It should come as no surprise that countries with large land masses can have more than one type of climate. Even in the United States, we know that the northernmost states experience all four seasons, while some located in the extreme south don’t always have a true winter. And what’s more, the country is so large that we have deserts, rainforests and everything in between.
So, you shouldn’t be shocked that a country like China, which is slightly larger than the U.S. in terms of land mass, also features diverse climates. In general, depending on the cities or regions on your itinerary, there are very few areas in China that aren’t ideal places to visit throughout the year. Depending on where your travels take you across that nation, you might encounter one of these climates.
Humid Continental Climate
Officially, China is divided into six climate zones. It’s located in the northern hemisphere, so the weather is similar to what you would find in the U.S. A humid continental climate is one of the two most common climates you’ll experience in China. This type of climate has clearly defined seasons with winters that are cold and summers that are warm. You’ll experience this type of weather in China’s north and northeastern regions with the preferred time to travel being April through October. The average temperatures during this time of the year range from the 50s (Fahrenheit) in April and October to as high as the mid-70s during the hottest month of July. Popular destinations in the north include Beijing with places like Chengdu in the northeast.
In contrast, a humid subtropic climate can be found in southern and southeastern China and includes Hong Kong and Taiwan. However, just like the humid continental climate, the humid subtropic climate is found throughout China and its territories. Winters are far milder while summers are hot and humid. But heavy rainfall during the rainy season can reach as much as 10 inches per month. You should travel to these regions between September and March when rains are low and the weather ranges from 80 degrees (F) in September to 50 degrees in March.
Subarctic and Tundra Climates
As the name implies, a subarctic or tundra climate is cold all year. These climates are found in the western part of the nation, specifically in Tibet. The subarctic portions of China don’t necessarily have “ideal” times to visit in terms of temperate climates. However, most travel experts will recommend that you travel here between May and September when the chance of snow is minimal, and temperatures are a bit more forgiving with a temperature range between the 30s and 40s.
In total, there are four major climates in China, but based on how the nation is divided by climate zones, some zones straddle multiple climates. ClimateZone.com outlines the best times to visit each zone for a comfortable experience.