Any time is a good time to travel to China, but each season has its perks! Spring and fall are ideal times to experience China in mild weather, but consider that this peak time means crowds and higher prices. If you’re brave and like the cold, winter brings the historic Harbin Ice Festival — and cheaper flights. Check out the pros and cons of visiting China in each season, and figure out which works the best for you!

From hiking the Great Wall to exploring the city of Shanghai to seeing pandas in Chengdu, there are so many reasons to travel to China. If you get the chance, you should travel to China – but when? Generally speaking, fall and spring are the best times to travel to China because of milder weather. Though it varies by region, there are a few general things to keep in mind when planning your trip.

If you’re traveling in the early winter…

Bundle up. It will probably be cold, but you can save money and see sights that are unique to winter, such as Harbin’s annual Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. In many places, you will experience colder weather, but if this doesn’t bother you, you can have a great experience in China during the winter months.

You can also visit Kunming, which is known as “Spring City,” because the city experiences spring-like weather all year. When I traveled to this city in Yunnan Province in February, it was full of flowers, sunshine and outdoor vendors selling pineapple and various other snacks.

If you’re traveling in January/February…

Reconsider it. If you’re only traveling there for a short period of time, there are some advantages to visiting China during the middle of winter. Mainly, the cheaper prices and smaller crowds are huge perks. However, there are also some disadvantages: cold weather in many locations and worse air quality. If you don’t mind colder temperatures and are hoping to save some money, winter is a great option. Just be sure to avoid traveling to China during Spring Festival. At this time, many people will be traveling for the holiday and transportation will be more expensive and crowded. Additionally, many businesses will be closed. I traveled during Spring Festival and it was doable, but many of the places I had planned on visiting were closed, and people were basically sitting on my lap on the train because it was so crowded.

If you’re traveling in the spring…

Carry an umbrella in the south. This is the wet season there, so if you plan on traveling to places like Guangzhou or Guilin during the spring or summer, keep this in mind. I traveled to Guangzhou for four days in May and it only rained on one of those days, but I was told I was lucky. Spring is a great time to visit to other areas of China though, as the weather is milder.

If you’re traveling in the summer…

Know that you might encounter rain and hot weather. Despite the hot temperatures, summer is still a popular time to travel to China. Chongqing, Nanjing and Wuhan are especially hot during this time. I stayed in Beijing one summer and just ducked inside museums or shopping centers when it was really hot. I also visited the Great Wall during the summer without any problems.

If you’re traveling in the fall…

Perfect! This is widely thought to be the best time to travel to China due to less crowds, comfortable weather and beautiful fall foliage. You can also enjoy the mid-Autumn festival where you’ll be able to see brightly lit lanterns and have the opportunity to eat some yummy mooncakes.

Though fall and spring are the most ideal times to travel to China, you can plan a great trip during any time of year. I’ve had incredible travel experiences in China in the spring, summer and winter (even during Spring Festival). Whenever you decide to go, our discount flights to China will be waiting for you.

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About Paige Sheffield