China is a year-round travel destination. Regardless of when you go, there is always a place that is worth visiting.
However, weather-wise, the best times to visit China are spring (April–May) and autumn (September–October). These periods offer tourism-friendly weather in the most popular destinations throughout the country.
In the following article, we will provide recommendations for the best destinations and activities to explore in each season and month.
Best Times to Visit China for Great Weather, Sightseeing, Festivals, and Low Prices
The best time to visit China could vary significantly depending on your China vacation purposes, budget, and weather preferences.
- Spring and autumn are the best times for the most pleasant weather and stunning natural landscapes. They are also good times for enjoying outdoor activities.
- If you're looking to enjoy good weather and avoid crowds, we recommend April, September, and mid to late October.
- For families with children, the available time usually revolves around the summer vacation period. If you prefer a quieter environment and less crowded attractions, June could be a good choice.
- If you are interested in experiencing China's festivals, we recommend visiting during Chinese New Year, which usually falls in late January and early February.
- November to March is the off-season. It is a time to benefit from less-crowded attractions and favorable prices. March and November could be smarter choices. The weather in these two shoulder-season months is better compared to other months in the off-season.
Most sightseeing in cultural and historical destinations, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi'an, is hardly affected by weather conditions. These destinations are suitable for visiting all year round.
No matter in what season you visit, we will carefully customize your itinerary based on your travel time to ensure that you enjoy the many charms of China without any hassles.
Wow this tour was honestly the best tourI have ever taken! Our guide Simon Yao was simply superb! His English was excellent and he was very easy to talk to. He was personable and friendly but not overpowering or overbearing. Very knowledgeable about history. Thankfully the weather was good so we were not super hot !Finally at the wall we were amazed by it's beauty and grandeur. It really is something and pictures don't do it justice.more
Nov 2023, Annika M
Excellent two day visit to Great Wall
Our guide ‘Mark’ was incredible. So friendly, knowledgable and funny. The itinerary was perfect, we got to see two different parts of the Great Wall (one of which at night which was magical) and our hotel stay in Gubei was wonderful. Highly recommend to anybody visiting Beijingmore
Nov 2023, James_Wolstenholme
China Three (3) Cities Tours
To the tour guides, Ethan, Jason and Tony, you guys have made my visit an awesome and memorable experience. All the tour guides spoke english and communicated very effectively. They are knowledgeable about all the sites visited including, Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, Panda Breeding and Research Center, Leshan Giant Buddha, Hallelujah Mountains, Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon and Glass Bridge, and Tianmen Mountain. The tour guides ensured I got the most out of my time I stayed in the various cities Beijing, Chengdu and Zhangjiajie.more
Nov 2023, Kadar
13 days in China
We booked a 13 day’s tour of China with China Highlights. Our travel advisor, Ms Leah Zhou organised an itinerary that suited what we wanted. She was really helpful and patient will all our needs. Leah helped us organised our 30th Wedding Anniversary Dinner and my 60th Birthday celebration?? in Beijing. For this to be possible, she had to liaise with our guide in Beijing. The flowers and cake were a real surprise. My husband and I, were really touched at the good service provided by China Highlights and Ms Leah Zhou. Thank you China Highlights and Ms Leah Zhou for your constant care of your customers. I will certainly recommend China Highlights to my friends.more
Nov 2023, Eda Adams
Perfect Beijing experience
Covering all major sights our exploration of Beijing and surroundings was flawless guided by Lily, along with her knowledgeable and balanced information on Chinas culture and history. In particular, Lily was able to adjust the tour according to personal preferences, e.g. focus on photography, as well as suggesting additional activities like an impressive authentic artistic show. I highly recommend China Highlights as China tour operator and Lily Liu as excellent guide regarding the Beijing area.more
Nov 2023, Perfect Beijing experience
Amazing Beijing Tour with Risa!
