When To Go To China
China is a vast country and the climate varies enormously from north, south, east and west. There are low level tropical areas and high altitude provinces that can receive snowfall year round. For some, China is just a small part of an overall Trans-Siberian tour so the weather considerations in China are, perhaps, secondary to what they might be in Mongolia and Russia. If you are planning on spending more significant time in China though it is well worth trying to coincide with some of the better weather. Happily it is possible to take a Trans-Siberian trip that catches the good weather in Russia, Mongolia and China in one trip. That involves heading west to east starting in Moscow around the last week of August – ask us for more details.
Best Months To Visit
The best months to visit China are generally considered to be September and October – but avoiding the first week of October which is a National Holiday week and extremely busy for domestic tourism packing out all the sights. The other good period is the spring from April to May.
Worst Months To Visit China
The worst time to be in China is either the winter or the height of summer although both are certainly bearable and the summer is a popular time for China tours regardless of the heat and humidity. The other worst times, touched on above, are the national holiday first week of October and Chinese New Year (usually in January / February) is not a good time for internal travel by train although it can be interesting culturally.
China In The Spring
Spring is a popular season to visit China with good weather across the country. Spring reaches southern China a good month before it does so in the north so a trip that starts in Hong Kong working your way up to Beijing is a good idea.
The best places to visit in Spring include Beijing, Xian, Shanghai as well as the Silk Route and the Yangtze River. Keep in mind that Easter is a popular time to be flying to China so book airfares well in advance. Tibet is usually closed to visitors until at least the first week of April.
China In The Summer
Almost all of China in the summer is hot and humid with quite a lot of rain. This doesn’t stop the country being well visited at this time though and the evenings are very pleasant and in many respects the heat seems suit China. Hotels are all air-conditioned so you should get a good nights sleep.
The best places to visit climate wise are the mountains and Tibet. Keep in mind that airfares are high during the school summer break.
China In The Autumn
Autumn is generally considered the best time to visit China with weather being good across the country. This also makes it a popular time to visit and the better hotels fill up quickly. Prices can be a little higher at this time as well but the clear skies and clement temperatures are worth the additional cost.
Cities like Beijing, Xian and Shanghai are good to visit at this time as well as Guilin and Yangshuo for their stunning scenery.
China In The Winter
For many winter is not the obvious time to visit China. The north and west of the country are very cold but usually also very dry. Tibet is often closed and there are few Yangtze Cruises running. The south of the country is quite mild though and winter is a great time to visit Hong Kong.
The highlight of the winter is the spectacular Harbin Snow and Ice Festival which runs for about 6 weeks from early January.Harbin is a useful stop at this time along the Trans-Manchurian Railway.