China is a vast country with a rich culture, breathtaking scenery, and delicious cuisine. Summer is a popular season to visit China, as the weather is warm/hot and many attractions are at their most vibrant.
However, planning a summer trip to China can be overwhelming, especially for first-time visitors. In this guide, we'll provide you with tips on how to plan a memorable summer trip to China.
- What’s the Weather Like in China in Summer?
- Recommended Places to Visit in China in Summer
- Suggested Summer Itineraries
What’s the Weather Like in China in Summer?
Summer in China lasts from June to August (longer in the south), and the weather can vary greatly depending on the region you're visiting.
Northern China (Beijing, Xi’an) is hot and dry. The average daily high temperature in summer is around 32°C (90°F).
Most attractions in northern cities are historical and cultural, which are less affected by weather conditions. Almost all indoor visits are air-conditioned.
Southern China (Shanghai, Guangzhou, Guilin) is hot and humid. The average daily high temperature in summer is around 34°C (93°F).
Summer is very suitable for visiting gardens, mountains, rivers, and lakes and outdoor activities in the south. The occasional rainfall wouldn't affect your trip too much.
In some plateau or mountainous areas, such as Tibet, daytime temperatures average a comfortable 20°C (68°F).
June is a relatively cool month, about 2°C (3°F) cooler than July and August. June is recommended if you want to avoid the heat and encounter fewer tourists.
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
Amazing Great Wall tour with Helen
We did the great wall tour from Jiankou to Mutianyu with Helen.The tour was very well organized from the begining until the end.The treckking through the great wall was amazing and challenging. Helen took very good care of us and took as many stops as we needed to rest, drink water,have a snack or take pictures. She also explained us many things about the great wall and helped us with all our questions. After the long walk Helen took us to a local restaurant where the food was delicious! She managed everything perfectly so could have all the food ready when we got to the restaurant. Very recommended experience!more
May 2023, Marta
I had an amazing two trips on the Great Wall and the Forbidden City with the guide Ivy during my stay in China. She was very helpful and answered all of our questions with an enthusiastic approach. I have nothing to say but to highly recommend the trips they offer on the Great Wall hiking/camping and also the in-depth Forbidden City tour! Thank you Ivy and China Highlights.more
May 2023, Serhat Altay
Amazing First Time to Beijing with China Highlights
Tom, my private tour guide was there when I landed and accompanied me all the way through to sending me off at the airport after check-in at the end of my trip. Zhao the driver, who also did all the driving during my trip, was calm, confident and knowledgeable in taking us around. Both Tom and Zhao were punctual too. The Great Wall of China Hike I wanted to do started in a very remote, unrestored part of the wall. This would not had been possible without Tom problem solving many issues we had on the way up and I could not have done this on my own a a foreigner. It was well worth the effort and probably the highlight of my trip.The remainder of the tour around Tiananmen Square, Forbidden Kingdom and The Temple of Heaven was paired with a detailed commentary by Tom of which I learnt a lot.more
May 2023, Munsie
Beijing - city of surprises
A fantastic guide was waiting for us - Jack, who told all the stories with passion and commitment. He also fulfilled those wishes that were not in the plan. I highly recommend visiting Beijing with this guide.more
May 2023, Joanna i Piotr Kuzebscy
Liu Yuan was a superb guide and a lot…
Liu Yuan was a superb guide and a lot of fun to spend time with during my first visit to Beijing. It was a wonderful intensive three days.more
May 2023, Pam S.
Great weather and a good trip out with Lily!
