The highest temperatures of the year occur in August (Beijing can reach 122°F, but it’s rare). More than half of the capital’s rainfall per year falls in July and August. It’s hot in China with higher humidity in the south and east. It sweltering along the Yangtze and sticky and hot in Guangzhou and Hong Kong and Macau.
It’s monsoon season in southern China. Typhoon season, which most often affects Hong Kong, Macau, and cities along the southeast coast of mainland China like Guangzhou and Shenzhen, tends to be more active in August. If storms do come ashore, they move on quickly and shouldn’t damper your vacation.
Crowds & Costs
China’s high season is generally from spring to late fall. Schools are out for the summer in August, adding to the crowds that flock to local hotspots and tourist attractions alike. Intrepid travelers should book in advance to avoid extra costs and hassles.
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.
Journey to Inner Mongolia to stay overnight in a yurt and meander through the grasslands.
Travel to Chongqing and cruise the mighty Yangtze River. Originating in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and ending 3,900-miles (6,300 km) at the East China Sea, the Yangtze River meanders through 10 provinces and nine cities, including Chongqing, Yichang, Wuhan, Nanjing, and Shanghai. Cruising along Asia's longest river is a breathtaking multi-day journey that starts upstream at Chongqing and ends 200 miles (320 km) downstream in either Yichang or back at Chongqing.
What to Do
Rent a paddleboat in Beijing’s Chaoyang Park and sip sundowners at the bars that line Houhai’s lakes in the Chinese capital.
Beat the heat and learn traditional crafts like Chinese paper cutting, kite-making, calligraphy, and watercolor painting. Tours and hotels can easily set up these experiences no matter your destination.
Dine at one of Hong Kong’s floating restaurants and take a blissful ride on the Star Ferry.
Qingdao International Beer Festival. The month-long beer fest in Qingdao is Asia's answer to Oktoberfest.
Hungry Ghost Festival. This month-long festival honors wayward ancestors, who are believed to be released via the gates of hell, which open once each year. Families go to temples, light lanterns and boats and leave food offerings for their departed loved ones during this festival.
Naadam Grassland Festival. Head to Inner Mongolia to watch locals compete in Olympic-style athletic competitions.
Traveling to China in August? 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 short trip with visits to the Giant Panda Breeding Center, Leshan Giant Buddha, 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 most iconic sights, including the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple.
Highlights from Shanghai to Beijing - 12 Days. From a Shanghai city tour to Beijing’s Forbidden City and the Great Wall to Xi’an’s Terracotta Warriors, this comprehensive tour offers a great overview to China’s top sites.