September is one of the best months for traveling in China. It is noticeably cooler than the main summer months and there are fewer tourists.
September marks the beginning of autumn weather in China. The summer heat begins to wane and the weather in the north becomes cooler. In South China, the hot and humid weather continues, but it is gradually replaced by cooler and drier weather by the end of this month.
Read on to find out how China's September climate affects tourism and our travel suggestions.
China Weather in September: Overview
- Average daily temperature range: 16–26°C (61–79°F), mild–warm
- Average rainfall: 85 mm (3 in), moderate
- Average rainy days: 5
- Average sunny days: 25
Weather in North China (Beijing, Xi'an...)
North China gets crisp, mild, and clear weather for much of the month. The beginning of the month may still be like summer, though. Its moderate rainy season ends in August, so the pleasant early autumn weather is great for touring.
In Beijing, the average temperature is 16–26°C (61–79°F). North of Beijing, such as in Mongolia, it averages 5°C (41°F) colder, so it's still pleasant to see the grasslands.
Xi'an is still warm with cool nights. Pleasant autumn temperatures are cooler after the light rain.
Clothing: Wear summer clothing, such as shorts, T-shirts, and light trousers, plus a thin jacket or warm layer for cooler days and evenings.
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
Great day out with Mark, thanks China Highlights!
We did a 1 day private tour with China Highlights to see Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Communication was great throughout - from trip planning/booking with Roger and from our guide Mark who contacted us the day before to confirm meet up time/location. Avoided a lot of the queues and definitely learned quite a bit of history from our guide Mark…thanks again! No language barriers/issues…highly recommended.more
Nov 2023, ykeezy
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
Anne and Bob’s tour of Beijing
We did the China Highlights tour of Beijing with our excellent guide Mark and his driver. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Beijing highlights including the Lama Temple, the Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Lama Temple. The Summer Palace with the boat ride and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony were memorable also and the Mutianyu Great Wall was a highlight. We were impressed with Mark as a guide. He knew his history and he was kind and thoughtful. He took us to some excellent restaurants and we were introduced to some beautiful food. We enjoyed his company and will always remember him.more
Nov 2023, BendigoBob
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
Amazing experience in Beijing
Spent 3 days in Beijing under China Highlights! Our tour guide Jennifer spoke excellent English and was very knowledgeable in Chinese history. Not only was she friendly, she was always on hand to help me with my heavy luggage. She also recommended us very good chinese restaurants for lunch and dinner. She went beyond her call of duties to make sure we had a enjoyable time in Beijing. China highlights also surprised me with a birthday cake on my birthday. Kimi Huang who was my consultant was ever ready to answer all my queries promptly. Thank you for making our trip a memorable one.more
Nov 2023, Delltravellor
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
Thank you Mark and China Highlights for an amazing trip!!
Mark was the first sight that we had after getting off the plane and what a beautiful site he was! We felt very safe having him as our first tour guide! We sure appreciate having him guide us through Beijing wouldn’t replace him with anyone!! Thanks Mark for all of your hard work and preparation!more
Nov 2023, adyn h
10 stars for Mark and China Highlights for making our trip unforgettable!!!
Mark was an amazing tour guide he was honest, hard working, punctual, thoughtful, anticipated all of our needs, and took care of everything. It was a worry free experience and we couldn’t have done it without him. Thanks to Mark and China Highlights we had an unforgettable trip! Highly recommend!more
Nov 2023, Jamie H
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
Weather in East China (Shanghai, Hangzhou...)
East China has pleasant September weather. The fragrance of cassia and cinnamon flowers contributes to the soothing feel of fall.
The warm days and cool or warm nights generally have less rainfall than in summer, and the climate is not as dry as in the north.
Shanghai averages 21–28°C (70–82°F). Eastern cities, such as Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Huangshan, are similar.
Clothing: Wear a thin rain-resistant jacket, light clothing, and shorts.
Weather in South China (Guilin, Hong Kong...)
Temperatures in South China are significantly higher than in the north.
Guilin cools in September, averaging 22–31°C (72–88°F). It rains much less than earlier in the summer. This makes for better weather for a Li River cruise. And at the end of September, it's the best time to see the golden Longji Rice Terraces.
Temperatures in cities further south, such as Guangzhou and Hong Kong, are higher still. Hong Kong remains a little rainy due to occasional typhoons.
Clothing: Wear shorts or light trousers and other summer clothing, such as T-shirts, sunglasses, and a hat.
Weather in West China (Chengdu, Tibet, Yunnan...)
In Lhasa and other high-altitude cities in Tibet, the temperature is lower than in cities further east. Lhasa averages 9–21°C (48–70°F).
Chengdu averages 19–25°C (66–77°F). The weather is warm and rainy at the beginning of the month, but it cools down and stops raining quite as much as the days of September go by.
Yunnan is at the end of the rainy season in September and the rain gradually decreases. The temperature is mild and perfect for traveling.
