When to travel to China: weather and seasons
Shaped like the body of a rooster, China is a vast land, similar in size to countries like USA and Canada. Its landscape covers deserts in the northwest Xinjiang province, the Himalayan mountain ranges, the high-altitude plateaus of Tibet, flat rural plains, as well as coastal regions in the east.
China is subject to a great range of weather conditions. Harbin, nicknamed “Ice City”, in the northeast gets the Siberian high and is the city with the coldest and longest winter whereas inland central China can be extremely hot in summer. China is also a country that is prone to flooding, landslsides, earthquakes and typhoons. If you’re travelling to China, it’s pays to check the weather for the areas you’ll be visiting so that you can pack appropriately for your travel.
Rainy season in China
Climatic conditions can vary from region to region, for example, the rainy season in the southern and eastern regions is between April and July whereas in the north and west it is between June to August. Areas near the Yangtze River get their rains between May and September. Heavy rains can result in flooding and landslides, which parts of China are prone to, and for the traveller it can mean disruption to essential services such as transport.
The wet season also brings with it the possibility of typhoons. The typhoon season is usually from June to August and affects the southern and eastern coastal areas.
Parts of China area also prone to earthquakes, such as Sichuan Province and the remote mountainous regions of West China.
But rain is not the only weather concern in summer. Some parts of China can be oppressively hot in summer, such as the desert areas in Xingjian province in Western China and Central China.
Many of the major cities in China have populations in excess of 30 million people and air pollution is a serious problem in these cities. Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing, Xian are all pretty polluted and if you have breathing-related issues or wear contact lenses, you may wish to think about solutions for the air pollutants.
Best Time to Travel
The best time to go to China depends very much on which regions you intend travelling to. The most popular tourist months are May, September and October as the weather is more agreeable in these months. Unfortunately the peak tourist months also mean that prices are higher and there are more people about.
(Tip: If you are planning on travelling in October, stay clear of the National Day Golden Week. The National Day is celebrated on October 1st and during the seven day public holidays, you will be competing with millions of Chinese out and about enjoying their holidays.)
We arrived in Beijing in mid-October and it was still very hot in the capital. It poured in Xian and Chengdu and in Shangri-la we had day-time temperatures of 7C. We brought a hat for the sun, rain gear and cold weather gear, all of which we used during our month-long trip. So in spite of general weather trends, it’s advisable to be prepared for all weather types.
Average Climate for Beijing, China