Sara and John say...
From the crisp mountain air of the Himalayas to the ‘hubbub’ of Beijing; from the steamy coastline of the South China Sea to the vast steppes of central Asia. Across such a massive country, it’s not surprising that the weather can vary hugely from place to place.
If you’re going in winter, take layers. Many of them! Although southern areas, including Hong Kong, comfortably retain temperatures in the mid to high-teens by day, the nights can be chilly. Head further north, however, and you’ll soon be going below zero. But although the cold can be extreme, winter is the driest time of year. Showers across the south are less intense than at other times of year, and the snowfall elsewhere is interspersed by long periods of crisp sunshine.
Spring sees the country melting into verdant growth. As temperatures rise, so showers become more widespread, especially across the south. However, April and May are great months to enjoy the spring blossom and warm air before the heat of summer arrives.
From June to August, China gets hot! Temperatures across the interior can approach a searing 40 Celsius, although it’s a dry heat out west, towards the borders with Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Kygyrzstan. And the mountains offer much cooler relief, making them ideal for summer hiking. Across the lowlands further south and east, however, the summer is a period of high humidity and regular downpours. Temperatures across many areas exceed 30 degrees by day with the steamy heat lingering overnight.
As September arrives, so temperatures begin to fall. Autumn is an optimal month for visiting the big cities of the east or journeying along the Silk Route. Make the most of more comfortable travel before, as winter approaches, the first snows arrive.
A word about typhoons. There is a very occasional risk, especially for coastal areas from June to November. However, the chance of any one location being hit is still small and shouldn’t unduly deter your travel plans.