When to go?
China’s geographic area is slightly larger than the U.S.A; it covers similar latitudes, with the lion’s share located in the temperate zone. This provides endless year-round variety for visitors to the country, from ice festivals in the north to tropical beach resorts in the south. Keep in mind the vast distances between destinations when planning your trip. Traveling along the popular Golden Route (Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Guilin) is the rough equivalent of visiting Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, and Miami, all in one trip. Weather-wise, Shanghai and Guangzhou’s climates resemble those of US southeastern coastal states, while Beijing’s climate is more like Chicago’s.
While China is a year-round destination, the months of May, September, and October are ideal months for travel anywhere in the country. In the north, the winters are cold, and summers are warm, with moist monsoon air streams making it hot (80% of China’s rainfall occurs between late May and early October, mostly in the Southern regions). June through August is a good time to visit central and northern China. Spring and autumn are the best months for travel in Southern China. The months of March and April are the lower-priced shoulder season; while the lowest price, off-season travel, is from November through the winter months. This is when adventuresome travelers are rewarded with unbelievably low prices and far fewer fellow tourists.