October in China: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Mountain road, China
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October can be one of the best months to visit China. Autumn really starts to get into full swing in central China throughout October, and you'll find cooling temperatures and mild, sunny weather across the country all month long.

Fall foliage will already be out in the north, so October can be a wonderful time to visit northern destinations along the Great Wall as well as Jiaohe, Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, the Red Grasslands, and the Yellow Mountains. In southern China, it will still be quite warm with temperatures in the high 70s and 80s, perfect for exploring thriving cities like Shenyang and Haikou.

China Weather in October

October brings cooler yet mild temperatures with plenty of sunny days to enjoy the fall foliage, but the weather can vary drastically by region. While the capital city of Beijing in northeastern China stays moderately cool and dry throughout the month, the southern city of Guangzhou is still relatively hot and rainy.

  • Beijing: 66 degrees Fahrenheit (18.9 degrees Celsius), 5 days of rainfall
  • Shanghai: 73 degrees Fahrenheit (22.4 degrees Celsius), 8.3 days of rainfall
  • Guangzhou: 83 degrees Fahrenheit (28.5 degrees Celsius), 6.5 days of rainfall
  • Guilin: 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.8 degrees Celsius),9.5 days of rainfall

Overall, the average daily temperature in China in October ranges between 50 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit while the country receives an average of two inches of rainfall for the month. For the most part, cities in China experience cooling temperatures over the course of October, but there will still be moderate rain levels in southern and eastern China.

What to Pack

Layers are essential for autumn weather in China. If you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing pack comfortable walking shoes, such as flats or tennis shoes. Although it's always smart to pack essentials (such as comfortable walking shoes), you should tailor your packing list to the areas you're traveling to in China.

  • North: It will be cool during the day and chilly at night. A light daytime base layer with a fleece or sweater layer at night is a good option.
  • Central: It will be warm during the day and cooler at night. A light base for daytime and long sleeves and long pants in the evening should be enough to keep you comfortable.
  • South: It will still be quite warm. Late summer dressing is fine but bring something lightweight for the occasional cool evening or heavily air-conditioned room.

Casual clothes are very acceptable across China, so feel free to bring jeans and some shirts that you can easily mix and match no matter where you're visiting. This will also save space in your suitcase for any souvenirs you may want to take home.

October Events in China

The biggest event of the month National Day and the following seven days of celebrations known as Golden Week, but there are plenty of things to do across China during the month of October. From the Double Ninth Festival in mid-October to a variety of international technology expositions, tourists have many chances to explore the unique culture of China during their trip this October.

  • National Day of the People's Republic of China: This is generally a week-long holiday for all Chinese workers. National Day celebrates the formation of the People's Republic of China, which was founded on October 1, 1949, and is commemorated throughout mainlaind China, Hong Kong, and Macau with a variety of festivals, events, and public concerts.
  • Tsongkapa's Birthday: Although not celebrated by all Chinese people, the birthday of the founder of the Geluk order of Tibetan Buddhism is observed throughout the Tibetan world, generally in late October to early November.
  • Ningbo International Fashion Fair: This annual fashion exhibition, also known as IFFAIR, is one of the most influential expos in the fashion world and takes place each year in mid-October in Ningbo.
  • Shanghai Jewelry Expo: Each year in early October, hundreds of craftspeople and vendors gather at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center for an international jewelry exhibition.
  • Music China: In mid-October each year, Music China brings an extensive selection of musical instruments and accessories to the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Pudong Xinqu.

October Travel Tips

  • If you do decide to travel to China in the fall, it is best to avoid planning your trip during the first week of October, known as Golden Week, when you'll generally find crowded buses, trains, and planes as well as expensive fares and sold-out hotel rooms across the country.
  • China's top attractions will also be mobbed with site-seeing domestic tourists during Golden Week. Frugal travelers should wait to book domestic fares after the first week of October as the prices will drop and the remaining month is a more budget-friendly time to travel within the country.
  • If you're visiting western China—especially places with higher elevation like Tibet and West Yunnan—temperatures fall significantly over the month and may drop below freezing by the end of October; pack extra layers to accommodate.
  • October is a great month to visit the Great Wall in Beijing, but you may need to book accommodations and airfare further in advance as it's also one of the busiest tourist seasons for the city.
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