Clothing: You'll need a variety of clothes, such as a jacket, light trousers, T-shirts/shirts, and rain gear. Take a coat if you go up to the mountains, such as the area around Lijiang in West Yunnan. For Lhasa, take your coat and sunglasses and dress in layers.
The Top 7 Places to Visit in China in September
The good weather makes it ideal to go anywhere in September. Here are seven destinations that are perfect for first-time visitors to China.
In September, the mild and pleasant temperature in Beijing greatly enhances your visiting experience, particularly when exploring major attractions, such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, which are large outdoor structures.
Moreover, during autumn, Jing Mountain, standing at one end of the Forbidden City, is an excellent viewpoint to ascend. Its gentle slopes make it easily accessible, and you can also enjoy a panoramic view of the Forbidden City from its summit.
Additionally, city walking becomes even more enjoyable during this season. By strolling through neighborhoods, markets, and parks, you could immerse yourself in the lifestyle and daily routines of the locals in Beijing, gaining a deeper understanding of their lives.
Guilin in September is bright and sunny. Guilin in autumn is also at its most beautiful time.
At the end of September, it is harvest time at the Longsheng Rice Terraces and the rice is golden.
Embark on a scenic hike along the terraces to behold breathtaking views, accompanied by refreshing breezes and glimpses of hardworking farmers toiling in the fields.
The weather is also optimal for a Li River cruise and relaxing on a bamboo raft on the calm Yulong River.
The weather in Xi'an during September is delightful, offering pleasant and mild sunshine.
It provides ideal conditions for strolling along the medieval Xi'an City Wall, allowing you to admire captivating views of the bustling cityscape, including towering skyscrapers, traditional architecture, and alleys.
Through this activity, you could witness the city's development and evolution, particularly when looking from an east to west orientation.
A visit to the Terracotta Army becomes even more rewarding during this time, as the quieter ambiance adds to the overall enjoyment. Following your visit to see the Terracotta Army and to let you learn more about it, we could arrange a special experience to make a mini clay warrior.
Moreover, the favorable weather lends itself to delightful culinary adventures and pleasant visits to various historical sites.
In September, Yunnan unveils its breathtaking natural beauty, inviting you to embrace the enchanting landscapes. Immerse yourself in the stunning Stone Forest near Kunming, the serene allure of Erhai Lake and Cang Mountain in Dali, the majestic Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Lijiang, and the tranquil expanses of Shangri-La's meadows.
Yunnan also offers a great blend of local culture. Embark on a journey to a Naxi village in Lijiang, where you could unravel the mysteries of the only hieroglyphics still in use in the world. Engage in the artistry of the Bai people's tie-dye tradition to make your own ethnic handkerchief, and savor the authenticity of home-cooked local delicacies.
September in Tibet is perfect for trekking due to its warm and dry weather. The Everest Base Camp route stands out as the most popular choice. For those seeking a challenging adventure, Mount Kailash presents an excellent option, also serving as a pilgrimage site.
Even if trekking isn't your preference, in September, Tibet offers the opportunity to relish its stunning landscapes and unique cultural experiences. A leisurely city walking tour in Lhasa allows you to explore the heart of the city, observing local lifestyles and architecture. Visit monasteries and unwind over tea in a peaceful nunnery.
You could also bask in the grandeur of the plateau, marveling at the turquoise lakes and glacier vistas.
When visiting Chengdu, one unmissable experience is watching pandas. In September, pandas are more active compared to the summer months due to the cooler weather.
This provides you with increased opportunities to witness them playing and climbing trees in their outdoor playground. We can also arrange a panda volunteer program for you.
If you're a nature enthusiast, the highly recommended destinations near Chengdu are Daocheng and Jiuzhaigou. They offer stunning autumn scenery.
In Jiuzhaigou, you'll see fiery red maple leaves, golden aspen trees, and verdant forests reflecting in the sapphire-like lakes.
In Daocheng, the red grasslands and yellow poplar forests create an immersive experience akin to being surrounded by a sea of vibrant colors.
September is the best time to witness one of the four wonders of Huangshan, the Sea of Clouds.
In September, the ever-changing mists and fog envelop the valleys of Huangshan, creating a magnificent spectacle. The prime locations for observing the Sea of Clouds are West Sea Grand Canyon and Refreshing Terrace.
The optimal moments to witness the scenery are during sunrise and sunset when you could also witness the extraordinary Buddha's Light phenomenon.
In addition to the Sea of Clouds, as the middle of September approaches, the lush green leaves of Huangshan begin to transition into hues of gold and fiery red.
Costs and Crowds in September
While September falls within the peak travel season from April to October, it remains a comparatively quieter month for tourists. Combined with its favorable weather conditions, September undoubtedly emerges as the optimal time for travel.
Tour prices are reasonably competitive during this period, offering a respite from the bustling summer vacation crowds. However, it's important to note that at the end of September, tourist numbers and travel demand tends to rise for the upcoming National Day Golden Week in early October.
Booking 3 to 6 months in advance is advisable as it allows for a broader range of high-quality hotel options and room selections, ensuring a more fulfilling travel experience.
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