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Home China Travel Guide How to Plan a Summer Trip to China 2024/2025 – a Quick Guide

How to Plan a Summer Trip to China 2024/2025 – a Quick Guide

A land of vast and varied landscapes, China is fantastic for a visit all year round, with each season offering many charming scenery and interesting experiences. Summer is the vibrant season when many of its natural wonders and cultural heritages are at their best. A summer trip to China offers a chance to encounter some of its traditional festivals, such as the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival. Also, it is the season visitors can indulge in a plethora of seasonal delicacies.

Whether you’re drawn to the iconic landmarks of the country, the cool retreats, or the sun-kissed beaches, careful planning and preparation will ensure your fulfilling and smooth China tours in summer. And that’s where this step-by-step China summer travel guide comes in.

Beijing Mutianyu Great Wall
Beijing Mutianyu Great Wall

Where to Travel in Summer in China

Below, we have listed the top places to travel in China during summer to help you discover the unique charm of this ancient land in the summer months. Although most places are hot during the day, indoor attractions and venues are equipped with air conditioning. And you can arrange the outdoor visits to the morning or evening according to the weather condition to avoid the heat waves.

Beijing

The capital and cultural center of China, Beijing is a can’t-miss for any first-timers in any season. Beijing boasts numerous famous cultural attractions, such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, ancient hutongs, and the Temple of Heaven.

The Summer Palace, a well-landscaped imperial park, is a perfect retreat from the summer heat.

All the indoor attractions are facilitated with air-conditions.

Recommended Beijing Tours for your summer vacation:

Xian

Xian is the first choice for people who want to look into China’s glorious past. The world-renowned Terracotta Warriors and Horses is the top reason most tourists come to Xian, it is an indoor attraction and air-conditioned in summer. You can ascend the ancient City Wall in the early morning or the evening to avoid the summer heat.

In the evening, spend your time at the squares of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda for diverse cultural performances and the largest music fountain show in Asia.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Mount Huashan offers thrilling hiking, breathtaking scenery, and a cooler temperature than the city area.

Recommended Xian Tours for your summer vacation:

Xian Mt. Huashan
Mount Huashan

Shanghai

One of the golden-triangle cities in China, Shanghai, as the economic center of China, is where to experience the seamless blend of East and West, modernity and tradition. It will entertain you with the skyscrapers along The Bund, the bustling shopping street of Nanjing Road, and the traditional cultural atmosphere at the Yuyuan Garden and City God Temple.

When traveling to Shanghai in summer, you can hop on a night Huangpu River Cruise to appreciate the night view of the Bund with cool air.

Recommended Shanghai Tours for your summer vacation:

Guilin

The natural scenery of Guilin is especially beautiful in summer. In the hot summer days, the Li River is glistening, and the karst mountains on either side are verdant. Visitors can hop on a Li River cruise to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and enjoy a refreshing journey on the water.

Despite the high temperatures in summer, Guilin offers moist and fresh air thanks to its distinctive karst environment and abundant vegetation. This makes Guilin an ideal destination for outdoor activities, such as mountain hiking, countryside hiking, etc.

Recommended Guilin Tours for your summer vacation:

Li River Cruise
Luxury cruise ship on Li River

Chengdu

As home to the beloved giant pandas, Chengdu is also a top destination in China in any season. Besides pandas, the city is also know for its leisure lifestyle, and spicy Sichuan cuisine. To travel like a local, visitors can stroll around the local park or visit a local tea house to sip a cup of tea and watch the Sichuan Opera.

To escape the heat, you can conveniently have a side trip to Mt. Emei, Jiuzhaigou Valley, or Dujiangyan.

Recommended Chengdu Tours for your summer vacation:

Destinations to Escape the Summer Heat in China

Mentioned above are some iconic places in China that are recommended to visit all year round. Besides that, there are also many places in China that offer a cooler climate and unique experiences in summer. Below are some of them:

  • Zhangjiajie: Renowned for its pillar-shaped peaks, primeval forests, meandering streams, and distinctive karst landscape.
  • Yunnan: Features an eternal spring-like climate all year round. Lijiang, Dali, and Shangri-La are ideal for summer retreats and rich ethnic culture experiences.
  • Guizhou: Home to Huangguoshu Waterfall and numerous ethnic villages; delights visitors with its moderate summer temperatures.
  • Xinjiang: Due to the shelter of the Tianshan Mountains and Altai Mountains, Xinjiang enjoys cooler summer temperatures. Places like Ili River and Kanas Lake boast stunning natural beauty and strong ethnic character in summer.
  • Tibet: An ultimate summer sanctuary that enjoys a cool plateau climate. Visitors can calm their minds at the mysterious Potala Palace, the majestic Mount Everest.

China Weather in Summer

Summer is the season when most regions in China see the highest temperatures and most precipitation in a year. In summer, the southeastern monsoon region is characterized by high temperatures and abundant rainfall influenced by maritime air currents. In western China, particularly in the northwest, the weather is marked by intense heat and dryness. Below are the brief introductions of summer weather in some popular destinations in China:

In North China

Beijing:

Summer lasts from June to September in Beijing, and the average temperature ranges from 25-30°C. The temperature gradually rises in June with seldom thunderstorms occurd. July to August is the peak of summer with intense heat and occasional high temperatures. Evenings tend to be cool. The weather gradually cools down in September. 

Xian:

The average temperature hovers around 25-30°C in summer. July and August see the most precipitation, and are often accompanied by thunderstorms. The inland location results in its low humidity, featuring intense sunshine in the day and cooler nights.

