China is an ideal getaway all year round. Whenever you choose to go, China has something for you.
Because China is a large country (roughly equivalent to the United States), the answer to when you should travel to China varies greatly depending on what you plan to see and do there. The fact is that even during the hottest and coldest times of the year, there is always something exciting to do in China.
In general, the best time to visit China is in April, May, September, and October. Travelers during these periods would be met with comfortable weather and breathtaking landscapes, while that also means your travel cost may be higher also. Traveling in other months is also rewarding because you will likely have more of the extraordinary landscape to yourself, as well as cheaper accommodations.
From April to June, you can do and see just about anything you wish, although the northern climes of Heilongjiang and Xinjiang could still be rather cold until the beginning of summer.
This time of year is probably the most popular season to tour China, in part because it is typically drier in places such as Beijing and Xian, which means it won’t be too terribly hot if you decide to visit.
While many people choose to head to Chine during the rest of summer, it’s often considerably hotter and humid in cities like Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, and Chengdu. It should be noted that the north of China tends to be drier on average, but the further south you move, you could see rain in the summer months. This shouldn’t discourage you from visiting the Li River or the Yellow Mountains, however, as the moist summer mists can make for an incredible view.
On the other hand, summer is typically the best time to visit the higher elevations of places such as Tibet or oceanfront vistas such as those of the island of Hainan, which is at roughly the same latitude as Hawaii and has a similar climate.
The early fall, like Springtime, has much to offer anyone who chooses to visit China. You should consider taking some warmer clothes along with you so you an comfortably appreciate the changing colors of the fall season.
In winter, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the world-famous ice festival in Harbin and experiencing Chinese New Year. While being able to witness the Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival) will be something you can tell your friends later, many experienced travelers prefer not to visit China at this time. It is commonly understood that transportation is crowded and many tourist attractions, including government offices, are not open for business. Other Chinese holidays you should be aware of include Labor Day (May 1-3) and Chinese National Day (October 1-7).
Because the date of Chinese New Year is tied to the lunar calendar, the exact date will move from year to year. Chinese New Year 2019, for example, will be on February 5th but will take place on January 25 in 2020.
At the same time, seeing China under a blanket of snow between November and March makes for a very memorable experience.
The Great Wall is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all the world, so the government keeps sections of the wall open year-round. This means you can have markedly different experiences depending on the season you choose to go.
April to the beginning of November are always a good bet to get the most out of visiting the Great Wall, with the summer months being the best-suited for camping on the grounds.
Beijing in December, January, and the beginning of February is quite cold so you will need to pack extra layers while walking sections of the Great Wall. At the same time, if the wall and mountains are covered in snow, the scene is exceptionally beautiful, particularly if the winds are not too strong.
China has a continental and seasonal climate: most parts of the country are in a relatively temperate zone and some areas in the south are have a tropical or subtropical climate. If you go far enough to the north, of course, the weather is considerably colder.
When you prepare for your trip, consider the average seasonal temperatures so as to know what to bring; jackets, sports coats, suits, and long sleeve shirts, however, are appropriate for this time of year. Be sure to bring some comfortable travel shoes.
You may also want to invest in a pollution mask for some of the smoggier days in China’s major cities. Plenty of locals utilize masks, so don’t worry about looking like a tourist. Amazon has pollution masks that you can take a look at.
*Check out these helpful maps of China!