China in May: Weather, Top Places to Visit & Travel Tips

May, the last month of spring, is ready for the summer mode with greens awakened almost everywhere in China. However, the weather of this vast land with complicated terrains can be concluded in simply a few words. In the southern coastal cities like Hong Kong and Guangzhou, people need to cool down with some ice cream, while the tourists in Lhasa wrap themselves with a thick down jacket at night. The temperature, rainfall, and humidity vary a lot in China. But in most popular tourist destinations of China, it is very warm and comfortable in early May and later gets warmer and a little hot in late May. Since May is not a season for intense rainfall in a lot of places, you can go out and do some spring hikes, bike to explore the cities or countryside, and appreciate the flowers, etc. No matter what you are looking for and planning to do in May, you can always find a popular destination in China in May. Continue to read the following to learn more about the weather in May and top-recommended sites in China.

Note: The May Day holiday usually starts from May 1st and lasts 3 to 5 days, and during these days Chinese people travel a lot, so be aware of the possible crowds and plan your trip in advance.

China Temperature in May China Temperatures in May (Click to Enlarge)

China Weather in May

The territory of China is very vast, including the densely populated plains in the east, board grasslands in the north, hilly and mountainous landscape in the south, and rising highlands around Himalaya ranges. The temperature, humidity, and daylight time are very different. Here, we have some major provincial cities and popular scenic cities listed according to their locations with detailed weather info offered for your reference.

Area Cities
Weather & Climate
Northern China Beijing, Xian(Shaanxi), Shandong, Luoyang(Henan), Pingyao(Shanxi) and other places Avg Temperature: 10°C~26°C
Warm, Dry and Windy: Northern China is mainly in the temperate climate zone with monsoon and continental climate. In spring, the temperature increases rapidly. In May, it is very warm. The region also receives a little more rainfall than March.
Eastern China Shanghai, Huangshan(Anhui), Hangzhou(Zhejiang), Suzhou(Jiangsu),Nanjing and other places Avg Temperature: 12°C~20°C
Warmer, Mild, Windy, Drizzling: Most of southeast China belongs to the subtropical monsoon climate zone. The average temperature of cities in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River doesn't differ much. Spring drizzles often occur, therefore umbrellas are necessary for travelling.
Southern China Guilin(Guangxi), Zhangjiajie(Hunan) and other places Avg Temperature: 12°C~20°C
Cloudy, Drizzling, Mild, Temperature Differences: Both Guilin and Zhangjiajie have a subtropical monsoon climate, with four distinct season. Spring in Guilin is mild and it is warm in May. The average altitude of the Zhangjiajie scenic area is 1000 meters, and due to the difference, the temperature difference between day and night can reach 10°C.
Southwestern China Chengdu (Sichuan), Yunnan, Guizhou, Chongqing and other places Avg Temperature: 12°C~24°C
Warmer, Cloudy, Comfortable: Most areas of Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces belong to the subtropical monsoon climate zone, while the higher altitude areas belong to the alpine plateau climate zone. The average temperatures in Chongqing, Chengdu and east Sichuan are pretty much the same. Guizhou and Yunnan are mountainous with the similar climate. Visitors are recommended to bring umbrellas for the sudden drizzles.
Northwestern China Gansu, Xinjiang, Ningxia and other places Avg Temperature: -2°C~18°C
Sunny, Cold at Night, Dry: Most of the provinces and cities in this region are in the temperate continental climate zone. The climate in May is characterized by a large temperature difference between day and night, less precipitation, heavy wind and sand, and strong ultraviolet. It is recommended to bring extra layers, sunblocks, dusk masks, etc.
Southern Coastal China Hong Kong, Guangzhou (Guangdong), Shenzhen, Macau, Hainan, Xiamen and other places Avg Temperature: 20°C~30°C
Warm to Hot, Cloudy, Windy: Most of the region belongs to the subtropical monsoon climate zone, partially belonging to the tropical monsoon climate zone. In May, most of the southern coastal cities has entered the summer mode.
Northeastern China Harbin (Heilongjiang), Jilin, Shenyang (Liaoning) and other places Avg Temperature: 12°C~24°C
Warm, Comfortable, Windy, Dry: Most of Northeast China belongs to the temperate monsoon climate zone. The temperature gets a lot warmer.
Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Qinghai, Tibet Avg Temperature: -8°C~14°C
Variable, Cold, Sunny, Windy, Dry: Most areas of Qinghai and Tibet are located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which belongs to the plateau mountain climate zone. It has a large temperature difference between day and night: it can be very cold with possible snow and frost especially at night, while the days can be sunny and mild. If you would like to visit Nyingchi, the climate there is more related to Western Sichuan climate. Remember to bring some extra layers and sunscreen always even you do not feel hot.
Inner-Mongolia Inner Mongolia Avg Temperature: 0°C~26°C
Regional Difference, Arid, Windy: Due to its elongated shape, Inner Mongolia has a four-season monsoon climate with regional variations, most of which belong to the temperate continental climate. The east and northeast part are mostly grasslands, while the west part is mostly deserts and gobis. The temperature difference between day and night is large in desert areas; However, grassland area is cooler and the temperature difference is smaller, the climate is milder than the middle and western part.