Risa gave us a wonderful tour of the city! She thoroughly explained the cultuaral importance of each exhibit while also educating us on the Chinese culture. Appreciated having this wonderful Beijing trip with Risa:)more
Nov 2023, Angelica M.
Amazing Beijing Tour With Risa!
We were very kindly received in Beijing by our tour guide Risa. She gave us a very thorough tour of the city and showed us wonderful places, while also explaining the important history/culture of China! Very beautiful city filled with many things to do and full of culture! This was very well planned and made it very easy for us to visit the city and foreigners:) Thank you Risa!more
Nov 2023, Angelica M
Do Beijing like a local
They organised my trip very quickly and efficiently. On the day, Anna was very friendly to me, my mum and my baby. Very accommodating to our needs. The car was immaculately clean and very comfortable. We visited everything we initially wanted and more. Also, Anna took us to the best meal we had in China. It makes a difference to have a local choosing the dishes!more
Nov 2023, Natali A
Beijing 2 day tour
Spent 2 days in Beijing with Ethan as my guide and had a fantastic experience. Ethan is very knowledgeable, easy company and takes excellent photographs. The organisation was excellent as well including the driver for the tour as well the airport pick up.more
Nov 2023, Tam
Excellent Two Weeks Across China
We used Asia Highlights (China Highlights in China) to help plan two weeks across China: Beijing, Xian, Guilin, a Yangtze cruise and Shanghai. Albee helped put it all together and was a huge help. She was very responsive and all the guides in each city were excellent! The hotels were perfect. We would definitely use the company once again for other trips to Asia.more
Oct 2023, Charles
Great Experience with China Highlights
Over at Beijing, Angela met us at the train station and ensured we were well settled in our hotel. We spent 2 days with her as our Guide. Angela is well informed and also adapted the itinerary to cover areas we wanted to take advantage off, e.g. apple picking at the orchard! The driver we had on both legs were good and friendly.more
Oct 2023, Edwin
China Round Trip in October 2023 Family FT & G Braun from Germany
Here in Beijing we got Jack as a tour guide who is very knowledgeable and supportive as well as flexible when there is a change in the program needed. Communication with him is easy as he is fluent in English. It is difficult to say which attraction is the greatest as all are outstanding being it the Forbidden City, the Great Wall or the Summer Palace as well as the Temple of Heaven. The driver, Mr. Hu needs also to be mentioned very positively as he politely took special care of us and his driving style was safe and patient with all the heavy traffic situations.more
Oct 2023, Franz-Theo Braun
I engaged Roger Li at China Highlights to arrange a One Day Beijing Tour for my clients from Brazil and the UK after our business meetings last week. Not only did the clients have a fantastic time visiting Tiananmen Square, Forbidden Palace and the Great Wall all in one day; but they came back with rave reviews on how well the day was organised and commented on the expertise of the tour guide too. I had 4 very happy clients then meet me in Shanghai for part 2 of meetings - thanks to Roger and Felix! Many thanks again.more
Oct 2023, Bobby Tsang
Jinshanling amazing hiking trip
We took the hiking trip Jinshanling package, we like it because the view was amazing, not much crowd and our tour guide arrange everything perfectly. We like it.However please be aware that this hiking trip will involve challenging stairs step and inclination, but still suitable for someone that exercise regularly.more
Oct 2023, Frans A
Awesome experience touring Beijing with China Highlights. My tour guide, Jennifer, was knowledgeable, professional, friendly, and very accommodating. It was like taking a tour with a friend. My favorite part of the tour was walking the Great Wall of China. Jennifer made sure to take me to a remote area, not just the crowded tourist area near Beijing, so I could get a more authentic experience.more
Oct 2023, Consumer
Awesome personalized tour. Well worth the money.
Lily Liu was our guide. I highly recommend using her. She helped us check out several local places that we absolutely loved and was great at answering all our questions and helping us experience Peking duck, Hawthorne and other things we were curious about.more
Oct 2023, Jessica P
Two great weeks!
