Spring (March–May) is one of the best times to travel in China, if you don't mind the rain showers. The weather warms up, but it's not too hot, and there are fewer tourists than in summer.
If you love photography will find mid-March to mid-May full of lush landscapes, colorful blossoms, and fresh green hues. Spring is a picturesque and pleasant season for you to travel in China.
Top China Spring Destinations
Below is a list of China's prime spring destinations with pleasant scenery and interesting outdoor activities.
1. Yunnan — Flowers, Sunshine, and Vitality
Yunnan is bright, fresh, and warm in spring. Whether you're looking for a wonderful view or outdoor activities, Yunnan can satisfy you.
The seas of rape flowers in Luoping take first place for their size, goldenness, and eye-catching landscapes. Dali's warm sunshine falls on outdoor lovers enjoying Erhai Lake's charms. The grand Water-Splashing Festival in Xishuangbanna blesses new life in a tropical paradise…
Spring highlights in Yunnan:
- Hike up Jade Dragon Snow Mountain on a hidden trail and have a bike ride alongside Erhai Lake.
- Visit a local Tibetan family near Shangri-La and enjoy a starry night with a bonfire on the grassland.
- Visit a non-public dormitory of Songzanlin Monastery in Shangri-La.
- 9-Day Yunnan Dynamic Family Tour
- 8-Day Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La Tour
- 6-Day Xishuangbanna Water Splashing Festival and Pu'er Tour
- 5-Day Kunming, Luoping, and Wanfenglin Tour
2. Tibet — Spring's Pink Blending with Mysterious Culture
Under the snow-capped mountains, peach trees by the roadside, riverside, and valley sides are in full bloom after a cold winter. The frozen lakes begin to melt.
The sound of chanting comes from the monasteries gleaming against the pure sky. Tibetan people start farming their barley fields.
As Tibet has not completely shed its coat of snow and ice in spring, there are few tourists, and its beauty appears purer with more personal space for you to enjoy it.
Spring highlights in Tibet:
- Enjoy peach blossom in Nyingchi and explore Lulang Forest.
- Marvel at the blue ice of Tibet's biggest glacier — Laigu Glacier.
- Watch the exciting debates between monks at Sera Monastery.
- 8-Day Lhasa, Nyingchi, and Bome Spring Tour — When Spring's Pink Blends with Mysterious Tibet
- 8-Day Lhasa to Everest Base Camp — Pilgrimage to the Roof of the World
- 5-Day Lhasa Classics and Lake Yamdrok Tour — Lhasa Highlights and Holy Lake
All our tours can be customized. Contact us to create a trip for your spring break according to your group size, time, budget, interests, and other requirements.
3. Western Sichuan — Less-Traveled Roads with Stunning Plateau Scenery
If you want to experience Tibetan culture and plateau scenery with no Travel Permit and a lower risk of suffering altitude sickness, then Western Sichuan is the place to go.
Pear flowers are blooming in Jinchuan Valley and Danba. Hidden in the sea of flowers are the Tibetan villages and monasteries. Pastoral life on Tagong Grassland begins to wake up.
Spring highlights in Western Sichuan:
- Appreciate splendid pear blossoms and azaleas blooms.
- Go horse riding on vast Tagong Grassland.
- Explore Huiyuan Temple — the only royal Tibetan Temple in Garze.
Recommended tour: 4-Day Western Sichuan Tibetan Spring Tour from Chengdu
4. Guilin — Idyllic Painting-Inspiring Scenery
Farmers plow their fields with water buffalos and plant their paddies with rice in spring. The Longji Rice Terraces are irrigated, and the waterlogged paddies sparkle in the sunlight.
Frequent rainfalls in spring shroud the rivers, pinnacles, and the city itself in mist and fog, like in an ink painting.
Spring highlights in Guilin:
- Try a 2-hour via ferrata (cable-protected cliff climb) in Yulong River Ecological Park.
- Make and paint a paper fan in 'Chinese Painted Fan Town' — Fuli Ancient Town.
- Hike among the Longji Terraced Fields.
- Explore a "mysterious" limestone cave with magnificent stalactites and stalagmites.
- 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
5. Zhangjiajie — Vigorous Forests and Seas of Clouds
Spring is a good time to travel to Zhangjiajie because of the vigorous forests and seas of clouds. It is more relaxing during this season, with fewer people around. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle, this may be the best season for you.
Spring highlights in Zhangjiajie:
- Bike around the beautiful and non-touristy side of Tianmen Mountain.
- Experience via ferrata (cable-safe cliff challenges) at Hongyanling (Red Rock Ridge).
