River in China with beautiful colors

China – Best Time to Visit & Public Holidays

This post was last updated on April 13th, 2020 at 10:08 am


Whether you are walking on the Great Wall, on your way to the Terracotta Army, Lushan National Park or visiting the interior regions of China, it’s nice to have good weather. Due to the size of the country, the best time to visit China can sometimes differ. Good weather can give your trip that little bit extra. Nobody wants to be faced with unpleasant surprises when it comes to the weather.

 

The best time to visit China is in the spring season (April and May) and autumn season (September and October). The summer months in between are also good months, but it can get quite hot. In spring and autumn, the temperatures are wonderful and it is less crowded.

 

The high season is from June to August. First of all, because it is the hottest, but also because there are many international holidays.

 

The worst time to visit China is during Chinese New Year (late January / February). During these months it is very busy.

 

The Seasons of China

The best time to visit China can be subdivided into the high season, low season and mid-season. It is not only the weather that determines it but also the differences in crowds and prices of accommodations or places of interest, for example. Consider well in advance in which season you want to travel.

 

High Season

Small boat flowing through the river in China

May to August

These months are the high season, but it also rains the most during these months. Fortunately, it is also the hottest period of the year. Prices of accommodations are rising, especially during the first week of May.

 

Mid-Season

Rice terraces in Longji, China

February to April and September to October

The mid-season is a great time to travel in China. The biggest advantage is that the temperatures are still pleasant, especially in the spring. It gets a little cooler during the fall. You often have clear blue skies and the prices are a lot lower.

 

Low Season

Tianmen Mountain Landscape and Viewpoint

November to February

The low season is from November to February. The big advantage of traveling in the low season is, of course, the lower prices and the fact that it is much quieter (except during the Chinese New Year). It is quite cold, especially in the north. In the south, it is still warm.

 

TIP – There is a difference in the best time to visit between the north, south, and east of China.

 

Best Months to Visit China

China is a gigantic country which means that there is no one best period. It can get quite chilly in the interior regions in the fall, while in spring the weather is not always optimal on the coast.

 

We have made an overview per month to help you on your way. This way you know roughly what to expect during your trip through China.

 

Weather in January

January is not the best month to be in China. The temperature is around freezing and they also celebrate Chinese New Year at the end of January. During this period, the entire country is free and it gets unprecedentedly busy.

 

In the interior regions like Yunnan and in the north it is cold, sometimes with snow. All in all, not the best time to be in China.

 

Weather in February

The weather in February is similar to January. In addition, you have to deal with the effects of the Chinese New Year when the majority of the Chinese population travels home again. That means crowded roads and public transport.

 

It is slowly getting warmer, but shorts and a t-shirt are not recommended.

 

Weather in March

The temperature will rise slightly in March, but it doesn’t get very high yet. If you still want to travel in March, go south, where the temperature constantly fluctuates around 20°C (68°F). The blossoms also begin to bloom in March.

 

Weather in April

When it comes to the best time to visit China, April is one of the best months. The temperature across the country is rising. In addition, there is not as much rain as during the summer months.

 

The advantage is that nature is in bloom, which gives the landscape a beautiful color.

 

Weather in May

Like April, May is one of the best months to travel in China. The temperature is slightly rising, which makes traveling just a bit more pleasant. It is not as hot as in the summer months.

 

Another big advantage is that you often have a clear blue sky in the spring because there is still little cloud and rain.

 

Whether you visit the west, south, north or east. In May you almost always have good weather.

 

Weather in June

June is the start of the summer. The temperature goes up to 30°C (86°F). That in itself is nice, the disadvantage is that the rain also increases. One big advantage of the rain is that nature will become green and lush in this period.

 

If you want to travel during the warm season (June to August), June is the best month, because you are traveling before the international holiday season.

 

Tourist boat on on the river between karst mountains
If you travel in the right season it won’t be that busy on the Li River

 

Weather in July

In July it is high summer and it is nice and warm. It is even the hottest month of the year. Still, this is not the best month to travel to China, as it can get quite busy. In the west of China, it can sometimes exceed 40°C (104°F).

 

It is cooler in the mountains and inland. If you want to hike in the mountains or through rice fields, this is a great time.

 

Weather in August

In August it is very warm, just like in July. If you don’t mind warm temperatures, a downpour and a lot of travelers, August is a great month. If you prefer to travel around more quietly, this is not the best month for you.

 

Weather in September

The best time to visit China will start again in September. It is the start of autumn and the bustle of the international holidays is over. It is one of the best months to travel in China as it is still warm but less crowded.

 

The temperature throughout China is still pleasant.

 

Weather in October

October is also among the best months to visit China. The temperature drops, but there is less and less rain, making the air clearer. That means you have good views of the mountains.

 

TIP – The first week of October is a national holiday week so it is better to avoid the first week.

 

Weather in November

In November, autumn is at its peak and nature changes color. It will get colder and drier. In November you have good views of the mountains. It can snow in the north.

 

Weather in December

In December it is full-on winter and, therefore, very cold. It can freeze anywhere, including cities like Beijing or Shanghai. In the west of China, it can get much colder and that is why you better skip that region in December.

 

If you want to go to China in December, head south.

 

Best Time to Visit North China

The north and northwest of China have a continental climate. This means extremely cold winters but also wonderful summers where the temperature can sometimes rise to 40 degrees Celsius (104°F). There are many beautiful highlights in the north that are worth visiting. The table below shows the best time to visit the north of China!

 

Average temperature and rainfall in North China

 

Best Time to Visit South China

The south of China is more what you expect from Asia; there is a subtropical climate here. The temperatures are pleasant here and in the winter months, it rarely gets colder than 20 degrees Celsius (68°F). There are a number of beautiful islands that are definitely worth a visit!

 

The best months to travel here are during the winter months. The temperature is then somewhat lower but it rains less. Temperatures can rise above 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) between May and October and more rain falls during these months.

 

Average temperature and rainfall in South China

 

Best Time to Visit East China

In the east of China, there are many large cities that are worth visiting. Wherever you are, whether in a city or in a rice field, the weather will always determine your journey.

 

The months of May to August are the best months to travel in East China. Although there is more rainfall in those months, the temperatures are good. The rain usually falls at the end of the day or in the morning and often only lasts an hour.

 

Average temperature and rainfall in East China

 

The Busiest Holidays

In China, they have many holidays, which is not a bad thing, it only gets very busy in the country during these times. Everyone is free from work and travels around the country to visit family and friends. That means crowded roads, sold-out accommodations and complete chaos on the public transport.

 

The Golden Weeks in China is an extremely busy time of the year. The Golden Weeks can be compared with a string of Black Saturdays in America. In these weeks, which occur three times a year, almost everyone is free from work!

 

These weeks fall in February (around the Chinese New Year), the first week of May, and the first week of October. Take this into account when planning your trip. All trains, flights, and buses are overcrowded and certainly, at the more famous highlights, it is extremely busy.

 

In short, these are periods that you can better avoid. These are the most important ones:

 

February – Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year in 2021 starts on February 12th and lasts until February 26th (about 15 days), but before that, people are already starting to travel to family and friends. It gets very busy two to three weeks before New Year, which means that February is generally better avoided.

 

May 1 to 3 – Labor Day

This is only 3 days, but many people have time off from work. Many Chinese go out to take a short holiday, so early May is not the best time to travel to China.

 

October 1 to 7 – National Day

National Day is a national holiday week rather than a day. 1.3 billion people go out and you can imagine what it looks like on the road and public transport. Cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Zhangjiajie are almost impossible to get in (or out of).

 

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