Many thanks to my guide Lily for customising the trip to make it as efficient and enjoyable as possible. She arranged to start an hour earlier to beat the crowd and I got to enjoy the Great Wall before the crowd streamed in and while the weather was cool. I requested to switch the next attraction to visit from Temple of Heaven to Ming Tomb and she not only accommodated the prompt request, but made all the necessary arrangements even before the trip coordinator managed to reply! Kudos! Our driver was jovial and friendly, always on top of traffic conditions and took detours to beat slow moving traffic. Hassle free day and I wouldn’t have been able to cover the two attractions so easily and comfortably without them!more
May 2023, Meibao
This was our first time traveling to Beijing
This was our first time traveling to China, so we really wanted to experience some of the major historical sights of Beijing together with a tour guide. Our itinerary was very carefully planned out according to our interests and tailored to our needs. First, we went camping on the Great Wall and hiked from Jiankou to Mutianyu, and the next day we got an in-depth tour of the Forbidden City as well as a tour of the Temple of Heaven and a taiji experience in the gardens. Our tour guide, Ivy, was truly wonderful in preparing and organizing our personalized itinerary. She is very friendly and knowledgeable, and she was always able and willing to answer all of our questions. Ivy provided us with a truly amazing first visit to China and I would warmly recommend China Highlights for everyone who wishes to travel to China and I would especially recommend Ivy as a tour guide for your trips!more
May 2023, Annalina Wheeler
Tom is the BEST tour guide EVER!
Just had the most AMAZING tour with Tom. He was beyond knowledgeable, so generous with his time and made me feel so at ease which was super important as I am travelling by myself. Thank you Tom for the best day-you have totally made my China trip a fabulous experience, one I will never forget!more
May 2023, SHARRYN HINCHLIFFFE
Superb service and wonderful time in Beijing
Superb service from Jack who were with us for 4 wonderful days in Beijing. Jack was clearly knowledgeable about the history and able to deliver insight information to us about places. He was also kind and accommodating to my mother who has bad knees. Both China Highlights and Jack were flexible about the itinerary to ensure that we enjoy the best of Beijing. We'll definitely use China Highlights' services again for our next trip to China.more
May 2023, Chani
First time booking a trip with China Highlights and was fortunate to have Sunny as my private tour guide. We went to the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall, then arrived and walked around Gubei Water Town, and then visited the Simatai portion of the Great Wall at night. Was a very enjoyable trip as we were able to see a night time drone show in the sky, ride a private boat through the canals of the Gubei Water Town, and eat a delicious lunch at a local restaurant along the way. Sunny is super knowledgeable when it comes to the history of the Great Wall and took the time to explain various interesting facts and stories which made the trip very meaningful. The driver we had was also a very nice man who was always on time and eager to help. Was an unforgettable experience and would highly recommend Sunny and China Highlights :)more
May 2023, Allen C
Tour to the great wall from the airport
My guide Tom was ver kind and knowlegable, he explained everything to me about the great wall and even went out of his way to help me the next day at Bejings downtown! amazing service!!! thank you so much Tom!more
May 2023, Fer Villasefior
Great tour, fantastic guide!
This tour was fantastic! I loved hearing about the history of the Forbidden City and admiring the views at the Great Wall. William was a fantastic tour guide. We were a group of families with several young children, and he was very accommodating and flexible with timing and arrangements. I totally recommend this tour and William as a guide!more
May 2023, Ryan Corless
Four excellent sightseeing days in Beijing
We had wonderful four days in Beijing. The entire trip was tailored exactly to our wishes. From experiencing local food, to exploring the major sites of the city up to hiking the great wall of China. Additionally, we had two amazing guides Ina and Fan taking care of all the tickets and coordination required. Also, they could not only tell us everything about the sights we visited and give us an insight to local customs and traditions, but they did so in perfect German. The chauffeur service from Mr Chang was also excellent, getting us from A to B without any hazzle. The past couple of days were one of the most carefree trips we have had so far.more
May 2023, Katha
Great tour from William
Great tour organized by China highlights, our tour guide was William - his knowledge was impressive, his English was great and he was always on time. We did the four day tour including the wall and forbidden city - would definitely recommend to anyone looking for an English tour guide.more
Apr 2023, Lawrence
Beijing 2 day private tour
The tour itself was great, private driver to and from, my guide Ivy was great English speaking guide. She was very knowledgeable and passionate about her country. Was a great time exploring the Great Wall of china and then my second day did a city tour (forbidden city, hutong tour, summer palace). Felt extremely safe, and was confident having an English guide. Thank you china highlights. (Provide them what you want and they’ll make it happen). Prices are reasonable as I looked at a few places but for private tour, my own schedule, and confidence of getting around safely you can’t go wrong.more
Apr 2023, Mark
Everything was to the vest standard, the history all very well explained by the Tour Guide in Beijing, Ivy. Really enjoyed it, and appreciated the time.more
Apr 2023, Jonathan
Amazing Beijing Experience
I had an amazing time in Beijing and glad Tom was my tour guide. He went above and beyond and I’m truly grateful. Tom did all that he could to ensure my stay in Beijing for two days was pleasant and thanks to him, I say that it was. The driver was also nice and courteous, I called him Jon. The company is blessed to have a good tour guide like Tom on their team so if you are planning to come down to Beijing, make sure you ask for Tom. Thank you Christy and Kimmy for replying all my emails with questions that I had.more
Apr 2023, Pedro V
We had a great experience with China Highlights and Roger was highly efficient and helpful planning our itinerary exactly how we needed.more
Apr 2023, Brenda Sarmanho
Excellent service and tour guide!!
