The best time to visit China is generally either spring (March to May) or autumn (September to early November). Winters in China’s north and northeast fall between November/December and March/April, and are very cold. North of the Great Wall and into Inner Mongolia and H?ilóngji?ng, temperatures can drop to -40°C. Summer is hot and dry, and falls roughly between May and August.
In central China – in the Yangzi River (Cháng Ji?ng) valley area, including Shàngh?i – the summers are typically uncomfortable, long, hot and humid. The three cities of W?hàn, Chóngqìng and Nánj?ng are called the ‘three furnaces’, sweltering between April and October. Winters are short, wet and cold, and the weather can be miserable.
H?inán, Hong Kong and Gu?ngd?ng province in the south of the country are hot (temperatures can reach 38°C) and humid from April to September. This is also the rainy season, with typhoons liable to hit the southeast coast between July and September. Winters are short, between January and March; it’s not nearly as cold as in the north (H?inán is warm and, apart from the north of the province, Yúnnán is pleasant), but you will still need warm clothes as far south as Hong Kong.
China’s northwest is very hot and dry in summer, while in winter this region is as formidably cold as the rest of northern China. In Ürümqi, the average temperature in January is around -10°C, with minimums down to almost -30°C.
In Tibet you can easily get the impression that all four seasons have been compressed into one day. Temperatures can be below zero during the evening and early morning, and can soar to a sizzling 38°C at midday, but it always feels remarkably cool in the shade. Winter brings intense cold and fierce winds. Tibet is arid, with rainfall scarcest in the north and west. K?nmíng in Yúnnán is famed for its clement weather.
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