We had Olivia as our tour guide in Beijing and Mervyn in Xi'an. They were both fantastic at their job and made us feel so welcome and added to the great experience we were already having. So grateful to their professionalism and wide knowledge as well as their friendliness. We're glad that China Highlights took us to the Mutianyu Wall instead of the crowded Badaling Wall. Less crowded and great views all around!more
Oct 2023, Road36501241284
Beijing 4 day trip
Silvia arranged my itinerary which included buying the high speed train ticket from Shanghai to Beijing and airport transfers. I did not have to think about anything. She added places to the itinerary which I would not have known to visit .more
Oct 2023, Wing Yee Cheung
Amazing 2 weeks because of China Highlights
We had Olivia as our tour guide in Beijing and Mervyn in Xi'an. They were both fantastic at their job and made us feel so welcome and added to the great experience we were already having. So grateful to their professionalism and wide knowledge as well as their friendliness.All in all, we are so glad for China Highlights. Affordable and really value-for-money kinda tour.more
Oct 2023, Elisabeth Zackrina
One Day Beijing Trip (Great Wall, Summer Palace) With Jennifer
My tour guide Jennifer made this quick one day trip to Beijing great! The day started out a bit overcast and rainy when I landed, but Jennifer’s positive attitude and kind communication (along with her being able to keep up/put up with my jokes) made it fine.Despite this, Jennifer and our driver Chen were able to swing an extra photo shoot stop at the Olympic Stadium. I guess it gives me an excuse to come back to visit again, and when I do - I will use China Highlights and this great fantastic team.more
Sep 2023, Alan Landau
The Worst Times to Visit China
While there are certain times to travel that may be considered worst, such as those having large crowds or bad weather, the impact of these conditions could be significantly minimized with proper planning, enough knowledge of the destination, and the right destination selection. That's what we could do for you. We would try our best to ensure you have an enjoyable travel experience by skillfully managing these factors.
To Avoid Crowds
If you don't like crowded environments, you should avoid traveling during the Chinese holidays. Most of the attractions are flooded with Chinese tourists during festivals and holidays, especially the two golden weeks:
- Labor Day holiday (May 1–5)
- National Day holiday (October 1–7)
If you are traveling during the above periods, book well in advance (at least 6 months) and get ready for the crowds.
In this case, we have three suggestions.
First, get up early to visit as you would enjoy a quieter scenic spot. Compared to the noisy environment, you will find that your early rise is worth it.
Second, choose less popular destinations, such as the Silk Road.
Third, skirt around the peak travel period and visit before or after the holidays. April, late May, and late October could be good times for the good weather, fewer crowds, and nice scenery. Travel costs are also down compared to the costs during holidays.
To Avoid the Rainy Season
If you don't like rain, you'd better avoid visiting in the rainy months.
For southern cities, such as Shanghai and Guilin, June, the rainiest month, is not a good choice for a visit, especially if you are looking for outdoor activities.
But you don't need to worry too much about the rainy season. China is a large country and the rainy season will be slightly different in each city, which provides you with a variety of options. Just contact us for recommendations and itinerary planning.
The northern cities of China, such as Beijing and Xi'an, are generally less affected by the rainy season, which occurs in July and August. There are only occasional short bursts of rain, which have little impact on the tourist experience.
China Travel Guide by Month
China has four seasons: spring (officially March to May), summer (June to August), autumn (September to November), and winter (December to February). The north has longer winters and the south has longer summers.
China is vast, with destinations for every season. Whether you visit in winter or summer, there's a suitable place.
Click the sign of each month to check the travel guide information. All our tours can be adjusted/customized based on your requirements. Just contact us.
China Weather in January
- North China (Beijing): freezing, -8–2°C (18–35°F)
- South China (Shanghai): chilly, 2–8°C (35–46°F)
On the whole, most cities in China are cold in January with low rainfall, except for the extreme southern, including Hainan Island, which still retains a warm 22–26°C (72–79°F) range.