Excellent service and communication from the travel agent Roger Li and amazing tour and experience of Great Wall of China from our tour guide Amber. Highly recommended!more
Apr 2023, Evangelos Athanasopoulos
Maggie was such a tremendous help for…
Maggie was such a tremendous help for our recent Beijing trip. Very prompt and helpful in helping us plan and adjust/amend to our requests.more
Apr 2023, Hi
Recommended Places to Visit in China in Summer
Here are several recommended destinations that offer a blend of cultural, historical, and natural wonders…
Beijing is China’s must-visit city, known for its imperial history and architecture, no matter what the season, and especially for first timers.
Beijing’s summer is moderately wet and hot. But almost all the indoor attractions like the museums in the Forbidden City are air-conditioned. Heat won’t be a big problem for a summer visit.
The warm weather is good for a visit to the mountainous Great Wall. We suggest a sunset or night visit to avoid the heat of the day and the crowds. For a sunset visit, we can also arrange a picnic for you.
Xi’an is the best city for getting to know China’s traditional culture.
The main attraction in Xi’an is the Terracotta Warriors. It won’t be affected by the weather. For a special-interest activity, we can arrange the hands-on experience of making your own terracotta warrior in a cool and quiet workshop.
If you want to avoid the heat, a night tour of the city is recommended. We will arrange a fun and culturally-rich evening tour, where you can see the bustling nightlife in Xi’an, with food, street performances, and antique architecture, which would take you back to the medieval Xi’an of over a thousand years ago.
As the one of China’s top gateway cities, Shanghai is another place to visit no matter what season you come to China.
Shanghai is a place where century-old history meets modernity. The Bund is the best place to experience such a contrast.
We would like to enable you to enter historical buildings along the Bund and tell you the stories behind them. This would allow you to get to know Shanghai in a more in-depth way, and that without getting caught in the sun.
A cruise on the Huangpu River to see the skyscrapers to also a good way to learn about Shanghai. In summer, we recommend a night cruise for a cooler feeling and charming night views.
Guilin is best for seeing Chinese countryside views and experiencing the vitality of summer.
Yangshuo, a town near Guilin has plenty of cool outdoor activities for summer, especially for families with kids like discovering a cool and authentic karst cave and having fun on an SUP on a picturesque river.
If you are interested in local countryside life, take a local farmer's taxi to a market in a small town.
The biggest draw in Chengdu is the cute giant pandas. Pandas are “afraid” of heat. If you want to see pandas playing outdoors, try to go around 8 to 9am. They will probably go indoors to rest in their air-conditioned rooms after 10am.
We have access to giant panda volunteer programs that allow you to see pandas closer. You wouldn't have to line up at the right time to watch them. You could make panda cakes, watch pandas being fed, and clean their enclosures.
If you want to find a place to escape the heat, then Yunnan is a good choice. Yunnan’s summers are cool and beautiful.
Yunnan enjoys stunning scenery like the sparkling Erhai Lake, majestic Jade Dragon Mountain, and one of the deepest gorges in the world — Tiger Leaping Gorge. Yunnan is also a great place to learn about minority culture.
