Summer in China is long and marked with heat and humidity, particularly in Beijing where temperatures climb up to 104°F and the chance of rain increases. It’s an ideal time to travel to Chongqing and cruise the mighty Yangtze River. Lhasa’s temperatures are pleasant while it’s monsoon season in southern China.
The plum rain season arrives in mid-June in Shanghai with frequent downpours, Typhoon season, which most often affects Hong Kong, Macau, and cities along the southeast coast of mainland China like Guangzhou and Shenzhen, continues in June but typhoon activity is most active from July to September, so travelers shouldn’t worry about booking a trip in June.
Crowds & Costs
China’s high tourism season is generally from spring to late fall, so expect crowds at China’s museums, monuments, and tourist attractions. The Dragon Boat Festival occurs in early June, which affords locals a day or two off from work to catch the dragon boat races. During the holiday, local transport options may be busier than usual, but not overwhelming. Even though it is crowded, trip costs may remain reasonable if you’re flexible and book in advance.
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.
Take a Yangtze River Cruise. 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 often starts upstream at Chongqing and ends 200 miles (320 km) downstream in either Yichang or back at Chongqing.
Take a bullet train to conveniently explore China’s cities and make local friends. More than RMB220 billion was spent to build China's high-speed rail system (gāotiě)—the largest in the world. Trains travel up to 186 mph (299 kph) from major cities, including Beijing, Hong Kong, Xi’an, and Shanghai. Trains feature sleeper cars and multiple seating options.
What to Do
Rent a paddleboat in Beijing’s expansive and bucolic Chaoyang Park or join the locals for morning taichi and evening dancing at the nearest park.
Sip sundowners at the bars that line Houhai’s lakes in the Chinese capital and the rooftops of the Bund’s luxury hotels in Shanghai.
Dragon Boat Festival. The festival features boating competitions and zongzi (bamboo leaf wrapped rice with various fillings like pork and vegetables). Commemorating the poet Qu Yuan, teams of rowers race in colorful boats in the shape of traditional Chinese dragons to re-enact efforts to save the poet, who had jumped into the river. The most famous dragon boat festivals are in Hong Kong and Macau, but there are other festivals in Yueyang, Hunan, Guizhou and Hangzhou.
Saga Dawa Festival. The Tibetan festival honors Shakyamuni Buddha with revelers spending the religious holiday praying at temples and lighting lanterns.
Traveling to China in June? 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.
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.
Chengdu City & Pandas - 4 Days. Make the most of a four-day trip with visits to the Giant Panda Breeding Center, Leshan Giant Buddha, and Mount Emei.
Chinese Cycling Tour - 10 Days. This 10-day bike tour meanders through nine picturesque cities.
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 tour offers a great overview to China’s top sites.
Beijing to Hong Kong Grand Tour - 12 Days. A mix of ancient and modern, this 12-day 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.
China’s Ancient Capitals & Yangtze River Cruise - 13 Days. This comprehensive tour includes visits to the ancient capitals of Beijing, Luoyang, and Xi’an plus a stop in Shanghai to explore sights like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, Shaolin Temple, the Bund plus a three-day Yangtze River cruise.
Discover Tibet’s Cities - 7 Days. This trip includes visits to the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery, and Barkhor Market in Lhasa and the temples and monasteries of Shigatse and Gyantse.
Highlights of Lhasa - 4 Days. Visit the Tibetan capital’s most sacred sites on this four-day journey to Lhasa.
Tibet: Train Journey & Everest Base Camp - 11 Days. This tour combines a quick tour of Beijing with ride on the world’s highest railway and a comprehensive Tibetan tour that includes visits to the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Norbulingka, Sera Monastery, and Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, the temples and monasteries of Shigatse and Gyantse, and Everest Base Camp in Tingri.