When is the best time to visit China?

traveling through China
traveling through China

China is a big country with something special in every season. No matter when you go, there are great places to see. Let’s look at what makes each season a good time to visit China.

Spring (春季 Chunji) – March to May

How do the Chinese celebrate spring?

Spring is welcomed as a time of renewal and growth. It’s celebrated with the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), which is the most important traditional festival in China. This season symbolizes new beginnings and family reunions. People also participate in cleaning their homes to sweep away bad fortune and make way for good luck. The Qingming Festival, also in spring, is a time to honor ancestors and visit their graves, often involving outdoor picnics and flying kites.

Where to go in spring

Spring is a beautiful time to travel to the south of China. Yunnan is a wonderful province to discover during spring, with its colourful flowers and popular natural landscapes. Visit the ancient town of Dali to enjoy its historical sites amidst the backdrop of the Cangshan Mountains. Nearby, the terraced fields of Yuanyang are a photographer’s dream, especially in the early morning when the sun rises.

6 Days Kunming, Jianshui, Yuanyang Rice Terraces

7 Days Dali, Shangrila, Lijiang Tiger Leap Gorge Hike

7 Days Yunnan Journey to the Lost Horizon

Guangxi, with its breathtaking Li River, is perfect for a cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo. The river winds through karst mountains, offering views you won’t forget. Don’t miss the chance to walk among the Longji Rice Terraces, which are lush and green in spring.

6 Days Guilin, Yangshuo Culture Experience

4 Days Guilin and Yangshuo Tour

5 Days Guilin, Longji Rice Terraces, Yangshuo

Summer (夏季 Xiaji) June to August

How do the Chinese celebrate summer?

Summer is associated with growth and vitality. The Dragon Boat Festival is a significant summer event, commemorating the poet Qu Yuan with dragon boat races and eating zongzi (sticky rice dumplings). The hot weather is seen as an opportunity to engage in outdoor activities, though it’s also a time when people pay attention to maintaining health, often by drinking herbal teas and eating cooling foods to balance the body’s internal heat, according to traditional Chinese medicine principles.

Where to go in summer?

Summer can be very hot in China, but it’s also a time that is vibrant with activities and festivals. Beijing is bustling with things to do, offering clear days to visit the Forbidden City and take long walks on the Great Wall. Early mornings or late afternoons are best to beat the heat.

2 Days Beijing Forbidden City and Great Wall

1 Day Jinshanling Great Wall Hiking

In Tibet, the weather is cooler, making it ideal for visiting the majestic Potala Palace in Lhasa or taking a scenic drive to Lake Namtso, one of the highest saltwater lakes in the world. Qinghai’s cool climate is also welcoming, especially around Qinghai Lake, where you can enjoy biking or bird watching.

Check out all our Tibet tours here.

12 Days Qinghai and Gansu Exploration

Autumn (秋季 Qiuji) – September to November

How the Chinese celebrate autum?

Autumn is seen as a time of harvest and abundance. The Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated with mooncakes and lanterns, is a highlight, symbolizing family unity and completeness. This season is also associated with the gathering and storing of crops, reflecting the agrarian roots of Chinese culture. Autumn is appreciated for its clear skies and cooler temperatures, offering a respite from the summer heat. It’s a time for enjoying the beauty of changing leaves and participating in outdoor activities.

Where to go in autumn?

Autumn may be the most pleasant time to visit China. In the northwestern part of China (Xinjiang), Karakul Lake and its surroundings present a spectacular autumn scene. The area is home to diverse wildlife and the Tuvan people, offering a blend of natural beauty and cultural experience.

7 Days Xinjiang Urumqi/Turpan/Kashgar Discovery

Famous for the towering sandstone pillars that inspired the landscapes in the movie “Avatar,” Zhangjiajie is a wonder in autumn. The changing leaves add a layer of beauty to the already mystical scenery.

4 Days Zhangjiajie Tour

5 days Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang Ancient Town

The Mid-Autumn Festival brings mooncakes and lanterns, adding a festive mood to your travel. So much to do in autumn!

Winter (冬季 Dongji) – December to February

How do the Chinese celebrate winter?

Winter is viewed as a season of rest and conservation of energy. The Chinese New Year sometimes falls in winter, marking the start of the lunar new year with festivities that can last for weeks. The Dongzhi Festival, or Winter Solstice Festival, is another important event, emphasizing the importance of family and the consumption of nourishing foods like dumplings in the north and tangyuan (sweet rice balls) in the south, symbolizing reunion and warmth. Winter is a time for indoor activities and reflection, preparing for the renewal of spring

Where to go in winter?

Winter is cold but has its own beauty. The Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin has big ice sculptures and you can try fun snow activities. If you don’t like the cold, go to Hainan Island in the south. It’s warm there with beaches and tropical places to see. You can eat fresh seafood and visit the Yanoda Rainforest. Kunming, in Yunnan, is also warm in winter. It’s nice to walk around Green Lake there.

6 Days Harbin, Snow Town to Changbai Mountain

4 Days Harbin Tour with Snow Town

Colourful Ice Sculptures exhibited in Harbin, China.

No matter when you go, China has something special to offer. You can see different things and have fun in every season. So, think about what you like to do and plan your trip. China is ready to welcome you anytime!

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