Summer is the best time to visit Tibet for its nicest weather and stunning scenery. The warm summer air has a higher oxygen content than in other seasons.
Journey to Everest Base Camp and witness the starry sky and the morning sunshine on the world’s highest peak. It must be on many people’s bucket list, as well as seeing the Potala Palace and various temples and discovering the religious significance and stories behind them.
If you are interested in Tibetan festivals, visit Tibet in August when the Shoton Festival, Nagqu Horse Racing Festival, and Ganden Thangka Festival are held.
If you want to learn about Tibetan folk customs and their life, we can arrange a local Tibetan family visit. You could also participate in their daily farming.
- 8-Day Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Private Tour
- 4-Day Lhasa Highlights Private Tour
- 2-Week Beautiful China with the Holy Tibet Tour
Suggested Summer Itineraries
For first timers, Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai are the basic classic combination. If you want to have more China experience, we’ve given you their combos with featured cities for different interests.
All our sample schedules can be adjusted based on your group size, trip duration and dates, and other needs.
1. If You Prefer Outdoor Activities
Beside the basic Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai elements, Guilin is recommended for outdoor lovers.
Guilin is suggested for its rich summer-activity selection and relaxing vibe. Guilin offers many interesting outdoor activities like biking, caving, and many water activities.
You may need to set aside 11–14 days for this trip. When it comes to scheduling, especially when traveling with children, we recommend a flexible schedule.
To avoid the heat, block out the afternoon or schedule activities after 4pm, like a sunset or night visit to the Great Wall.
Here is the sample itinerary:
- Days 1–3: Beijing sightseeing with all the must-see attractions and a special sunset visit to the Great Wall with a family picnic time.
- Days 4–5: Xi’an sightseeing with the Terracotta Army, a foodie tour, and a night walking tour.
- Days 6–9: Guilin with a Li River cruise and some interesting activities like caving, trying Chinese landscape painting, and SUP on a scenic river.
- Days 10–12: Shanghai with a visit to the Bund, a home visit and cooking experience, and some free time.
If you are interested in this itinerary, you can see more details in our 12-Day Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin, Shanghai Tour for Your Summer Vacation.
2. If You Are Looking for a Panda Tour
Chengdu should definitely be included in addition to Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai if you are panda lovers. We also recommend a Yangtze River cruise from nearby Chongqing — a good way to avoid summer heat while enjoying China’s natural views.
Here is the suggested itinerary, which takes about 2 weeks:
- Days 1–4: Beijing arrival and exploration with must-sees including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City
- Days 5–6: Xi’an sightseeing with a visit to the Terracotta Army and clay-warrior-making experience
- Days 7–8: Chengdu panda tour with a keeper program — make panda cakes, see pandas being fed at a close distance, and clean their enclosures.
- Days 9–11: Yangtze River cruise with excursions
- Days 12–13: Shanghai exploration with a visit to the Bund and some free time.
For more details, see our 2-Week Private Tour: Beijing – Xi'an – Chengdu – Yangtze Cruise – Shanghai.