What to Wear in China in May

It's hard to say the most suitable clothes to wear in May in China, for this country has a wide range of weather conditions in different areas. On the same day, people may wear T-shirts in Guangzhou, while people in Gansu haven't taken off their down jackets. As the temperature goes up rapidly in most places of China and is ready for the summer mode, usually, shirts, long skirts, sweaters, windbreakers, casual clothes, jackets are recommended for the southern and central areas. If you are going to visit these cities with large temperature differences or high altitudes. Sweater, down jacket or down coat, winter pants, hat, scarf, and gloves are suggested, like Xinjiang and Tibet. And if you are heading to the mountainous areas or rainy sites in southwestern China, comfortable hiking shoes and raincoats are needed. Visiting places like Hainan, and Gansu requires sunblock items for the ultraviolet radiation is strong while going to some area inner Mongolia and Beijing need a bring a mask and skincare product for the dry weather. For more detailed info about the weather and advisable packing listed for the certain destination of your China trip, feel free to send your inquiry to our professional travel consultant.

8 Best Places to Visit in May in China

No.1: Guilin

- Capture the Sparkling Rice Terraces and Idyllic Landscape at the Sunrise

Guilin is famous all over the world for its picturesque scenery. Spring is the best time to visit Guilin. Besides cruising leisurely on Li River to see the idyllic landscape printed on banknote cash; strolling on the ancient street and biking on the rustic country roads of Yangshuo, you can not miss the Longsheng Rice Terraces in May. The Longsheng Rice Terraces in Guilin, the most famous rice terraces in China, has a long history, located in mountainous areas with an altitude of 300 meters to 1100 meters, many of which are on the steep slopes. It is one of the largest rice terraces in China. It is composed of several terrace fields located in different villages. The largest are the Jinkeng terraces of Dazhai and the nearby Xiaozhai terraces. The Seven Star with the moon of Ping'an Village is the representative, very spectacular. May is the best time to hike along these terraces and take pictures for the water has been pumped over the rice paddies and young plants are transferred to the main terraces. The working villages in the terraces and the sparkling water terraces look so idyllic and peaceful, forming a typical picturesque scene of China. It is recommended to stay in the village to watch the sunrise from the beautiful spring terraces.

China in May Longsheng Rice Terrace in May China in May Longsheng Rice Terrace at Dawn

No.2: Huangshan

- Take a Hike on the Loveliest China Mountain in the Loveliest Season

Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, is known as the “loveliest mountain in China”. To describe its beautiful scenery, there is saying in China since the ancient time, “after the visit to Huangshan, you have no desire to visit any other mountains.” It is magnificent, and wonderfully made by nature with many granite peaks and rocks, weird pine trees, and stunning sunrise and sunset, and stunning canyons, and the vast sea of the clouds. It is one of the best periods to travel to Huangshan in May with a comfortable temperature and blooming spring flowers. 

