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China Sprout


The Best Time to Travel to China...


Evelyn Hannon

'm often asked when the best time to travel to China is. Journeywoman has been in that part of the world four times -- always between November and January. Hong Kong was just fine in December -- I even did my Christmas shopping in a light sweater -- no coat that time. Beijing has been damp and cold in fall and winter. In fact, in January 2003 it snowed when I was there. We dressed in layers and wore the same outer clothing as we would have worn in Toronto, Canada during the winter months. Each visit, each climate had its very own charm. I'd like to plan my next visit for Spring or Fall however their summers seem much too hot and humid.

Journeywoman went to her travel library to see what guidebooks say about the weather in China. The following are excerpts from three guides that we use a lot here in the office, Traveler's Weather Guide, China Guide and The Treasures and Pleasures of China.

China Guide
"The best weather is May-June and September-October, but you could run into crowds and delays. You could also try late April. In November, go to Beijing first and then move south. Guangzhou, Guilin, Hong Kong and Hainan are wonderful in November and December."
(China Guide, Ruth Lor Malloy)

The Treasures and Pleasures of China
"Given the vastness of China, its seasons and climates vary depending on when and where you visit China. In general, we like to compare China to the United States and much of Europe. It's hot, it's cold, it's rainy, it's dry depending on where and when you visit the country. China experiences extreme cold and heat. Although there is no one ideal time to visit China, Spring and Fall, especially the months of April and October, are usually good times to visit."
(The Treasures and Pleasures of China, Ron and Caryl Krannich)

Traveler's Weather Guide
China is uniformly warm, humid, and rainy in the summer. In contrast, winter weather can vary considerably from city to city. Beijing, for example is very cold in the winter, with afternoon highs averaging only 34 degrees. Shanghai's January high is only 46. Hong Kong's tropical climate keeps it mild even in January, where highs are in the 60s. Rainfall in China is concentrated primarily in the summer months - July in particular should be avoided due to its high heat, humidity, and generous rainfall.

The best times to visit Beijing are in the early Fall and late Spring, especially May and September, with April and October almost as pleasant. Humidity, however, can be high from June to September. Shanghai is very pleasant in October and May.
(Traveler's Weather Guide, Tom Loffman)

Today's weather...

Beijing Weather


Shanghai Weather


Nanjing Weather


Xi'an Weather


A note from a reader...
May and October are both excellent times to travel anywhere in China, except the week of International Labor Day (1st of May) and the week of National Day (1st of Oct.). Chinese people get a week off for both holidays. Tourist destinations are a lot more crowded during those time.
Wei, Charlottesville, USA





Back to GirlTalk China...



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