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China's climate is extremely diverse.

Winters in the north fall between December and March and are incredibly chilly. Beijing's temperature does not rise above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, although it will generally be dry and sunny. North of the Great Wall, into Inner Mongolia or Heilongjiang, it is much colder with temperatures dropping well below freezing. Summer in the north is around May to August. Beijing temperatures can occasionally rise to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more. July and August are also the rainy months in the city. In both the north and south, most of the rainfall is in summer. Spring and autumn are the best times for visiting the north. Daytime temperatures are 70 - 85 degrees Fahrenheit and there is less rain. Although it can be quite hot during the day, night can be cool an nice. Early spring and late autumn can be frosty at night.

In the Yangtze River Valley area, the central China, including Shanghai, summers are long, hot and humid. Wuhan, Chongqing and Nanjing have been dubbed -the three furnaces- by the Chinese. You can expect very high temperatures any time between April and October. Winters are short and cold, with temperatures dipping well below freezing - almost as cold as Beijing. It can also be wet and miserable at any time other than summer. While it is impossible to pinpoint an ideal time to visit, spring and autumn are probably best.

In the far south, around Guangzhou, the hot, humid periods last from around April through September, and temperatures can rise to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This is also the rainy season. Typhoons are liable to hit the southeast coast between July and September. There is a short winter from January to March, nowhere near as cold as in the north, but temperature statistics do not really indicate just how cold it can get, so bring warm clothes. Autumn and spring can be good times to visit, with daytime temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it can be miserably wet and cold, with perpetual rain or drizzle, so be prepared.

Try to avoid China's northwest at the height of summer. Industrial Urumqi is dismal at this time, although it is a good time to visit the Lake of Heaven in the mountains east of the city, and Turpan has unbearable maximum temperatures of around 118 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter, this region is as formidably cold as the rest of northern China. In Urumqi the average temperature in January is around minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with minimums down to almost minus 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in Turpan are only slightly more favorable. Spring and Autumn are the ideal times to visit.

Tibet is ideal in midsummer, when its mountain plateaux are pleasantly warm and dry; in winter, however, temperatures in the capital Lhasa frequently fall below freezing.

Overall, the best time to visit China is spring or autumn, when the weather is at its most temperate.


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