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November is the beginning of the real winter weather in northern and high altitude areas. It can be an ideal time to travel in China after the peak season crowds head home and before the worst of the chilly winter weather arrives.
North China sees its first snows, but Central and South China have moderate and comfortable temperatures. November is a good time to see fall foliage in China, as leaves change color after the first frosts.
You can see fall colors around the Great Wall, the Yellow Mountains, and the Yangtze River. Red, gold, yellow, and brown hues create an amazing view. The sky is more often clear in dry autumn.
— Beijing, Datong, Hohhot, Harbin…
Beijing gets crisp, cool, and clear weather optimally, and the locals love to see the fall scenery and exercise during the day. Beijing and the mountains to the north where the Great Wall is get their first snowfall, and it usually freezes at night. It is usually dry and clear and only lightly polluted this month.
There is low Chinese tourism, so foreign tourists benefit because prices decrease substantially from high season.
Clothing: November is cold at night. Wear a coat, gloves, and head covering as well as lighter clothes.
— Xi’an, Tibet, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Dunhuang…
In most areas, the temperature falls significantly, and it gets cold and snow starts to cover the ground. The average high is just above freezing in Urumqi, and it freezes nightly.
Xi'an gets cool days, and it usually stays above freezing at night. The days are still pleasant, and most days are clear. It rains infrequently, so this is good weather for touring and street shopping.
Clothing: What you should pack depends on the altitude. You'll need a coat everywhere. For Lhasa, wear sunglasses and dress in layers.
— Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Huangshan…
Shanghai mostly has pleasant autumn weather and there may be fog in the morning. But a cold snap might bring bitter windy weather. Red and yellow leaves decorate the city.
There are generally cool or warm days and cool nights well above freezing.
Clothing: Jacket, light clothing, head covering.
— Changsha, Wuhan, Zhangjiajie...
This area of China around the Yangtze River also cools much in November, but it is still fairly comfortable. Average lows are still above freezing. It rains about one day out of three.
The mountains in Wulingyuan in Zhangjiajie Prefecture feel cooler. So it is good weather for a strenuous hike. The hills and valleys are beautiful with many colors and shades.
Clothing: It is windy and cool. A warm base layer and jacket are recommended.
— Guilin, Nanning, Hainan, Guangzhou, Hong Kong…
Guilin cools, and much less rain and more sunshine makes for better touring, hiking, and biking. Less tourists also make for a more enjoyable time.
Hong Kong gets ideal warm, dry, and sunny weather for outdoor activities, sightseeing, and street shopping. There is little rain. November and December are the most pleasant months.
Clothing: The weather is changeable in most of the region. It is generally warm, but it can get cold unexpectedly. You'll need warm weather clothing and a jacket.
— Dali, Lijiang, Xishuangbanna, Kunming, Chengdu…
Like usual, the valleys of Yunnan Province and Sichuan Province have pleasant weather. The mountains are cold though and receive snow. It is cool or cold depending on altitude. Rainfall varies much as well. Dali and Kunming both have cool weather with occasional rainfall. Lijiang however has cold nights just above freezing.
Chengdu and the mountains have their autumn foliage. The scenery is clear with good air quality. The temperature is comfortable, and rain is infrequent. The first week is an ideal time for going to Jiuzhaigou while tourism is lower.
Clothing: Jacket, T-shirts, shirts, pants, rain gear. Take a coat and winter gear if you go up to the mountains.
Press the links to see the cities' climate and local current forecast.
|Cities||Average High||Average Low||Rainy Days||Precipitation|
|Beijing||10°C (50°F)||0°C (32°F)||4||7mm (½")|
|Xi’an||12°C (54°F)||3°C (37°F)||6||24mm (1")|
|Shanghai||17°C (63°F)||9°C (48°F)||8||43mm (1½")|
|Hong Kong||24°C (75°F)||19°C (66°F)||
|Chengdu||16°C (61°F)||10°C (50°F)||
|Guilin||20 °C (68 °F)||12°C (54 °F)||9||64mm (2½")|
|Kunming||17°C (63°F)||7°C (45°F)||
In general, Chinese are busy at work and school in November and December. There are no major holidays, but there are ethnic festivals and regional events in November.
Pack your bag and come with us to explore the beauty of China in fall. Below are popular tours for your inspiration that you can modify.
For more suggestions see How to Plan Your First Trip to China.