The Rhododendron of Huangshan Mountain is known as the “alpine rose”. When it blooms, it has various colors of white, pink, fiery red, light purple, and other colors. It blooms in late April every year, enters the peak flowering period in May, and ends in early June. In May, you can see the sea of rhododendrons all over the mountains. In addition to Rhododendron, Huangshan Magnolia can be seen everywhere in Huangshan at the same time. It was first found in Huangshan Mountain and got its name, and you can see it in Huangshan. The flowering period is the same as rhododendrons.

China in May Huangshan in May China in May Guest-Greeting Pine of Huangshan

No.3: Xian & Mount Hua

- Bike to see the Ancient Capital in Bloom and Hike to the Dangerous Plank

There is a famous poem in China, “Dashing on my horse, jolly in the spring breeze, one day for my eyes, to see all the Xi’an flowers .” Spring is the best time to visit Xian, with the blooming flowers and gentle breeze. Besides the must-visit Terroccota warriors, you miss not miss the ancient city wall of Xi'an, which is the oldest and most complete ancient city wall built in the world, and it has witnessed the history of the whole ancient capital Xi'an. When the weather is nice, biking on the ancient wall with green trees below your feet, you will enjoy the panoramic view of Xian from its center. To appreciate the blooming flowers in Xian, you can go to the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Xiangji Temple, Tang Paradise, and Forest of Steles, etc. Also, not far from Xian city, you can enjoy the hot spring at Huaqing Palace and the gorgeous night show related to the emperor’s heartbreaking love story. 

As there are a lot of historic relics to see in Xian, Mount Hua, 120km away from Xian is the best place to see the beauty in nature. Mt. Hua or Huashan is one of the most famous mountains in China, and this Taoist mountain is widely known as one of the world's most dangerous places to hike. The mountain actually has five main peaks — North, South, East, West, and Center. The famous thin plank walk is located on the mountain's highest peak, South, which has a height of 7,070 feet. 

Top-Recommended Xian & Mount Hua Tour in Spring:
4 Days Xian Highlights Tour with Mount Huashan Hiking

China in May Huaqing Palace in Spring China in May Dangerous Huashan Plank Walk

No.4: Suzhou & Hangzhou

- Roam Around Delicate Chinese Gardens & Boat through the Elegant Jiangnan Water town

Where to find the most elegant China in May? The answer is the Jiangnan area, which includes the Jiangsu province, Zhejiang province with Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Shanghai as the most representative cities, and it has long been regarded as one of the most prosperous regions in China. In the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Qianlong has visited there many times. With deep-rooted Chinese culture growing by the Yangtze River Delta, many canal town, and water town has formed, and the rich generations in Jiangnan has also delicate to build their houses with many exquisite gardens and yards and found many silk factories for better clothing. In spring, the temperature is pleasant and mild with some sudden drizzles. Boating along the narrow canal/river through the water towns can be a very leisure and romantic way to visit China, and the recommended water towns are Tongli, Wuzhen, Zhujiajiao, Xitang, etc. If you are fond of traditional Chinese architecture, do not miss the gardens there, such as Humble Administrator's Garden, Lingering Garden, Master of Nets Garden, Lion Grove Garden, Canglang Pavilion, etc. If you are interested in China silk, do not miss the Suzhou No. 1 Silk Factory to watch silk making from silkworms to beautiful products.

Top-Recommended Suzhou & Hangzhou Tour in Spring:
5 Days Shanghai Hangzhou Suzhou Highlights Tour

China in May Spring Scenery in Linger Garden China in May Tongli Watertown in May

No.5: Chengdu Mount Emei & Leshan

- Encounter Cute Panda and Explore Great Buddhist Mountains

Located in the southwest of China, the provincial city of Sichuan, Chengdu is known as “the country of Heaven” in ancient times. It is the hometown of pandas, and you can find the most authentic Szechuan food here including Hot Pot, Mapo Tofu, Kung Pao Chicken, etc. In May, it is comfortable with some sudden drizzles and the temperature is mild and the Pandas are getting more active than the wintertime. You can go to Panda bases in or near Chengdu to see the most adorable creatures in the world and even sign for the Panda volunteer program. Besides pandas, having delicious Sichuan food, you can also visit various museums, related to Shu Culture, as Chengdu Museum, Jinsha Site Museum, etc. 

Well connected with High-speed Bullet trains, Emeishan or Mount Emei is about 190km from Chengdu. It is one of the greatest Buddhist Mountains in China. In Mount Emei, the Golden Summit, Wannian Temple, Qingyin Pavilion, and Baoguo Temple are the most special spots that you should not miss. In May, it’s a blooming season of azalea in Mount Emei. It is in red, white, purple, yellow, and pink, decorating the mountain colorfully.

When visiting Mount Emei, you shall not miss the nearby Leshan to see the giant Buddha. It is the largest stone-carved Buddha in the world, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You can either take a hike to see Buddha from its head/foot or cruise by the Buddha to view it afar.

Top-Recommended Chengdu Mount Emei & Leshan Tour in Spring:
4 Days Classic Leshan Giant Buddha & Mount Emei Tour from Chengdu

China in May Adorable Panda Baby at Chengdu Panda Base China in May The Golden Summit of Mount Emei During Springtime

No.6: Fanjingshan

- Explore the Third Best Trip in 2019 Entitled by National Geographic

Located in Tongren, Guizhou province (southwest China), Fanjingshan (Pinyin: Fanjingshan 梵净山) is 2,570m (8,430ft) above sea level. It is known as "the gene database of China" due to its rich biodiversity. The region has 2,000 types of plants, 31 of which are endangered, and 19 threatened animal species roam these forests. Fanjingshan or Mount Fanjing has been a sacred and tranquil site for Buddhists since the Tang Dynasty (618AD-907AD), ranking just behind the Four Sacred Mountains of Buddhism. Spring can be the best season to visit Fanjingshan. It is in light green with colorful wildflowers lying around, and next to the Dong minority villages at the bottom of mount Fanjing is a golden field of rapeseed flowers. While the temperature at the top is about 10 degrees lower than the bottom of Fanjingshan. If you go atop during this time, it is recommended to bring a thick windproof coat with you. Flaming rhododendron blooms all over the mountains from April to May. Breathing the fresh air, roaming around in the blazing rhododendron field, you will be content for what the beauty of nature brings you. Hiking on Mount Fanjing, you shall not miss the Red Clouds Golden Summit, Mushroom Stone, Old Golden Summit, and Cheng En Temple, etc. Since it is not very far from Kaili and Fenghuang, you can also travel them together to see the ethnic groups and ancient towns. 

Top-Recommended Fanjingshan Tour in Spring:
3 Days Classic Fanjingshan Tour

China in May Mount Fanjing in Spring China in May Temple on the Peak of Fanjingshan

No.7: Fujian

- Have Rustic Hakka Adventure in the Dwellings of Mulan

Have you ever watched the live-action version of Mulan? In this movie, the round-shaped dwellings of Mulan are very eyecatching. It is called Tulou. The Tulou was mostly built in the southeastern part of China, in what is now Fujian province, between the 13th and 20th centuries by the Hakka people, a Chinese ethnic group. "Tu" refers to Earth and "lou" refers to building in English. Tulou is known as Earthen Building. Earth is the main material to build the body of these houses, hence the name. Tulou is usually giant and 3~5 storeys high, surrounded by a rectangular, circular or another shaped mud wall with a shared courtyard in its center. Each of them can house 150 up to 800 people. Their size is so big and shape is so strange that in 1986, during the Cold War period, when the American officials first saw Tulou while they were poring over satellite images, they once believed that these strange and huge constructions were missile silos! Spring is one of the best seasons to visit Fujian Tulou. The temperature of this month is generally pleasant. And the rainy season won’t come until late May. Spring is also the season for plowing, which marks the start of cultivation. During this season, local Hakka people flat their land and then sow the prepared seeds into the fields. The primitive farming life of this time of year attracts many photographers.

Top-Recommended Fujian Tulou Tour in Spring:
2 Days Best Nanjing Tulou Tour with Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster

China in May Fujian Tulou in Spring China in May Fujian Tulou in Spring

No.8: Shangri-la

- Slow down the Life Pace in the untouched Paradise-like Yunnan Tibetan Region

In the novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton in 1933, Shangri-la is a fictional place of a mystical, harmonious valley, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Actually, out of his novel, there is a real Shangri-la in the northwest of Yunnan Province. The most appealing feeling in Shangri-La is its water and mountains with many snow-capped peaks rising over the plateau, including Meili Snow Mountain, Baima Snow Mountain, Haba Snow Mountain. There are 13 ethnic groups living harmoniously on this land and the main group is Tibetan. In Shangri-La, you’ll not only feast your eyes with breathtaking paradise-like scenery but also feel diverse Tibetan cultures.  

In May, it is the end of spring and the beginning of summer, Shangri-La is the most beautiful. The Rhododendron is in full bloom, which forms a "highland garden"! In particular, there are several famous scenic spots in Shangri La in May: Pudacuo National Forest Park, Meili mountain, Rhododendron sea (on the road from Lijiang to Shangri-la), Napa Lake & Yila Grassland, Yangtangqu gorge, Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, etc.

Top-Recommended Shangri-la Tour in Spring:
3 Days Best Shangri-La Tour with Nature & Culture Experience

China in May Peaceful Grassland in Spring China in May Sea of Azalea Flowers in May

How to Plan Your China Spring Tour

Spring is a good season to visit most destinations in China. You can plan a China spring tour based on your own holiday time, destination, personal hobby and budget, members of the group, etc. Labor Day holiday from May 1 is a peak tourist period you should avoid. Read on below guide for more inspiring ideas.

If it’s your first trip to China, then Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu are the top classic destinations you may visit. Normally, 2 to 3 days are enough for each. For those who already visited them, the Yangtze River Cruise (4-5 days), Yunnan (Lijiang, Shangri-La, Dali, Kunming..., 5-8 days), Guilin (3-4 days), Zhangjiejie (3-5 days) are highly recommended palaces to make in-depth discovery of China. Suzhou, Hangzhou, Huangshan, Nanjing are popular side trip destinations from Shanghai. If you have a long vacation, you can travel to several destinations together. If you’re quite interested in spring flowers, Nyingchi Peach Blossom in Tibet and Wuyuan Rape flower are the most beautiful colors you may make a special visit. Depending on your private taste, there are many more choices for you to appreciate the spring blossom across China.

Most Popular China Spring Tours:

☛ 8 Days Best of China Tour (Beijing/Xian/Shanghai)
☛ 6 Days Best of Yunnan Tour (Lijiang/Shangri-La/Kunming)
☛ 7 Days Nature Tour to Yangtze River & Zhangjiajie
☛ 5 Days Classic Xian Chengdu Tour by High Speed Train

Travel China in Spring with China Discovery

To help you enjoy a worry-free spring trip to China, we highly recommend you travel with us China Discovery. Our experienced travel expert will help you arrange your trip sincerely. Our local drivers will escort you to the attractions with comfortable cars directly with speed and safety. And our English-speaking tour guide will accompany you all the way, show you the best highlights, so you can focus all your attention on the highlights. Whether you have planned places to go or have no idea, your China spring tour can be tailor-made according to your group size, time, physical condition, plan, interest, budget, etc. Please feel free to contact us if you need any help!

China Beijing Tour with China Discovery Our Customers Enjoyed Their China Spring Holiday in Beijing Travel Suzhou with China Discovery Customized Group Tour to Suzhou by China Discovery Travel Huangshan with China Discovery Our Tourists Visited Hongcun with Huangshan Mountain in May

Recommended China Spring Tours

Top 3 China Spring tours chosen by most customers to explore China Spring in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

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