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
Fantastic Chengdu family visit
We explored wonderful Chengdu and surroundings in 4 days. City tour in a relaxed way with delicious local snacks, really nice! Spectacular new dinosaur museum, Dujiangyan (combined Panda and dam in one outing, very recommendable), Leshan Buddha. All above super cool with the kids (ours are 7 and 4). Emei Shan impressive, maybe a little long driving to explore it and watch out for the hotels there, not all are nice and in the town itself there is nothing. But we were blessed with perfect weather on the top and perfect views. Eating hot pot is spectacular in Chengdu, but watch out how spicy it can be. Michael is just a perfect tour guide! He speaks super fluent German and has a very relaxed and competent style of explaining, which made the whole tour so nice. We love Chengdu and will definitely come back!more
Apr 2023, Stefan P
Giant Pandas - Giant Buddha - Mount Emei
We had a wonderful 3 days in Chengdu area,visiting the Panda breeding Center, Leshan Giant Buddha and hiking at Mount Emei.We have been travelling several times with Chinahighlights and everything was well organised as usual. Our guide Michael (fluent in English and German) was great showing us the beauty of Sichuan. We can highly recommend travelling with him and Chinahighlights.more
Mar 2023, steffenwet
Two amazing tours
Both tours were led by excellent guides who knew a lot about everywhere we went, and were very helpful and friendly. The agent was equally helpful and quick in responding to questions which was ,especially in covid restrictions time, extremely convenient.more
Jul 2022, Elizabeth
Panda Keeper for a Day at Dujianyan Sichuan
This is was the second time that we had signed up for the program Panda Keeper for a Day, this time at the Dujianyan Panda Base, about 1 hour drive away from Chengdu. Great experience again. We will surely do it once again.more
Mar 2022, Thomas
Amazing Tibet experience in Sichuan
Henry was an informative guide who went out of his way to ensure positive experiences. Mr Wu was not only a safe and attentive driver on sometimes rough roads but also a great photographer, capturing shots of us as we toured. Henry went out of his way to talk to anyone around to help bring the place alive through stories so we had the opportunity to meet so many locals, real people, and hear about their lives. Another highlight was the opportunity to climb a 1000 year old watchtower in Danba and meet the local family who managed it. Truly magical. Henry was also a consummate foodie who provided us with great local food recommendations along the way.more
Jul 2021, Deborah J
Amazing visit to panda bases in Chengdu and Woolong
Jason was terrific; he understood our interests in pandas and he made our outings very enjoyable. We plan to return to Chengdu to visit pandas and will be asking for Jason again.more
Dec 2019, victoriadH3461ED
We have just completed the Chengdu leg of our trip to China organised by Robert Hui at China Highlights. Our Guide for the 2 Day trip was Daisy Du who made us feel very welcome and helped us check in and ensured our rooms were satisfactory then gave us directions of where to go for the best food. The next day Daisy took us straight to the Giant Panda Breeding and Research centre. It was fantastic to see the Pandas so close. It’s a little sad that they are in captivity but it is essential to increase the breeding rate and so save these wonderful animals from extinction. We saw Pandas of all ages and sizes including a tiny little baby that was only 36 day old. After an extremely tasty lunch picked for us by Daisy she then took us into the people’s park and showed us the tea houses and dating area where parents can advertise their single ‘30 something’ children to potential partners. The day ended with a wander around Jinli Old Street where you can buy anything from food to souvenirs to furniture. We have had the best time in Chengdu helped no end by the friendly, helpfulness of our guide Daisy who knew all the best places to go and sights to see. Thank you Daisy, a great time was had by all. ---jayne_Stu Halifax, United Kingdommore
Nov 2019, jayne_Stu
Wonderful Chengdu tour with Jason
With other two friends I have visited Chengdu in September 2018 and our tour guide was Jason, who has been really amazing with us.He had the smart idea to bring us to the Pandas reserve very early in order to avoid the crowds, even if we were visiting Chengdu right during the Chinese national holidays.After the Pandas reserve, we visited the tea park and the city centre, where Jason could give us a lot of information about Chengdu. Jason gave us also very nice suggestions about places to visit in the evenings during our free time. Totally recommended!!! ---Vittorio C Berlin, Germanymore
Nov 2019, Vittorio C
Cecelia is your guide in Chengdu
We had a great time in Chengdu seeing the pandas and other excursions. Cecelia, our guide, picked us up with a bag of fruit and a wealth of knowledge. She took great care of us, got us through lines quickly and brought us to great restaurants. We even took a cooking class. Highly recommend her. --Robert D,Seattle, Washington, USmore
Oct 2019, Robert D
Chengdu and Wolong Panda base with Aaron
