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With more than 5,000 years of recorded history and more than one billion people, China may at first seem like an overwhelming destination. But the country is a must-see for anyone anxious to explore ancient treasures such as the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta Warriors. China tourism focuses on major cities such as Beijing, which offers access to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Ming Dynasty Temple of Heaven; as well as Shanghai, a modern metropolis that features cosmopolitan shopping and dining. In Western China, the Silk Road's history as a major trade route draws travelers to its cultural sites, such as the ruins of the city Gaochang. Flights to China touch down at airports around the country, including Beijing Capital International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.

When To Go

Because of its large size, China has extremely different climates from region to region. The best time to go in the south isn't necessarily the best time to go in the north. China has a large population, which contributes to crowds, particularly in major cities and during events and holidays. However, when the crowds are sparse, low prices are more prevalent.

high season: April to June, September to November
low season: December to March
shoulder season: July to August

Weather Information

Spanning nearly 50 degrees of latitude, China has dramatically diverse terrain. The southern part is classified as tropical and subtropical, while the northern area is near the frigid zones. The northern region experiences long winters with short summers while the opposite happens in the south. The best weather for travel to the north is from April through June, or September through November. Most times are favorable for travel to the south, but it gets very hot in July and August.

Crowd Information

The Chinese travel within the country during public holidays such as the Chinese Spring Festival, May Holiday, and October Holiday, so there are larger crowds and heavier traffic at those times. Big cities like Beijing and Shanghai are typically crowded throughout the year due to their high populations.

Closure Information

Hotels, restaurants, and attractions remain open throughout the year.

When to Save

The most expensive time to visit is during the high season, when flights and hotels increase their prices. Visiting in the low season will help cut down on costs and avoid crowds.

Information provided by the China National Tourist Office

A few more sites for information

  • China Highlights: This website features a list of major festivals happening throughout the year, as well as an introduction to the country's weather.
  • Based on where you're going in China, this popular website for current weather provides city forecasts, a flight tracker, and temperature averages for the previous year.
The information and websites listed here were valid at the time of publication, but some details may have changed since that time. Please check directly with the provider for the latest information.