- Hike among the amazing pillars and peaks of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
- Try bungee jumping on the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge.
6. Huangshan — Rape Flowers and Fresh Air
The brilliantly blooming flowers and fresh, crisp air are features of spring in Huangshan. Spring is one of the best seasons in Huangshan. You could appreciate seas of cloud on the Yellow Mountains and appreciate yellow rape flowers along the road.
The villages, for example Hongcun, around the Yellow Mountains were once considered to be the utopia of ancient China.
Spring highlights in Huangshan:
- Ascend the Yellow Mountains and enjoy sunrise, sunset, and seas of clouds.
- Visit the "artists' muse" — the beautiful village of Hongcun.
- Escape to a rural utopia in Bishan village and see how artists have turned this small area into a rural paradise.
- 3-Day Ancient Villages and Yellow Mountains Tour
- 3-Day Escape to Huangshan from Shanghai or Hangzhou
- 4-Day Trekking in the Yellow Mountains
7. Chaozhou — Delicacies and Chaoshan Culture
Spring is the best time to enjoy the delicious food and cultural cornucopia of Chaozhou, when the air is fragrant and fresh and the temperatures are most pleasant.
Walking along the road, you can often smell the fragrance of food coming from the restaurants — the beef hot pot, fresh fish dumplings, crispy spring rolls, fermented bean curd cake…
Spring highlights in Chaozhou:
- Taste Chaozhou kung fu tea and watch Chaozhou opera in a teahouse in Chaozhou Old Town.
- Enjoy amazing Chaozhou cuisine in Paifang Street.
- Explore Guangji Bridge, one of China's greatest bridge construction creations, while you take in Chaozhou's history.
Recommended tour: 3-Day Chaozhou and Shantou Tour
8. Dunhuang — A Pearl on the Silk Road
The "world's four ancient civilizations" of China, India, Greece, and Islam co-mingled there, making Dunhuang an international stage full of exotic customs and ancient legends.
The warm and windy weather in spring is ideal for outdoor visits. You may feel cool and comfortable outside as you enjoy the spectacular natural scenery in Dunhuang.
Spring highlights in Dunhuang:
- Bask in history and art in the Mogao Caves
- Paint your exclusive mural on a mud slab that is made from the same materials as the Mogao Caves.
- Explore Devil City (Yadan landscape) to witness a masterpiece that was created by wind and sand.
Recommended tour: 5-Day Dunhuang Desert Culture Journey
Spring Travel Tips
If you can't stand high humidity, we recommend visiting western China regions, such as Yunnan and Tibet. Southern cities can be wet and rainy in spring.
The flower season is mostly between mid-March and mid-April, with such spectacles as peach blossoms in Nyingchi, pear flowers in Western Sichuan, cherry blossoms in Wuhan, and rape flowers in Wuyuan and Guilin.
There are two important public holidays in spring: Tomb-Sweeping Day (April 3–5) and May Day (May 1–5). Then, Chinese people will be travelling in droves. Make your reservations as early as possible during these holidays. See Where to Escape the Crowds in China Around Labor Day
Spring Weather in China
Generally, China begins to experience a significant winter thaw early in the spring. The exceptions are Hong Kong and other places in the extreme south, which don't really experience a winter. There, spring starts warm rather than cold.
As the cold ebbs away, light wintry drizzle is replaced by increasingly heavy spring (thunder) showers, as the monsoon season builds.
Wet weather can be expected, but it should not dissuade you from touring. Vendors selling rain gear and umbrellas are plentiful at major tourist sights and every convenience is provided to make spring touring comfortable down to canopy roofs on Yangshuo rafts!
Springtime in China: North vs South
On average spring in China is from mid-March to mid-May, but with the big difference in latitude, northern China's spring is later (April–May), and in the south it is earlier (March–April).
In northern and western China in spring, temperatures during the day begin to warm. The evening hours however bring a chill that could dip below freezing, so travelers are advised to pack warm clothing. You'll hardly notice the monsoon in the dry north and west.
In central and southern China, temperatures are warmer, but there are heavier rain showers, which cool it down quite a bit. You should pack an umbrella or raincoat and thin layers of clothing to make it easy to adapt to whatever temperatures you experience. Temperatures are comfortable, though the humidity may not be.
For more detailed spring weather information, see:
Recommended China Spring Tours
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 spring tour for you.
Here's our pick of our three most recommended spring itineraries:
- 8-Day Lhasa, Nyingchi, and Bome Spring Tour
- 5-Day Kunming, Luoping, and Wanfenglin Spring Tour
- 4-Day Western Sichuan Tibetan Spring Tour from Chengdu
See more China tours for inspiration…