Aaron picked us up from the airport and drove us straight to the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center. We had a very enjoyable time touring the Research Center with Aaron. Even though he has probably been to the research center many times he seemed just as excited to see them as we were. Especially the babies! The next morning we headed to the Wolong Panda Base with a stop at the 2008 Earthquake memorial site. We had a great lunch in the small town of Gengda and then went on a hike in the Dengsheng Gorge with a local guide. The next day we did the panda keeper program which entailed cleaning cages (inside and out), feeding pandas, making panda cakes, watching a film about the program and walking around the base looking at the many pandas. After the program we drove back to Chengdu. While we were working Aaron took some great pictures of us cleaning and feeding the pandas. The next morning tour guide Snow took us to the train station. Aaron was such fun to be around, he spoke English wonderfully and gave us great info about the pandas. ---Cougfan Auburn, Washington, USmore
Oct 2019, Cougfan
Panda keeper program
Had a wonderful time on the panda keeper program which we booked through China Highlights. We generally avoid doing organised tours whenever possible as we prefer to do our own thing. Cecilia was our guide for the day and quickly made us feel at ease in her company she was interesting, knowledgeable and enthusiastic everything you want in a guide. The whole day was great and Cecilia certainly enhanced the experience, she took lots of photos for us throughout the day which was brilliant as it’s difficult getting photos together, she also provided us with buckwheat tea and biscuits which was a lovely touch. A big thank you to Cecilia. --Maria & Peter Foulgermore
Sep 2019, Mariafoulger
During this whole trip, at anytime , if we need to modify our schedule or activities, Aaron and the driver can accommodate. They are friendly, knowledgeable, good communicator, flexible, and dedicated to making sure our needs are met. Aaron, thanks for making this an unforgettable trip for us! --Venture114992more
3. If You Want to Avoid Heat
If you want to enjoy a nice and cool weather conditions on your summer trip, Yunnan is definitely the best choice to combine with Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai.
For a Yunnan trip, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La are the four popular destinations.
Here is the itinerary:
- Days 1–4: Beijing arrival and exploration with must-sees including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City
- Days 5–6: Xi’an sightseeing with a visit to the Terracotta Army and clay-warrior-making experience
- Days 7–8: Kunming with a less-crowded Naigu Stone Forest exploration
- Days 9–10: Dali. Visit a local village to discover the daily life of the Bai people, dye a handkerchief, and taste home-cooked local cuisine.
- Day 11: Lijiang. Visit Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and a Naxi family to learn about the mysterious Naxi culture.
- Day 12–14: Shangri-La. Visit a local Tibetan family, experience a Tibetan ceremony of blessing, learn to paint a thangka (‘sacred tapestry’), enjoy a starry night with a bonfire on the grassland...
- Days 15–16: Shanghai exploration with a visit to the Bund and some free time.
See more on How Long to Spend in China: Itineraries from 1 Week to 1 Month
Just contact us if you are interested in the itinerary. See our 8-Day Beijing–Xi'an–Shanghai Highlights Tour and 9-Day Yunnan Family Tour for inspiration.
Tibet is also a good destination for cool weather, as well as plateau scenery and mysterious Tibetan culture. If you are interested in Tibet, see our 2-Week Beautiful China with the Holy Tibet Tour.
Costs for a Summer Trip to China
Summer is the peak travel season for most of China. The price of hotels and airfares can go up by 50 to 100%. Other prices are relatively stable.
For a private tour, the average cost per day is about US$220–350 per person, including flights/trains within China, 4- or 5- star hotels, lunches, attractions, guides, and private transport. Kids under 10 get 30 to 50 percent off.
Hotels and flights to popular destinations will be in great demand during the summer vacation. If you are planning a trip to China in this period, we suggest booking 6 months in advance.
Crowding on a Summer Trip to China
China’s schools’ summer holidays usually encompass the months of July and August. So, crowds are expected, especially in popular destinations.
If you have a flexible schedule, a smarter choice is to travel in June, when there are fewer tourists and China’s summer vacations haven't started.
We'll also help you avoid crowds as much as possible, arranging VIP passage to avoid queuing, choosing less-crowded times of the day, etc. Our guide would also arrange a less crowed travel route for you, e.g. taking you on a hidden route when visiting in the Forbidden City.
We also have tours to many off-the-beaten-track destinations, like the Silk Road, northern Sichuan, and Inner Mongolia. If you are interested in these destinations or you have other interests, just contact us. Our tours are personalized.
Recommended Summer Tours to China
Our private tours are designed to be the most convenient and fulfilling option for your trip to China. We would create an itinerary according to your flight times, interests, and any other requirements.