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Home Yunnan Travel Guide Yunnan Weather: When is the Best Time to Visit Yunnan

Yunnan Weather: When is the Best Time to Visit Yunnan

Yunnan is dominated by a subtropical highland climate, featuring mild temperatures, abundant sunshine, and comfortable humidity levels throughout the year. Its average annual temperature hovers around 15°C (59°F), but the diverse altitudes and complex topography contribute to significant temperature and climate differences in different areas. From the south part to the snowy highlands in the north, it ranges from a tropical and subtropical climate to a milder and more temperate one. June to August is the period when Yunnan sees the most frequent rainfall, while November to April is the time when the region is drier and enjoys more sunny days.

Yunnan’s Geographic Location and Climate

Yunnan is located at the southwestern frontier of China, bordering Laos and Vietnam to the south and southeast, and Myanmar to the south. It is on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau and near to the Tropic of Cancer, and with its climate being influenced by both the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Most parts of the province enjoys a subtropical highland climate, with temperate summers and mild and warm winters. But, thanks to the large differences in different areas and the complex and diverse topography, the climate in different regions of Yunnan have a considerable variation.

The southern part of Yunnan, with lower elevations and altitudes, tends to has a tropical and subtropical climate. During summer months, temperatures can exceed 30°C in some southern places, such as Xishuangbanna. In the northern areas, with the higher elevations and latitude, the climate tends to be milder and more temperate. For example, in Dali and Lijiang, it has a warm and humid climate, while in Shangri-La and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the climate can be cold and snowy.

Average Temperatures in Yunnan by Month

Month

Average Temperature (°C) Highest Temperature (°C) Lowest Temperature (°C)

Jan.

8 15 1

Feb.

10 18

3

Mar.

13 21

5

Apr.

16 24

9

May

19 26

12

Jun.

21 25

16

Jul.

20 24

16

Aug.

20 24

16

Sep.

19 24

14

Oct.

16 22

10

Nov. 13 19

6

Dec. 9 16

2

Yunnan Weather in Different Seasons

Spring Weather in Yunnan (March – May)

Spring is a delightful season in Yunnan, with the weather being generally pleasant, the temperatures ranging from 15 to 25°C, colorful flowers blooming, the nature awakening, and the landscapes are lush and green. It is the perfect time for enjoying flowers, and the top recommended flower fields include the vast rapeseed fields in Luoping, the cherry blossoms in Kunming’s Green Lake Park, and the Cangshan Mountain in Dali.

Summer Weather in Yunnan (June to August)

Summer is the rainy season in Yunnan, with over 60% of precipitation of the year occurring in this period. Prepare for heavy rains and rainstorms if you visit Yunnan in this period. The temperatures in these months ranges from 15-30 °C, which is relatively cooler than most cities in the country, making it a popular place to escape the extreme summer heat. The recommended places in the period are high-altitude areas and mountainous areas, such as Shangri-La and Lijiang, offering both cool temperatures and stunning landscapes.

Autumn Weather in Yunnan (September to November)

Autumn in Yunnan is generally cool and clear with the temperatures ranging from 14 to 25°C, and the rainfall be far more less than in summer. This marks one of the best times to visit Yunnan, especially for outdoor activities and spectacular landscapes. Top recommended autumn destinations in Yunnan include Dongchuan Red Land, Xiaocaoba Scenic Area, Pudacuo National Park, Baishuitai, Ginkgo Village in Tengchong, Meili Snow Mountain, etc.

Winter Weather in Yunnan (December to February)

Compared to other cities in China, the winter weather in Yunnan is milder and pleasant, with the average temperatures running around 6-17°C. The exact climate may vary depending on the different altitudes and locations. For example, in the tropical Xishuangbanna, the winter temperatures is generally 13-25°C. In Lijiang and Dali, the temperatures usually hover around 3-16°C, and sunny days are frequently to be seen. In Shangri-La and some mountain areas, the weather is colder and drier, sometimes with snow.

Best Time to Visit Yunnan

With no cold winter and hot summer, and enjoying a warm climate all year round, Kunming is suitable to travel all year round. The spring time from March to May is the best time for enjoying flowers, such as the seas of yellow rape flowers in Luoping, the cherry blossoms around Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake. It is also a good time to join in the Water-Sprinkling Festival of the Dai people in Xishuangbanna, which usually takes place in April.

The autumn season from September to November is the best time for outdoor activities and spectacular scenery thanks to the less rainfall and comfortable. Recommended places include Tiger Leaping Gorge, Stone Forest, Meili Snow Mountain, Yuanyang Rice Terraces.

The rest months are the shoulder season when you can enjoy the scenery and cultural gems with less crowds and lower price.

Weather Variations Across Yunnan’s Cities

Covering a large area from tropical rainforests to snow-capped mountains, Yunnan is endowed with complex terrain and varied weather in different regions and cities. Below are weather and climate in some popular cities in Yunnan:

Kunming

Known as the “Spring City”, Kunming enjoys a pleasant climate all year round, with the average temperature ranges around 16°C. The temperature difference between the four seasons is not significant, but there is still a noticeable temperature gap between day and night. The city enjoys abundant sunshine and moderate rainfall, with the rainy season from May to October. March to November is the best time to visit Kunming for both pleasant weather and colorful scenery.

Lijiang

Located in the northwest of Yunnan, Lijiang sits at an altitude of about 2,400 meters, and enjoys a subtropical highland climate. The average annual temperature is around 13°C, with big temperature difference between day and night which can reach as high as 20°C. March to June and September to November are the best times to visit Lijiang for comfortable weather and clear views.

Dali

Located in the central park of Yunnan, Dali is the place to look into Bai ethnic group’s life and culture. It enjoys a continental monsoon climate, with the average annual temperature being around 15°C. The city sees plenty of sunshine and little rainfall, and the best time to visit it is from March to May and from September to November when the weather is mild and the flowers are in blooming.

Shangri-La

A mythical paradise in the north of Yunnan, Shangri-La is on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, enjoying a plateau sub-frigid monsoon climate. It has an average annual temperature of 6°C and experiences an extreme temperature difference between day and night. Its spring and autumn are usually windy and dry, summer is usually cool and short, and winter is long and cold. The best time to visit Shangri-La is from May to October when the weather is comfortable and the scenery is lush.

Xishuangbanna

Xishuangbanna is located in the south of Yunnan, enjoying a tropical monsoon climate. It receives abundant sunshine and rainfall, causing its warm and humid weather all year round. The average annual temperature here is around 21°C, with small temperature differences in different seasons. It is best to be visited from October to June when the weather is not too hot and the scenery is spectacular.

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