Temperatures begin to drop throughout the country as autumn gives way to the long cold winter. In the southeast, typhoon season, which most often affects Hong Kong, Macau, and cities along the southeast coast of mainland China like Guangzhou and Shenzhen, continues in November but typhoon activity is most active from July to September, so travelers should not worry about booing trips to typhoon-prone areas..
Crowds & Costs
Winter is less crowded, mainly due to colder temperatures (some regions might even get snow). The tourist season is over in Tibet and temperatures are chilly, but it’s still a great time to explore the Tibetan capital as crowds thin out. It is peak season on Hainan Island in southern China, which is a sun-drenched and warm respite from the winter.
Travel costs for warmer weather destinations like Sanya on Hainan Island are at their peak, but prices in other parts of the country are lower than average thanks to the falling temperatures and dreary weather.
Where to Go
Escape the often drab weather in the north and visit the verdant Yangshuo and bucolic Longsheng Terraced Hills.
Explore China’s southern water towns of Hangzhou, the southern terminus of the ancient Grand Canal waterway, Suzhou, a town just outside Shanghai that is famous for its lush gardens, meandering canals, and charming bridges, and Wuzhen, a quaint town of stone bridges and wood carvings.
What to Do
See fall foliage like the red leaves of Beijing’s Fragrant Hill. The easy to moderate hike is pleasant thanks to cooler temperatures, but it can get crowded, particularly on weekends.
Take the train to Tibet. The two-day journey on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the world's highest railway, departs from Beijing West Railway Station, and travels 2,334 miles (3,757 km) through eight provinces before arriving at Lhasa Railway Station.
Along the way, travelers can marvel at the contrasts in landscape: Qarhan Salt Lake, Yuzhu Peak, Kekexili Nature Reserve, Tuotuo He River, Tsonag Lake, and Qiangtang prairie. When the train ascends Tanggula Pass, the highest point of the journey—and at 16,640 feet (5,072 meters)—the highest point on a railway in the world, oxygen is pumped into the train cars. To help riders acclimate to the high altitude.
Beijing International Fashion Week. Check out the latest fashions from China’s top designers at this bi-annual fashion week that rivals the fashion weeks in New York, Paris, and Milan.
Shanghai Fashion Week. Check out the latest fashions from China’s top designers at this annual fashion week that rivals the fashion weeks in Beijing, New York, Paris, and Milan.
Shanghai Biennale. One of the largest art festivals in China, the biennale is focused on showcasing the best and emerging contemporary art in China and around the world.
Traveling to China in November? Check out these great itineraries.
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 tour offers a great overview to China’s top sites.
China Golden Triangle Tour - 8 Days. Visit a trio of China’s most popular cities: Beijing, Shanghai, and XI’an during this eight-day tour that includes visits to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Great Wall in Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, and the Bund in Shanghai.
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.