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Yunnan Weather: Best Times to Visit

Yunnan Weather: Best Times to Visit

Written by Sunny XieUpdated Jan. 26, 2022

Yunnan enjoys a mild climate with lots of pleasant weather but, due to its varied terrain, the weather is also diverse in different regions.  

The Main Features of Yunnan's Climate

Yunnan has high mountains bordering Tibet in the north/west, a hilly 1,000-meter-altitude plateau in the east, and a tropical zone in the south.

Three Pagodas DaliThree Pagodas Dali

Spring-Like Climate

Owing to its elevation, the east of Yunnan (around Kunming) has a year-round spring-like climate. The coldest months are December and January with average daily temperatures ranging from 4°C to 16°C (39–61°F). The hottest months are June, July, and August with average daily temperatures ranging from 17°C to 25°C (63–77°F).

Distinct Dry and Rainy Seasons

Yunnan has distinct dry and rainy seasons. November to April is the dry season, when there is abundant sunshine and solar radiation is felt more. Do not forget to take skin care products, such as sunblock and sunglasses if traveling during this period.

The rainy season typically runs from May to October. Most of the rainfall is between June and September. During this season, the temperature may drop quickly along with the rain. So, apart from an umbrella or other protective rain gear, you are recommended to take a thin coat and long trousers.

Large Day/Night Temperature Difference

East Yunnan has less temperature difference between its seasons but a large temperature difference between daytime and nighttime, especially from November to February. Therefore, you are recommended to take a coat or some thicker clothing whenever you travel to Yunnan.

Obvious Vertical Variations in Climate

Yunnan is a mountainous province. The tall mountains of the west exhibit an almost full range of climate zones, from a subtropical zone at the base, to a temperate zone in the middle, to a frigid zone near the top.  

There is an old and accurate saying there that, "You can enjoy all four seasons on the same mountain, where each of these four seasons is only a few miles from the others."

Best Times to Visit Yunnan

If you had to pick a single province in China that would expose you to the greatest variations in topography and climate, it would have to be Yunnan Province. Yunnan's varied terrain and tropic-straddling location result in its diversity of landscapes and weather, and the best times to go depend largely on what you want to see and which part of Yunnan you want to visit.

Generally speaking, the weather in most areas of Yunnan is mild in winter and cool in summer. It is suitable to visit Yunnan all year round, especially the major tourism cities like Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La. See our local weather pages to learn more about the weather in major tourist cities in Yunnan and destination-specific travel tips.

Weather Forecasts for Major Cities in Yunnan

Kunming Weather

Dali Weather

Lijiang Weather

Shangri-La Weather

Yunnan in Spring (March to May) — See the Flowers

Best places for traveling: Kunming, Dali, Luoping and Xishuangbanna

Second best places for traveling: Dongchuan, Lijiang, Shangri-La, and Puzhehei  

Things to Do:

  • Enjoy various flowers blossoming in every corner of Yunnan.
  • Be amazed at the magical landscape of the Stone Forest near Kunming.
  • Dive in the “ocean” of yellow flowers in Luoping.
  • Feel the magic of tropical plants in Xishuangbanna.

Minority Festivals:

Most minority festivals in Yunnan are according to a lunar calendar, so dates are approximate. Contact us for exact dates.

Recommended Spring Tours:

Yunnan in Summer (June to September) — Escape China’s Heat  

Best places for traveling: Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La, and Puzhehei

Second best places for traveling: Kunming  

Things to Do:

  • Wander in leisurely ancient towns in Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La.
  • Bike along charming Erhai Lake, Dali.
  • Listen to the roaring of Tiger Leaping Gorge in between Lijiang and Shangri-La.
  • Appreciate lotus flowers in the boundless wetlands of Puzhehei.

Minority Festivals:

  • Horse Racing Festival (June) in Shangri-La
  • Mosuo Zhuanshan Festival (end of July) in Lugu Lake, Lijiang
  • The Naxi Torch Festival (mid-August) in Shuhe, Lijiang

Most minority festivals in Yunnan are according to a lunar calendar, so dates are approximate. Contact us for exact dates.

Recommended Summer Tours:

Lugu LakeLugu Lake

Yunnan in Autumn (October to November) — Enjoy Clear Skies and Harvests

Best places for traveling: Dongchuan, Shangri-La, and Tengchong

Second best places for traveling: Dali, Lijiang, and Nujiang  

Things to Do:

  • Shoot the colorful Dongchuan Red Land with white cole flowers and green wheat.
  • Relax your body and mind in a volcanic hot spring in Tengchong.
  • Watch birds at Napa Lake in Shangri-La’s prefecture.
  • Hike Yubeng Village near Shangri-la.

Minority Festivals:

  • Horse Racing Festival (June) in Shangri-La
  • The Naxi Torch Festival (mid-August) in Shuhe, Lijiang
  • Hani Month 10 New Year (late November), Yuanyang

Most minority festivals in Yunnan are according to a lunar calendar, so dates are approximate. Contact us for exact dates.

Recommended Tours:

Shoot the colorful Dongchuan Red Land with white cole flowers and green wheatShoot the colorful Dongchuan Red Land with white cole flowers and green wheat

Yunnan in Winter (December to February) — Admire Snow-Capped Mountains  

Best places for traveling: Xishuangbanna, Yuanyang, Tengchong, and Nujiang

Second best places for traveling: Shangri-La  

Things to Do:

  • Photograph picturesque landscapes at the Yuanyang Terraced Fields.
  • Admire the holy Meili Snow Mountains near Shangri-La.
  • Experience the unique Christian culture and breathtaking canyon scenery of Nujiang.
  • Escape to the rainforest of Xishuangbanna.

Minority Festivals:

  • Kuoshi Festival of the Lisu (December), Lijiang
  • Gedong Festival (January), Shangri-La
  • Gatangpa Festival (early January), Xishuangbanna

Most minority festivals in Yunnan are according to a lunar calendar, so dates are approximate. Contact us for exact dates.

Recommended Tours:

Admire the holy Meili Snow Mountains near Shangri-LaAdmire the holy Meili Snow Mountains near Shangri-La

Our Most Popular Yunnan Tours

Want to visit Yunnan, but finding it hard to decide when to go? Contact our travel experts who will give you professional suggestions and help you to tailor-make a Yunnan tour.

Here are our most popular Yunnan tours for inspiration:

See more Yunnan tours, which cover the highlights in Yunnan and also include exclusive programs to give a unique experience.

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