Xinjiang:

The vast size of Xinjiang endowed it with significant weather variations in summer. Generally, summers in Xinjiang are dry and hot, with long hours of sunlight. The average temperatures are usually higher in southern and basin areas and lower in northern parts. For example, in Turpan region, the temperature can often exceed 35°C and even 40°C. While in the mountainous areas, the weather is much cooler, especially at night, with the temperature dropping below 10°C.

In South China

Shanghai:

The average temperature ranges between 28-32°C. Summer season lasts from June to early September, June and September are more pleasant, while July and August can be hot and humid, with occasional typhoons bringing coolness and heavy rainfall.

Guilin:

Guilin belongs to the subtropical monsoon climate zone. Summer is its rainy season with abundant precipitation. Generally, Guilin is relatively cool in summer, making it a popular summer retreat.

Chengdu:

Chengdu is characterized by a subtropical humid climate with hot and humid summers. Due to the basin landform, the region experiences high humidity, but is generally pleasant in summer.

Southwest Region (e.g. Guizhou, Yunnan)

With lower average temperatures, and sees plenty of rainfall. In mountainous areas, especially in higher altitudes, the summer temperature is comfortable, ideal for escaping the heat.

In Tibet

Summer season in Tibet lasts from June to August, with the average temperature hovering around 20°C. Features pleasantly cool weather, with abundant sunshine during the day and occasional showers.

Recommended China Tours for Your Summer Vacation

How to Pack for a Summer Travel to China

Below are our crafted packing list for your China trip in summer.

Clothing and Footwear:

  • Lightweight and Breathable Summer Attire: for hot and humid weather.
  • Sun Protection Clothing (include sunhat and sunglasses): to avoid exposure to intense sunlight.
  • Lightweight Jacket or Raincoat: for occasional showers, significant temperature differences in certain places, and air-conditioned places.
  • Quick-dry hiking pants or shorts
  • Modest Clothing Covering Knees and Shoulders:for religious sites.
  • Skirts and Dresses: for hot weather
  • Comfortable Sneakers: dark colors are recommended.
  • Flip-flops: for showers and casual wear.

Cosmetics:

  • Sunscreen: high SPF value and good durability are recommended.
  • Hydrating Skincare Products: skin tends to lose moisture due to the high temperatures in summer.
  • Other Daily Cosmetics: depending on your preferences, please pack an appropriate amount.

Toiletries:

  • Toilet Paper: is not provided in some rural areas
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Shampoo: provided in most hotels, yet you can carry some according to your preferences.
  • Personal Hygiene Products: such as sanitary pads (for women), hand sanitizer, etc.

Daily necessities:

  • Portable Charger and Charging Cable: ensure you can charge on the go.
  • Plug Adapter and Converter: in case the plug socket standards may differ from your country. China uses 220v outlets.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: free drinking fountains are available in many public areas.
  • Mosquito Repellant: for rural areas.
  • A Small Daypack: to carry snacks, water or other items.

Other essential items:

  • Travel Documents: Passport, personal ID, visa (see How to Apply for a China Visa?), plane tickets, and hotel booking information,
  • Cash: Though cashless payment is popular in China, taking some small changes is still necessary in case of weak signals in some rural areas.
  • Common Medications: Recommended for those traveling with kids or elders; depending on personal health conditions.
  • Copies of Important Documents: Keep digital and paper copies.
  • Inform Your Bank: To avoid issues with card usage abroad.

Tips for Traveling to China in Summer

  1. Considering the heat in most cities, it is highly recommended to carry a water bottle and stay hydrated throughout the day.
  2. Prepare sun protection clothing, sunscreen, sunhat, sunglasses to protect yourself from the intense sunshine.
  3. Prepare light and loose clothing to help keep cool; take a thin top for cooler evenings or air-conditioned places.
  4. Learning some basic Mandarin phrases or installing a translation app is advisable; Please respect local traditions and avoid unnecessary conflicts.
  5. Digital payment is ubiquitous in China, it is recommended to learn how to pay in China and install the payment apps in advance.
  6. Though the cashless payment is popular, carrying some cash is still necessary, especially when visiting rural areas, in case of weak signals.
  7. July to August is the summer vacation for Chinese students, and also the peak travel season in China. It is essential to book your accommodation and transportation in advance.Or, if possible, you can travel to China in June or after August to avoid large crowds.
  8. When visiting some popular attractions, early morning or late afternoon are recommended to avoid the big crowds.
  9. Choose to dine in sanitary restaurants,  food stalls with high turnover.
  10. July to August is the typhoon season in the coastal regions, please stay updated with the weather forecasts when visiting these areas.
  11. Considering the sudden showers in summer, a raincoat or a compact umbrella is necessary.
Shanghai Yu Garden
Yu Garden

Estimated Cost for a Summer Trip to China

Summer is the peak tourist season in China, meaning higher demands and prices for accommodation and transportation. The exact cost for summer tours to China may vary due to many factors, below is a breakdown of the average costs for your reference:

  • Accommodation: 4 or 5-star hotels will cost about $70-290 per night, the price will be higher in popular tourist cities.
  • Dining: generally the daily dining expenses can range from $15-70 per person, depending on the food type and where you eat.
  • Attraction Ticket & Sightseeing Activities: if visit 2-3 attractions per day, the average cost is about $20-50 per person per day, vary according to the cities.
  • Transportation: Take Beijing – Shanghai for example, the single flight costs about $72-286 for an economic class seat, and the high-speed train ride costs about $72-86 for a second-class seat.

Related Reading for Your Smooth Trip in China

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