China lies mainly in the northern temperate zone under the influence of monsoon.In China, a vast land spanning many degrees of latitude with complicated terrain, climate varies radically. China has a variety of temperature and rainfall zones, including continental monsoon areas. In winter most areas become cold and dry, in summer hot and rainy.
Five Temperature Zones in China
From September and October to March and April next year monsoon blow from Siberia and the Mongolia Plateau into China and decrease in force as it goes southward, causing dry and cold winter in the country and a temperature difference of 40 degree centigrade between the north and south. The temperature in China in the winter is 5 to 18 degree centigrade lower than that in other countries on the same latitude in winter. Monsoon blows into China from the ocean in summer, bringing with them warm and wet currents, thus rain. Great differences in climate are found from region to region owing to China's extensive territory and complex topography. The northern part of Heilongjiang Province in northeast China has no summer, Hainan Island has a long summer but no winter; the Huaihe River valley features four distinct seasons; the western part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is covered by snow all year round; the southern part of the Yunan-Guizhou Plateau is spring-like all the year; and the northwestern inland region sees a great drop of temperature in the day. Annual precipitation also varies greatly from region to region; it is as high as 1,500 millimeters along the southeastern coast. Decreasing landward, it is less than 50 millimeters in northwest China.
Cold-Temperate Zone: north part of Heilongjiang Province and Inner Mongolia (Representative city: Harbin)
Mid-Temperate Zone: Jilin, northern Xinjiang, and most of Heilongjiang, Liaoning, and Inner Mongolia (Representative cities: Beijing, Shenyang, Dalian, Urumqi, Hohhot, Dunhuang, Lanzhou)
Warm-Temperate Zone: area of the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Hebei Province (Representative cities: Xian, Taiyuan, Luoyang, Jinan, Qingdao, Zhengzhou)
Subtropical Zone: South of isotherm of Qinling Mountain-Huaihe River, east of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (Representative cities: Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Guilin, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Chengdu)
Tropical Zone: Hainan province, southern Taiwan, Guangdong, and Yunnan Province (Representative cities: Haikou, Sanya)
Plateau Climate Zone: Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (Representative city: Lhasa)
When to visit China?
China can be visited through out the year because of the stretch of its territories and sites and activities it can offer. Deciding when to visit China depends on which places you wish to visit, what type of weather you enjoy, and how much a bargain you want. China is a huge country with many different climates and types of landscape. Think of it in terms of the United States, which China resembles in size and shape. Traveling along the Golden Route (Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guilin) is like visiting New York, Chicago, Santa Fe, and Jacksonville, Florida all in one trip.
April,May,September and October are the peak tourist months at China’s most popular destinations when the weather is the most comfortable. Prices drop a bit in the shoulder season, which runs from November through March and from June through August. However, the winter months are peak season for trips to China’s Hainan Island and to the Northeast Harbin for its world-famous ice-lantern festival. This months are also packed with New Year holidays, Chinese Spring Festival and other national or local happy fairs. Summer months are great time to explore China’s Far East-Manchuria.
Reference table for tourists to prepare clothing on their trips to China
Spring: 10-22°C, Western suits, jackets, sports coats, woolen jackets, long sleeve shirts and travel shoes.
Summer: 22°C and above, T-shirts, short sleeve shirts, skirts, sandals, caps, rain wear.
Autumn: 10-22°C, Western suits, jackets, sports coats, light woolen sweaters, rain wear and travel shoes
Winter: 10°C or lower, overcoat, cotton clothes, lined coats. In very cold areas a cap, gloves and cotton-padded shoes are required.