Best Time to Visit China

Home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, China is known for being the most populous country in the world. However, this is not all this vast country is famous for. With dozens of ethnic groups and a culture that dates back over millennia, the country sees a large number of tourists thanks to its well-preserved historical sites. The Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China continue to be top tourist attractions today. To enjoy this beauty in its prime, make sure to read this guide to know about the best time to visit China.

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Best Time to Visit China for Ideal Weather

In a country with such a vast area of land, the climatic conditions are wide-ranging and each area has varying seasons. China sees four seasons; Spring, Summer, Winter, and Autumn. The transitional seasons are one of the best to visit the country. The other two are rather extreme climates. The summers are scorching and the winters see freezing temperatures. 

Most tourists prefer visiting the country during Spring and Autumn. The temperatures are in control between 10°C to 23°C. Nature is excellent with flowers blooming everywhere. During Autumn, the biggest festival in China is also conducted which attracts tourists from all over the world. This is also the best time to visit for outdoor activities. The chances of rain are also very less with bright days and mild temperatures good enough to visit historical monuments and national parks for treks.

If you're visiting for urban life, winters are the best time to explore Chinese cities. You can also visit other historical sites and modern buildings in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Xi'an. The prices are also lesser during this time so it's good for those under a budget. Don’t forget to book your flight tickets and accommodation in advance though!

Best Time to Visit China for Festivals

Being such a culturally diverse country, China celebrates many festivals and traditions that have shot to fame because of its deep-rooted history and cheer. Take a look at a few of them below:

Yuan Xiao Festival

More popularly known as the Chinese Lantern Festival, this festival is held 15 days after the Spring Festival and marks the end of the New Year celebration. The lanterns of different shapes and designs attract people from all over the world along with the traditional Chinese dishes that are served on this day. It is usually held during the last week of February or as per the lunar calendar.

The National Day of China

This is considered one of the most important festivals of China and is significant for the People's Republic of China. It is celebrated throughout the country in Macau, Hong Kong, mainland China and is marked by different celebrations. It is held on 1st October.

Duanwu Festival

One of the most ancient Chinese festivals is popularly known as the Dragon Boat Festival of China, it is especially common in southern parts of China. Many tourists gather to participate or watch these dragon boat races. These are also popularly served with the Zong Zi, the glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves. The festival is usually held in June.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Considered one of the three most important festivals of China, this one is a traditional holiday symbolizing harvest and family reunions. The festival is very similar to thanksgiving day and is traditionally celebrated with family members. It is also for the worship of the moon which is considered an auspicious symbol of luck and harmony.

Where to Go Sightseeing in China?

Chinese culture and monuments are celebrated not only by their nationals but by people all over the world thanks to their preserved history and traditions. Autumn and Spring is the best time for sightseeing in China, as the temperature is pleasant and crowds are less. Summers are good too if you can tolerate humid sunny days. Here are some of the best places to go sightseeing in China:

  • Changcheng or The Great Wall of China that stretches over 6,000 km.
  • The Forbidden City and the Imperial Palace which was built between 1406-1420 during the Yuan Dynasty
  • Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Park
  • The Summer Palace spread over 700 acres built in the 14th century
  • Cruise along the Li River in Guilin
  • Visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan
  • Spend some time in the Classical Gardens of Suzhou in Jiangsu
  • Visit the riverside promenade in Shanghai, the Zhongshan Lu 

These are just a few of the best places to visit for sightseeing. Make sure you book the tickets for these places in advance to avoid any last minute cancellations.

Best Time to Visit China for Trekking

Trekking along the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China is an experience you can't miss. The wall can be trekked along with camping in a local village or a rural homestay. The area is full of many UNESCO World Heritage sites and iconic landmarks.

You can visit the tranquil lakes near the Summer Palace during Spring and Autumn when the temperatures are pleasant and around 17°C. Trekking during winters should be avoided as it’s bitter cold with temperatures dropping to -20°C. However, the wall is snow-capped and is dream-like which is a sight to cherish.

You can consider trekking to different sites between March and May as the heat is lower and the local tourists are fewer due to the off-season.

Most Affordable time to visit China

June to August is the peak time to visit China when the tourists pour in resulting in inflated prices and a lot of crowds.

You can plan your trip right before the Golden Week during the early parts of October; this time is very affordable as well as the weather is pretty nice under 20°C. You can hike, trek, and explore China's different monuments that would be crowded otherwise. 

You can easily face last minute change in plans due to excessive crowds which may affect your budget as well. Don’t forget to carry your travel insurance plan along to avoid any extra costs! Avoid visiting during Chinese festivals, especially the Chinese New Year and the Golden Week as these are the most crowded and expensive times to visit China.

Worst Time to Visit China

If visiting China, avoid going during a Chinese holiday. This is a bit confusing as Chinese festivals have some of the best festivals that attract crowds from all over the world. Since most of these are held as per the lunar calendar, you may find it a bit tricky to keep in mind these busiest times of the year.

Chunjie or the Chinese New Year is among the busiest times when millions of people are moving throughout the country. The train and flight tickets are very expensive and tourist attractions are packed with locals as well as foreigners. This will be the worst time to visit China if you're planning to visit its historical landmarks.

Many shops are also shut during this time for a few days or even a week and you may miss out on eating several local eateries and cuisines.

The Golden Week is another time during the first week of October when many Chinese tourists travel abroad. Overall, every season has its pros and cons and you must plan your trip accordingly. Don't forget to buy overseas travel insurance as soon as you’re done booking your flights. This will help you to avoid any emergency cancellations or situations during your journey.

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