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Generally speaking, Yunnan enjoys a mild climate with pleasant weather but, due to its varied terrain, the weather is also diverse in different regions.
Yunnan has high mountains bordering Tibet in the west, a hilly 1,000-m-altitude plateau in the east, and a tropical zone in the south.
Owing to its 1,000-meter-altitude with abundant heat and light, the east of Yunnan (around Kunming) has a year-round spring-like climate. The average temperature annually is 17°C. The coldest month is January with average temperatures ranging from 8°C to 17°C. The hottest month is July with average temperatures ranging from 21°C to 27°C.
Yunnan has distinct dry and rainy seasons. November to the following April is the dry season, when there is abundant sunshine and solar radiation is quite strong. Do not forget to take skin care products, such as sunblock and sunglasses if traveling during this period.
The rainy season runs from May to October. Most of the rainfall is between June and August. 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 overcoat and long pants.
East Yunnan has little temperature difference between seasons but a large temperature difference between daytime and nighttime, especially from November to the following February. Therefore, you are recommended to take a coat or some thicker clothing whenever you travel to Yunnan.
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 distance from the others."
The weather in most areas of Yunnan is mild in winter and cool in summer. It is suitable to visit Yunnan all year round.
As previously mentioned, Yunnan's varied terrain results in diverse landscapes and weather conditions. The best time to visit depends largely on what you want to see and which part you want to go to.
if you do not want to experience the large temperature difference between daytime and nighttime in spring and winter.
Things to Do
March is a good time to see the snowcapped mountain scenery.
April is a golden period for traveling in Yunnan as the temperature is comfortable and it is not yet the rainy season. The sceneries of Kunming, Lijiang, and Shangri-La are beautiful. It is also the best time to hike Tiger Leaping Gorge. However, although it is not the busiest time, pre-booking is still required.
March to April is also the best time to experience the festivals and ceremonies hosted by the Bai minority people in Dali. In spring, it is also a great place for admiring flowers and taking outings in the countryside.
Things to Do
From late spring to early summer, the best scenes of a flowery world unfold in Shangri-La. It is also the best time to admire the highland scenery. Midsummer is the best time to visit Pudacuo National Park in Shangri-La.
July and August form the rainy season as well as the peak season. The prices of attractions and hotels rise, and there are more travelers. However, more rainfall increases the water flow in rivers and lakes, and the scenery around Kunming and Lijiang is more impressive. Just confirm your booking earlier and let your guide help you solve any problems that may arise.
Things to Do
You can enjoy more sunny days in autumn. It is another golden period for traveling in Yunnan.
In Lijiang’s countryside, you have the chance to see a great view of the harvest.
Autumn is also the best time for admiring the colorful scenery in Shangri-La and for hiking in Tiger Leaping Gorge.
The National Day holiday, which lasts from October 1st to 7th, is the most crowded time in Yunnan. If you are going to visit the province during this period, you need to book your tour as early as possible. Your guide will do his/her best to ensure that you have a smooth journey, but you will still need to have some patience while queueing.
Things to Do
If you want a great view of snowcapped mountains, visit Yunnan in winter. With clear air and fewer clouds, you have a greater opportunity to see the peaks of the Meili Snow Mountains and the glacier scenery around Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
The most beautiful view of the Yuanyang Rice Terraces appears in winter — after the harvest and before the sowing begins. During this time, the harvested terraces will be filled with water. Under the sunshine, the terraces look like shining sapphire gems.
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.
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: