Temperatures rise as spring arrives in China, making western China the best destination this time of year. It’s the rainy season is Guilin and Yangshou in southwest China and monsoon season in the south, but to the West, Lhasa’s temperatures are pleasant.
Parts of China, including Beijing, are prone to sandstorms from the Gobi Desert; it’s not uncommon to see a light dusting of sand on virtually everything during a sandstorm. The weather is pleasant in Shanghai and Xi’an even though spring rain showers start to pop up with more frequency.
Crowds & Costs
China’s high season is generally from spring to late fall, so expect crowds and prices to begin increasing in April. Qingming (Tomb Sweeping Day), a two-day holiday in which Chinese pay respect to their ancestors, is in April. The holiday is a solemn affair with many families traveling to pray and make offerings at temples and visit gravesites. Areas where cherry blossoms bloom may have slightly hire travel costs due to the popularity of seeing the blooms and the short window of time to catch the cherry blossom season.
Where to Go
It’s a great time to see the giant pandas in Chengdu, see the Giant Buddha of Leshan, and indulge in fiery, mouth-numbing Sichuan fare.
April is also an ideal time to travel to Chongqing and cruise the mighty Yangtze before the cruise season really gets going.
Now is the best time to go to Xinjiang and Tibet, before the heat and tourists arrive.
What to Do
Try your luck in Macau’s glitzy casinos that line the Cotai Strip or place a bet on the horse races at Happy Valley in Hong Kong where its world-famous horse-racing season runs from September to June.
Stroll through Beijing’s imperial gardens like Beihai Park, which dates to the 10th century, and Yuanmingyuan, which was commissioned to resemble Versailles.
See cherry blossoms, which bloom sometime between late March and late April. It is easiest to see cherry blossoms at Yuyuantan Park and the Summer Palace in Beijing (take the canal ride that cruises between the two spots) and Gucun Forest Park and Shanghai Botanical Gardens in Shanghai. Cherry blossoms also bloom in Dalian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Wuhan, and Wuxi.
Shanghai Nanhui Peach Blossom Festival. Held in Shanghai's Nanhui District, the month-long peach blossom festival includes folk music, cultural activities, and, of course, stunning views of the blossoming peach trees.
Weifang International Kite Festival. Held in Shandong province in eastern China, the annual kite festival draws thousands of competitors and spectators from around the world.
Qingming (Tomb Sweeping Day). Qingming is a time when families pay homage to their ancestors by cleaning the gravesites and making offerings. Visiting a temple during the holiday, while crowded, will give visitors up-close insight into this important holiday.
Traveling to China in April? Check out these great itineraries.
Best of China 13-Days. This tour includes a visit to the Chengdu panda research station, an excursion to Yangshuo, a hike on the Great Wall, and a trip to see the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an.
Chengdu City & Pandas - 4 Days. Make the most of a shorter trip with visits to the Giant Panda Breeding Center, Giant Buddha of Leshan, and Mount Emei.
Discover Tibet - 6 Days. Adventure to the “roof of the world” on this trip that includes exploring Lhasa and Shigatze’s monasteries and Lhasa’s holiest sights, including the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple.
Chinese Cycling Tour - 10 Days. This bike tour meanders through nine picturesque Chinese cities.
Beijing to Hong Kong Grand Tour - 12 Days. A mix of ancient and modern, this tour includes stops at Beijing’s Forbidden City, Great Wall, and Summer Palace, Xi’an’s Terracotta Warriors, a three-day Yangtze River cruise, and a couple of days in Hong Kong.