shangri-La by visiting Songzanlin Lamasery and Pudacuo National Park.
Lugu Lake in summer is a nice place to escape the summer heat and enjoy its incredible scenery.
- 8-Day Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La Tour — Meet the Amazing Beauty of Yunnan
- 7-Day Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La Tour — A Feast of Landscapes and Ethnic Minority Culture
- 6-Day Lijiang to Shangri-La Tour — An Exceptional Adventure in Northwest Yunnan
- 3-Day Lugu Lake Tour
- See our recommended Yunnan tours for inspiration.
2. Inner Mongolia — Vast Grasslands
Inner Mongolia has vast grasslands where you can enjoy horse riding and trekking when the weather is comfortable. During the short and hot summers, the grass is the tallest.
Grasslands stretch as far as the eye can see. It has one of China's most beautiful and unusual natural areas. It was once the domain of the Mongol empires, and you can see Mongolian yurts in some places still.
Summer (July to September) is the best time to visit Inner Mongolia when the temperature is most comfortable. The grasslands are green during this time and it is also the best time to take a desert hiking tour. Besides, the Naadam Grassland Festival is held in the summer.
3. Chengdu — Meet Cute Pandas
Chengdu is a city of pandas. The lovely giant pandas are the No. 1 reason that people visit Chengdu.
Pandas are used to decorate the city and you can find them in a variety of forms, such as panda hats, panda purses, panda shoes, panda buses, etc.
If you want a deeper panda experience, you can join in a giant panda volunteer program. See our 2-Day Wolong Panda Keeper Program Tour.
Jiuzhaigou (Jiuzhai Valley) is open to visitors. With cool weather, summer is the best time to see its waterfalls and green lakes.
Mount Emei in Sichuan Province in Southwest China is one of the most well-known summer destinations in China thanks to its pleasant weather, congenial atmosphere, the inspiring natural scenery, and the influence of the Buddhist culture.
Four Girls Mountain, named for its appearance, is often referred to, and comprises four snowcapped mountains which are favorites for climbers and hikers.
- 2-Day Wolong Red Panda Volunteer Program Tour
- 5-Day Chengdu, Leshan and Mount Emei Tour
- 1-Day Pandas and Sanxingdui Museum Tour
- 7-Day Chengdu, Mount Emei and Jiuzhaigou Scenic Tour
- See our recommended Chengdu tours for inspiration.
4. Guilin — A City in Karst Mountains
Guilin is famous for its marvelous limestone scenery. It's a city sitting amid karst mountains. The picturesque Li River takes you into a misty Chinese brush painting.
In summer, the scenery along the Li River is clear and the river breeze is soft when you are on the cruise. However, on stormy days, the cruise will be suspended for safety.
You will experience some cooling summer fun in Guilin. Challenge yourself to an SUP (stand-up paddleboard, i.e. a mini raft) on the Yulong River, take a bamboo raft, jump into the cool pools only known by locals...
In the terraced fields, you will see green terraces filled with seedlings, which is pleasant after hiking up the mountain.
- 5-Day Dynamic Guilin and Yangshuo Tour — Indulge in Summer Fun in the Karst Landscape
- 3-Day Guilin and Yangshuo Tour — The Essence of Guilin
- 4-Day Guilin Scenic Countryside Discovery — Guilin Scenic and Ethnic Discovery
- 6-Day Guilin, Yangshuo and Longsheng Tour — A Song of Rural Charm
- See our recommended Guilin tours for inspiration.
5. Zhangjiajie — A Surreal World
Zhangjiajie features fabulous mountainous scenery. It is a natural summer resort and has China's first national forest park — Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Towering mountains, clear streams, and fresh air make the park a natural air conditioner and a natural oxygen bar.
In summer, the mountains are full of green trees and are surrounded by mist on rainy days. When you walk between the mountains, the cool wind blows the summer heat away.
Take the world's longest cable car to Tianmen Mountain, which has the highest peak in Zhangjiajie. The heat dissipates when you take a cable car to reach the top of the mountain. The mountain peak vistas are charming, especially under the misty rain and fog. Walk on the cliff-hanging walkway and see the 99 Bends and the grand Tianmen Cave.
- 5-Day Zhangjiajie Hiking and Biking Tour for Any Level
- 4-Day Zhangjiajie Essence Tour
- See our recommended Zhangjiajie tours for inspiration.
6. Gannan — Scenic and Cool
Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is in the southwest of Gansu Province with gorgeous mountains, valleys, gorges, wetlands, and meadows.
Most areas of Gannan are only about 3,000 meters above sea level, and the highest average temperature in summer is a comfortable 20°C (68°F), so it is known as "the most approachable Tibetan area".
Summer is the best time to visit Gannan when the grasslands are the most luxuriant, full of wildflowers. Enjoy the blue sky, have a deep breath of the pure air, and fully free your soul.
Ruo’ergai Grand Prairie is full of little white flowers, swamps, and vibrant wildlife. Visit Labrang Monastery and Langmu Temple to get a true taste of Tibetan culture without any of the hassles of going to Tibet.
7. Tibet — A Pure Land with Mysterious Culture
The temperature in summer in Tibet is around 12-24°C (54-75°F). In summer, you may have lower risk of altitude sickness because the air has a higher oxygen content than in other seasons.
Summer is the time to travel to the various attractions in the remoter regions and enjoy the high-altitude sites when the mountain passes are snow free such as a Mount Kailash hiking.