There is snow in the north, but there is little snowfall in the south. If you want to see beautiful snow scenery and do some exciting snow activities, Beijing, Harbin, and many northern cities are recommended.
Seeing the snow-covered Great Wall, skiing in a winter games venue, and exploring a special residence in the north (a cave dwelling), which is warm in winter and cool in summer, are some of the best winter activities.
Harbin's Ice and Snow Festival, which often has more than one large castle that is made of ice and snow, is also popular among travelers.
January is a good time to experience the culture and atmosphere of Chinese New Year. You could explore interesting temple fairs, watch wonderful folk-art performances, and learn about the many customs of Chinese New Year.
If you want to have a warm winter holiday, Hainan Island (i.e. Sanya) could be your choice with its beautiful beaches and sunny weather. Yunnan is also recommended for its mild weather.
See more on China Weather in January (with travel info).
China Weather in February
- North China (Beijing): cold, -5–6°C (23–42°F)
- South China (Shanghai): chilly, 3–9°C (37–49°F)
The weather in February is very similar to January, with a slight increase in temperature.
February is not the peak season (except for the increase in domestic travel during the Chinese New Year holidays), so you could enjoy less-crowded attractions. The cold weather does not have a big impact on sightseeing, especially in the historical/cultural destinations, such as Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai.
The Lantern Festival, a traditional Chinese festival, usually falls in February. Many areas, such as Shanghai's Yu Garden, have lantern shows and fairs where you could see lantern displays and parades, and eat traditional festival snacks.
See more on China Weather in February (with travel info).
China Weather in March
- North China (Beijing): cold, 2–12°C (35–54°F)
- South China (Shanghai): chilly, 7–13°C (45–55°F)
In March, the temperature gap between the north and the south narrows and it begins to warm slowly, gradually entering spring.
Moreover, you could expect fewer tourists in March than in the coming peak months.
See more on China Weather in March (with travel info).
China Weather in April
- North China (Beijing): mild, 9–21°C (49–69°F)
- South China (Shanghai): warm, 12–19°C (54–66°F)
In April, the weather in China is generally mild and pleasant, although specific temperatures and conditions vary by region.
The southernmost regions have significantly higher temperatures, making them suitable for outdoor activities, such as flower viewing, hiking, or picnicking in the countryside.
Some cities in the south will have drizzle, which brings fresh air and magical misty scenery. The rains can actually enhance views, with mountain mists in areas like the Li River (Guilin) and the Yellow Mountains.
In the northern regions, the weather is cooler but still enjoyable for sightseeing and exploring historical sites, such as the Great Wall, or visiting cultural attractions, such as museums and temples.
See more on China Weather in April (with travel info).
China Weather in May
- North China (Beijing): warm, 15–27°C (59–80°F)
- South China (Shanghai): warm, 17–24°C (63–75°F)
In May, the weather in China is generally warm and pleasant as spring transitions into early summer.
The pleasant weather is suitable for outdoor activities and sightseeing in most cities, such as exploring Yunnan and historical sites like the Forbidden City in Beijing.
The first week of May (Labor Day holiday) is one of the peaks of China's travel season. Airlines, trains, hotels, shops, and restaurants are very busy. Contact us for an early booking!
After May's first week, you can discover China in relatively uncrowded springtime days (early summer days in more southern China).
See more on China Weather in May (with travel info).
China Weather in June
- North China (Beijing): hot, 20–30°C (68–86°F)
- South China (Shanghai): muggy, 22–27°C (71–81°F)
In June, China experiences varied weather conditions across different regions. Southern China enters the rainy season with higher temperatures and occasional thunderstorms.
Northern China enjoys warmer temperatures and sees increased tourist activity at landmarks such as the Great Wall or the Forbidden City.
It doesn't rain much in the north. Outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping, are popular choices during this month.
