Due to China’s massive size and diverse topography, the climate in this country varies greatly from region to region. It can be split into four basic seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn. During summer and winter, the temperatures can reach the extremes whilst spring and autumn bring pleasant weather in almost all areas throughout the country. China receives the constant average annual rainfall with the precipitation increasing from southwest to northwest. The levels of precipitation also vary in different regions and range from wet to dry.
The weather in North China during the summer (from May to August) is hot and humid. There are abundant rainfalls in July and August. In winter, some northern regions such as Inner Mongolia and Urumqui, particularly over the period between January and March, might get the temperatures as low as -20°C, and knee deep in snow. Beijing has an average temperature of 0°C and below in winter while in summer, the temperatures can go up to approximately 38°C and above.
Due to tropical storms and typhoons that badly affect the coastal regions (Shanghai to Hong Kong), the weather in South China remains humid from April to September. There is a short winter from January to March; several places like Guangzhou are pleasantly cool. Nevertheless, the high humidity can still result in occasional drizzle.
Central China experiences a hot and humid summer with frequent bouts of rain. The summer usually spans from May to October. Several areas such as Nanjing, Chongqing, and Wuhan get very uncomfortable weather with the stifling heat during this time; hence, they are called the “Three Furnaces”. The winter months in Central China with temperatures dropping well below freezing can be as cold as in Beijing.
The best time to visit China
The perfect time to visit China is in spring, from March to April or autumn from September to October when the temperatures are pleasant and the rainfall is low. If you are fascinated by Chinese New Year, book a flight or find accommodations in advance as hotels and flights are usually full in this period (usually the end of January and the beginning of February). Moreover, during Chinese New Year, a large number of businesses will be closed and public transport, in particular, rail routes, can be enormously busy.
It is worth noting that typhoons may occur from July to November, affecting particularly the southern and eastern coasts. Thus, remember to monitor weather forecasts if you plan for China shore excursions to affected areas.