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Best time to visit China

Learn how to get cheap flights, avoid monsoon season and skip the lines.

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The best times to visit China are April, May, early June, September and October, when the weather is temperate and crowds are few. The summer months can get busy with tourists, so it’s best to avoid June, July and August if you don’t want to be around crowds. Keep in mind that Southern China experiences monsoon season from late April through September, so if you’re traveling to Guangzhou or elsewhere on the southern coast, we suggest waiting until October.

Best time to visit China

China experiences all four seasons. Expect cold and snow in the winter and heat and humidity in the summer. As the country is so vast, temperatures vary greatly depending on your location and elevation, so it’s best to decide which cities you’d like to see before deciding on when to visit them.

Here’s the best time to visit China, depending on your activities:

  • Sightseeing. Sightseeing is good all year round, though you should avoid the summer when monsoons are prevalent.
  • Mountain exploration. You should visit mountainous areas such as Tibet and Inner Mongolia during summer, as winters in China’s mountains can be harsh.
  • Snow sports and attractions. China’s top ski resorts include Alshan, Yabuli, Huaibei, Nanshan and Xiling. They are in season between November and April.
  • Visiting the countryside. Visiting the countryside is good all year round, but it is best during the cooler spring and autumn shoulder months.

When is peak travel season in China?

July through August is when you’ll find the most amount of tourists visiting China — school is out and many people will be taking summer vacations.

Not only will it be hot outside, but you’ll also find that many hotels will be fully booked and attractions will be overflowed with camera touting tourists.

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Weather

The weather in China varies, depending on where you go — just like traveling in the US.

Beijing (north)

Beijing is hot, humid and rainy during the summer, and dry and chilly during the winter. Aim for spring or fall for the sweet spot of sunny days and fewer crowds.

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
High36° F42° F54° F69° F80° F 87° F 88° F 86° F79° F66° F50° F39° F
Low17° F22° F33° F47° F57° F 66° F 72° F70° F59° F46° F32° F21° F
Rain0 days1 days1 days2 days3 days7 days10 days8 days5 days3 days1 days0 days

Xiamen (south)

The climate in Xiamen, on the southeastern tip of China, is mild and pleasant for most of the year, as it rarely drops below 50° F. However, it’s rainy throughout spring and summer, and typhoons influence the weather from July to September. The autumn months are a great time to visit southern China, offering drier days and less humidity than summer.

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
High64° F65° F68° F76° F82° F87° F92° F91° F89° F83° F76° F68° F
Low51° F52° F55° F63° F70° F76° F79° F78° F76° F70° F63° F55° F
Rain4 days7 days10 days10 days12 days12 days7 days10 days6 days2 days3 days3 days

Average yearly temperatures sourced from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in February 2021.

Cheapest time to visit China

You can find the lowest prices on hotels, tours and activities from December to February, as the weather drops to freezing in many tourist cities. For bargains with more pleasant temperatures, search for deals between March and April or between October and November when the weather is either warming up or cooling down.

When it comes to flights, the cheapest time to fly to Beijing is June, according to data from Skyscanner. Just keep in mind that you’ll likely run into large crowds and long lines if you travel during this time.

Events and holidays

Plan your trip to China during these holidays to celebrate with the Chinese. Just keep in mind that prices on flights and hotels are likely to spike during Chinese New Year, as tourists around the world flock to partake in the festivities.

Winter

  • Chinese New Year. During Chinese New Year everything closes, giving way to celebrations that last for a fortnight.
  • Lantern Festival. This marks the final day of the Chinese New Year festivities and is celebrated with the lighting and flying of lanterns. Fireworks displays, parades and lion dances are also part of the celebrations. The biggest Lantern Festival in China is in Nanjing.

Spring

  • Qingming Festival. Also known as Tomb Sweeping Day, many Chinese people take this national holiday to pay respects to their ancestors.

Summer

  • Dragon Boat Festival. Falling in line with June’s summer solstice, the Dragon Boat Festival is a national holiday of eating, drinking and dragon boat racing.

Fall

  • National Day. This public holiday recognizes the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, which occurred in 1949.
Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC advises postponing travel to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading COVID-19. If you plan to travel during the pandemic, monitor the risk assessment levels for your destination when planning your trip, before departure and on arrival. Follow safety measures that include wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands. If you are diagnosed with, have symptoms of or are waiting for test results for COVID-19 — or are otherwise at risk of illness — do not attend gatherings or travel for 14 days.

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