China is the ultimate destination for the intrepid explorer, with its incredible culture, rich historical past and stunning architecture meaning there’s something for all types of visitor to explore.While visitors are sure to plan their trip to help them make the most of their stay, another aspect which is important to consider is the weather, and not doing so could mean the difference between being comfortable and being miserable! With this in mind, here’s our seasons of china guide to making the most of your escorted China tour, whatever the time of year.
Weather in Northern China
The winter months are particularly harsh on northern China, with temperatures struggling to rise above freezing during the day and plummeting into the minuses once the sun sets. However, the fact that it is so cold means that the chances of rain are very slim, providing perfect conditions for those looking to make the most of sights – the town of Pingyao and the capital Beijing standing among the highlights. Packing extra layers is absolutely essential for this time of year.
Spring time sees the fruit trees blossom and the plants starting to bud, providing a stunning backdrop on which to base your China exploration. While it will feel far warmer than previous months, temperatures will still plummet during the evenings, so be sure to bring plenty of extra layers during the period. There’s also the chance of some rain, so taking a jacket along wouldn’t be a bad idea.
The warmest period of the year, those enjoying an escorted tour of Beijing can expect great heat and humidity. It’s also very wet, with Beijing in particularly experiencing an average of between 10 and 14 days of rain during the three summer months. However, as almost everywhere is air conditioned, there will be plenty of opportunity to stay cool. In terms of temperature, daily highs will sit at around 30°, so be sure to take some sun tan lotion to avoid burning and pack light, cotton clothing.
With the heat easing off considerably, autumn is also dryer than the summer months and the balmy conditions make exploring the region a pleasurable experience. While the humidity does drop, the heat remains, so we recommend packing plenty of light clothing to avoid overheating. You should also pack a light coat should the rain begin to fall. In September the temperatures could be as high as 25°, although towards the end of November they usually drop to nearer 10° or 12°.
Weather in Central China
The central regions of China will still be a little chilly during the winter, but frost is never a common problem. With an average of nine days of rain through the month, it is advisable to pack a raincoat to ensure you don’t get caught out. Although temperatures will have risen somewhat in February, it will still be cold enough to warrant a few layers.
Central China does warm up considerably during the spring, although the damp air means that it will feel chilly during the day. In cities such as Shanghai there can be as much as 13 days of rain each month on average, so be sure to pack a coat!
Temperatures will continue to rise through to May, although the rain isn’t likely to let up. It could still prove cold during the evenings, so packing accordingly is recommended to ensure that you are protected. The extra layers will also be handy for the rainy days.
Summer offers an atmosphere of heat, humidity and rain, and this period is usually the wettest of the year. While average temperatures in cities like Shanghai sit between 28° and 32°, the rain means that taking a coat is still a necessity. Sun tan lotion is also advisable as there will be some pleasant sunny days.
While the humidity will cool, it still can be very wet because it’s the end of the typhoon season. Shorts will be enough during the day, although it’s definitely worth packing a warm sweater just in case cold weather begins to set in.
Weather in Southern China
It’s a very different story in the South when compared to the North and Central areas, and those on their escorted China tours in the South can expect average daytime highs of around 18° during the winter, offering pleasant conditions to explore the region. Rain is also fairly likely in the region, so a coat is an essential purchase.
Temperatures continue to rise during the spring months, and Southern areas of China are where you can find the best of the heat; Guangzhou, for example, enjoys temperatures of between 21° and 30° degrees during the month. Despite this, it’s worth noting that it will remain much cooler at night and there’s a high likelihood of rain.
Heat and humidity increase across the south during the summer months, with temperatures rising as high as 33° at their peak. In the case of the latter, the number of rainy days increases further in March so be sure to pack appropriate gear. The evenings will be cold wherever you are, so while you may feel comfortable in a t-shirt and shorts during the day, pack enough layers to avoid a night-time chill.
While September could prove a fairly wet month, the remaining months are predominantly dry and mild – making it the perfect time of year to base your tour of the Middle Kingdom. For clothing ideas, summer clothing is suitable, but be sure to pack a few extras should the weather take a turn for the worse.
A Word from the Experts
We got in touch with Discover Hong Kong to find out a little more about the climate of southern China, especially for those who choose to take our Hong Kong tour extension. We asked them the all-important question: Which time of year is best to visit Hong Kong?
“The best time to visit Hong Kong is in spring or autumn. Spring is the most humid time of the year and is usually cooler than autumn, however temperatures sometimes can reach 28°C. Autumn is the sunniest time with pleasant breezes. Even though temperatures are still quite high, humidity and rainfall are considerably low. The most appropriate clothing during summer period are lightweights and during autumn are medium weight clothes. Especially in the summer rainwear is advisable.”
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