See more on China Weather in June (with travel info).
China Weather in July
- North China (Beijing): hot, 23–31°C (73–88°F)
- South China (Shanghai): hot, 26–32°C (78–89°F)
In July, China is getting hotter, especially in southern regions. There are occasional typhoon rains in coastal areas, such as Shanghai and Guangdong, but these don't last long.
Northern regions also have high temperatures. Indoor cultural attractions with air-conditioning would be a good choice, such as museums, the Terracotta Army, etc.
July is the peak season for tourism in China because of the summer vacation. If you want to avoid the crowds, some less-traveled destinations, such as Inner Mongolia, are recommended.
If you still don't want to miss the popular attractions, such as the Great Wall, we could arrange less-traveled sections for you, such as hiking at a wild and less-crowded section of the Great Wall or a night tour of the Great Wall.
See more on China Weather in July (with travel info).
China Weather in August
- North China (Beijing): hot, 21–30°C (70–86°F)
- South China (Shanghai): hot, 26–31°C (78–88°F)
In August, China is still hot across the country. Like July, there could be occasional showers of rain.
If the heat and crowds are challenges for you, a private tour will make your trip easier and more comfortable. Your guide can help you to avoid the crowds and private air-conditioned transport will keep you cooler. See more on How to Plan a Summer Trip to China.
Visitors will taper off in late August with the end of the summer vacation.
See more on China Weather in August (with travel info).
China Weather in September
- North China (Beijing): warm, 16–26°C (60–78°F)
- South China (Shanghai): less hot, 21–27°C (70–81°F)
In September, China experiences pleasant weather as summer transitions into autumn.
The temperature begins to cool down, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing in most cities. It is especially good to enjoy various natural sights. It is one of the best times to travel to China.
Although September is still the peak travel season in China, compared with the summer vacation and golden weeks, the flow of visitors in September is relatively small.
See more on China Weather in September (with travel info).
China Weather in October
- North China (Beijing): cool, 8–19°C (46–66°F)
- South China (Shanghai): warm, 16–22°C (61–72°F)
October is also one of the best times to visit China.
In October, China enjoys cool and comfortable weather. The cool weather is perfect for outdoor sports and for visiting large outdoor structures, such as the Great Wall.
It is also the prime time for admiring natural landscapes, especially the breathtaking autumn foliage.
However, it is important to note that the first week of October is a golden week for tourism. If you want to go to popular destinations, be prepared to expect crowds.
Traveling after the golden week is what we recommend, with more reasonable prices, comfortable weather, similar beautiful scenery, and fewer crowds.
See more on China Weather in October (with travel info).
China Weather in November
- North China (Beijing): chilly, 0–10°C (32–50°F)
- South China (Shanghai): mild, 10–15°C (50–59°F)
In November, China experiences varied weather conditions across different regions.
Northern China starts to get colder with occasional snowfalls, making it suitable for enjoying winter activities like skiing in resorts, such as Yabuli.
Southern China remains mild and pleasant, offering opportunities to visit cities like Shanghai and Guilin. Sightseeing, visiting historical sites, and experiencing local cuisine are popular activities during this month.
See more on China Weather in November (with travel info).
China Weather in December
- North China (Beijing): cold, -6–3°C (21–37°F)
- South China (Shanghai): chilly, 4–11°C (39–51°F)
In December, China experiences cold weather in most regions.
Northern areas, such as Harbin, offer the fascinating Ice and Snow Festival with intricate ice sculptures and winter sports.
Cities in the south have also begun to see significant cooling. Further south, such as in Guangdong and Hong Kong, relatively mild temperatures are maintained.
December is ideal for exploring cultural attractions and enjoying local cuisine.
See more on China Weather in December (with travel info).
Tour China with Us
Our travel advisors are very happy to give you suggestions and guidance for your trip planning. They can tailor-make your trip according to your interests and requirements, and help to find the best time of year for you to go to China.