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

Blooming trees in Shanghai in March

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March in China sees the first efforts of spring; trees, people, and animals begin to break out of winter hibernation. Following the chilly months of winter, March is a fairly comfortable time to be outside for several hours at a time. Dress appropriately, and you'll be fine for enjoying outdoor activities and tourist sights.

In the wake of the big Chinese New Year holiday and some shorter spring holidays such as Qing Ming, March doesn't have many public holidays that trigger locals to travel domestically. For international tourists, March is an ideal time to visit Asia as the lull in local travelers allows for fewer crowds at popular places like the Great Wall of China.

Unsurprisingly, the weather varies wildly across the regions in China due to the massive size of the country. In March, Northern China finally starts to warm up with an average increase of 11 degrees Fahrenheit from February. Beijing will still feel cold but relatively dry. Meanwhile, Central China is still going to feel chilly and very damp. Expect a lot of rainy days in Southern China.

China Weather in March

  • Beijing: average daytime temp is 43 F (6 C); average of 4 days with precipitation.
  • Shanghai: average daytime temp is 48 F (9 C); average of 14 days with precipitation.
  • Guangzhou: average daytime temp is 65 F (18 C); average of 19 days with precipitation.
  • Guilin: average daytime temp is 58 F (14 C); average of 14 days with precipitation.

In destinations such as Shanghai, warmer weather will feel lovely. Fruit trees begin blooming, drawing people out to parks and public spaces. Macau will be even warmer following the typically mild winter there.

What to Pack

You'll still need plenty of layers for China in March when packing for the trip. Expect to deal with a lot of rain in southern destinations!

  • North: Although sunny days will feel nice, nighttime brings freezing temperatures. Pack a heavy base layer, fleece, and a wind-proof or down jacket to wear after dinner. Rain won't be as much of a concern.
  • Central: Dampness makes mild temperatures feel colder than they sound. Bring jeans, boots, and sweaters along with a rain/wind-proof jacket.
  • South: You'll be able to wear shorts on some days but bring warmer clothes for dips in temperature. Rainwear is essential; half the month can see rain.

March Events in China

As the sun begins to make a more regular appearance and the temperature creeps higher, a few local holidays attract attention.

  • Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival: Enormous ice blocks are transformed into visual works of art during the Festival. Usually running from the end of January into early March, the city hosts thousands of people that come to view the sculptures, eat frozen treats, and take part in activities like ice slides. Farther to the north, Harbin is home to the famous Ice and Snow festival in January with enormous ice sculptures.
  • Shanghai Peach Blossom Festival: The festival has been celebrating blooming trees and the arrival of spring since 1991. Visitors will enjoy food, music, and decorated orchards all honoring the fuzzy fruit and beautiful blossoms.
  • Women's Day: On March 8, China stops to appreciate women in a day that is a meld of Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. Typically, the men in China will give gifts or flowers to the special ladies in their life.

March Travel Tips

March is a quiet time for domestic travelers, making it pretty convenient for sightseeing and visiting the major attractions as they won't be too crowded. Nevertheless, the rain in Central and Southern China can make outdoor sightseeing difficult and dreary at times.

The best way to enjoy March in China is to be flexible. Changing your itinerary, especially changing your domestic airline tickets, is actually pretty reasonable. Keep an eye on the forecast. If you find out your next stop is currently drenched in heavy rainfall, choose another place!

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