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Top 6 Places to Visit in September in China

Written by CindyUpdated Apr. 10, 2024

September is one of the best months for travelling China weather-wise. Compared to the summer holiday peak season and October's National Day holiday, September is less crowded, which means a better travel experience.

The traditional Mid-Autumn Festival usually falls in September, bringing with it a great cultural atmosphere but crowds of Chinese travelers. In 2019, it falls on September 13. We list six best places to visit in the cool September.

Top Places to Visit in September in China

1. Beijing

Beijing Great Wall in September Great Wall

Beijing has four distinct seasons: blowy spring (sometimes with sandstorms), burning hot summer, cool autumn, and chilly winter. So, autumn is the peak season for travelling to Beijing, however, the most recommended month is September.

The low rainfall (46 mm (2 in)) and moderate temperatures (on average 14 °C (57 °F)–26 °C (79 °F)) can make your tour in Beijing smoother and more enjoyable.

Beijing has some of China's best World Heritage sites, such as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven. In this historical capital city, you can maximize your appreciation of Chinese culture and history.

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2. The Yellow Mountains

Yellow MountainsYellow Mountains

The Yellow Mountains is one of the most famous and beautiful mountainous areas in China. The peculiar-looking pine trees and rocks, the seas of clouds (which make the mountains and trees much more mystical), and the hot springs are the four highlights of the Yellow Mountains.

Though the Yellow Mountains is worth a visit all the year round, September is the most recommended moth to visit. Because the burning sun of summer has gone, autumn has added a cool mystery to the Yellow Mountains. It is easier to come across seas of clouds and see sun rises (less rain). 

The average temperature in the Yellow Mountains in September is 14 °C or 66 °F. The temperature difference between day and night is big, so remember to bring warm clothes.

Winter comes early in the Yellow Mountains, lasting from late October (begins to snow) to March, so the later you visit in September the more likely you are to see fall colors.

3. Shanghai

watertown around Shanghai Watertown

Shanghai is always popular, but September is especially suitable because of its more comfortable weather, and less crowding than in summer or early October.

You can stroll on the Bund along the Huangpu River and admire the historical architecture one side and gleaming skyscrapers the other. Or take a cruise to enjoy Shanghai's classic skyline views.

Alternatively, go up the highest building in Shanghai — the Shanghai Tower — and have a bird's-eye view of the city.

The surrounding water towns become cooler and more conducive to explore in September. Take a day trip to Zhujiajiao, a water town with fascinating canals, bridges, and architecture, and relax on a punted boat.

4. Chengdu

Chengdu JiuzhaigouJiuzhaigou

August is the month when most giant pandas give birth to cubs. If you visit Chengdu in September, you will have a great chance to see new-born or baby pandas. Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center is the best place to see baby pandas. See The Top 4 Places to See Giant Pandas in China.

The weather is comfortable, with less rain and clearer skies than in summer. It is a good idea to extend your trip to the adjacent mountain scenic areas if you visit Chengdu in September.

One of its best scenic areas is Jiuzhaigou. It sees its best scenery in fall, when the leaves turn golden and red, striking a lively contrast with its clear and emerald lakes. The colors are so vivid, it looks like an oil painting.

5. Yuanyang

Yuanyang Terraced FieldsYuanyang Terraced Fields

Yuanyang is a county in the southeast of Yunnan Province. It is famous for its terraced fields. The spectacular view from the scenic mountain terraces in autumn harvest season is definitely amazing. When the rice ripens, turning the hills a brilliant yellow color, with the terraced structure creating a myriad of golden tiers.

The terraced paddy fields wind from the valley bottoms up to the top, like, from a distance, great chains or ribbons as they wind their way around the contours of the mountain slopes in parallel, tiered bands.

6. Fenghuang Ancient Town

Fenghuang Ancient TownFenghuang Ancient Town

Fenghuang Ancient Town, a graceful town near the mountain and by the river, is renowned for its natural beauty, unique wooden buildings, and colorful ethnic customs (especially Miao Minority and Tujia Minority).

Generally speaking, Fenghuang Ancient Town is worth a visit all the year round. But, if you want to see the most beautiful Fenghuang Ancient Town, spring and autumn are recommended.

However, it always drizzles in spring, which may bring some inconvenience for outdoor activities. Hence, autumn, and especially September, is the best time for visiting this beautiful ancient town.

Cool weather, clear skies, less crowds (because summer holiday in China has finished), and rare rainfall will make your travel smoother.

Traveling to the town during weekends and Chinese public holidays is still not recommended, as there are more visitors, and hotels and restaurants raise their prices.

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