Many Tibetan festivals are held in August such as the Shoton Festival, Nagqu Horse Racing Festival, and Ganden Thangka Festival.
- 14-Day Tibet Tour including Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar
- 5-Day Tibet Tour including Lhasa Highlights and Lake Yamdrok
- 7-Day Tibet Tour including Trekking and Camping
- More Tibet tours
8. The Silk Road — Discover Chinese History and Culture
The Silk Road was an important international trade route in ancient times, and stretches a long distance through some amazing scenic and cultural places.
Scenery along the Silk Road is intriguing, together with the historic sites and cultural places. Qinghai Lake is decorated with golden clothing in summer. Zhongwei's vast desert has fun and exciting activities, such as camping and sledding.
The Terracotta Army and Ancient Walls in Xi'an and grand Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang where you can witness Buddhist history on the walls. It will be meaningful and interesting.
- 11-Day Along the Great Silk Road Tour
- 8-Day Qinghai Lake, Zhangye, and Dunhuang Tour
- 3-Day Zhongwei Desert Tour with Winery Experience
- More Silk Road Tours
9. The Yangtze River Cruise — Enjoy Undisturbed Time
The Yangtze River is one of the best summer options in China, where you can enjoy a luxury cruise. Summer's Yangtze River is dense green, where the plants on the mountains and high cliffs are verdant.
Appreciate the marvelous gorge scenery from the deck while you’re bathed in the breeze and having a cup of coffee or glass of wine. Have a wonderful welcome banquet and talk with people from all over the world.
Cruise ships stop at the many attractions around the Three Gorges, such as White Emperor City and Fengdu Ghost City. You can stretch your legs to appreciate the natural landscapes, and get an insight into the culture and history of the Yangtze.
Contact us if you are interested in a Yangtze River Cruise.
10. Guizhou Province — Explore Chinese Minority Culture
Guizhou Province is an ideal summer destination, as it is temperate and not very hot.
You will discover places and diverse minority cultures that you've never heard of. Visit Mount Fanjing, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018. It isn't a trending place to visit now, so you can enjoy a quiet trip there. The cool weather and cloud-wrapped Mushroom Rock will not disappoint you.
Guizhou has the second highest number of minority groups next to Yunnan Province. Tujia, Miao, and many others make Guizhou an important place for ethnic culture. You can learn disappearing traditional crafts, such as making paper by using vegetable fiber, batiking and silver-ornament-making.
- 10-Day Fanjing Mountain and Zhangjiajie Natural Wonder Discovery
- 6-Day Diverse Minority Adventure
- See more Guizhou tours for inspiration.
11. Xinjiang — a Romantic Purple World
In summer, Turpan's grapes are ripe. It is wonderful to have a mouthful of juicy and sweet melons and grapes in a hot summer day.
Yili, a fabulous prefecture in Xinjiang, turns into a romantic world blanketed by lavender and many other colorful flowers in summer. Yili's summer has a cool, semi-arid and continental climate, which is suitable for outdoor activities.
Relaxing in this pure world, without the noise of traffics and the bustle of large cities, will leave you calmed and charmed. The grasslands are spectacular, and can be enjoyed in traditional style with a horse ride.
Xinjiang is also a good place to explore Muslim culture and snacks.
- 11-Day Along the Great Silk Road Tour
- 7-Day Xinjiang Highlights Tour
- 9-Day Urumqi, Turpan, and Ili River Valley Tour
- More Silk Road tours
12. Qinghai Lake — Nature and Tibetan Culture
Qinghai Lake is China's largest, and it is often deep blue, high in the old Tibetan homeland of Qinghai Province. You can appreciate Tibetan culture and food while you walk and bike in the towns in the area.
In July, the lake is decorated with golden clothing, as tens of thousands of hectares of rape flowers spread out from Qinghai Lake's shores.
- Recommended tour: 8-Day Qinghai Lake, Zhangye, and Dunhuang Tour
13. Northern Sichuan — Cool with Tibetan Landscapes
Northern Sichuan is a great option to escape the crowds and heat in summer. In northern Sichuan, you'll find the source of the Yellow River, the ancient battlefield of King Gesar as told about in the Tibetan legend, and less touristy monasteries.
You can also extend your tour to Jiuzhaigou, which now is open to visit. The cool mountain weather and green lakes are definitely good choice for a summer vacation.
Places to Go around Shanghai in Summer
Anji Bamboo Forest: In summer, it provides various cool and exciting activities for both adults and kids. You can raft down a clear stream in the valley, try cliff swinging, walk on a glass skywalk, and see pandas in the Bamboo Garden.
Recommended tour: 2-Day Weekend Getaway to Anji Bamboo Forest
Hengdian: You can explore the largest movie and television base and have fun in an amusement park with an aquarium and water park.
Recommended tour: 2-Day Hengdian World Studios Weekend Getaway
Jingdezhen: It will take you through China's porcelain history. In summer, Wanghu National Forest Park is a nice place to enjoy a cool summer with waterfalls, lush trees, and cool spring.
Recommended tour: 3-Day Jingdezhen Porcelain Tour
Enoy Your Summer Vacation in China with Us
All our tours can be customized. If you are not interested in the above destinations or tours, you can contact us to tailor-make a summer tour for you. It is important to us that you feel comfortable and safe during your visit and we will respect any requests or decisions you make regarding your travels.
- See more recommended tours for your vacation in China
- Just feel free to contact us if you have any questions.