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

April is a good time to visit the Great Wall of China

Aerial view of the Forbidden City in Beijing

Todd Brown / Getty Images

Spring is in the air in April throughout most of China, and it's a lovely time to visit. One of the largest countries by area in the world (3.7 million square miles), China's geography encompasses many regions and its climate can vary greatly. For the most part, the weather here in April is warming up during the day with nights remaining cool. The heavy humidity hasn't set in yet. It’s a good time to do outdoor activities and go traveling across most of the country, although it is still quite cold in the northernmost regions and in the mountains.

While you may get the start of the rainy season in the southern part of China, school is still in session in April, so you'll avoid the big crowds and can enjoy events from flower festivals to an international film festival and a marathon at the Great Wall.

Weather in April

Northern cities like Beijing and Xi'an should be comfortable for outdoor sightseeing. Across central China, the weather is warm but damp. The South becomes increasingly warmer. There will be a lot of rain in both central and southern China, so bring your rain gear. Guangzhou (also known as Canton) and Guilin in southern China are surrounded by mountain-like formations, which have a monsoon-influenced, humid subtropical climate. Shanghai on the country's east coast can have an unpredictable temperature in April—one day it can be cool and damp, and the next it may be warm and sunny.

Average Temperature Average Rainy Days in April
Beijing 67 F (20 C) 5
Shanghai 65 F (18 C) 13
Guangzhou 78 F (26 C) 15
Guilin 72 F (22 C) 20

What to Pack

Bringing many layers is the key: As the weather warms up during the day, you can remove layers until the temperature cools down in the evening. Pack your rain-resistant shoes; umbrellas and rain jackets are available everywhere—vendors usually sit outside malls and museums.

North

The days should be warm but it's chilly at night. You may be able to wear shorts and T-shirts during the day, but you will likely need to add a warmer layer at night.

Central

Humid and damp weather prevail. It can be warm, so short pants and short sleeves are good for daytime, but pack a warmer and weather-proof layer for evenings and expect plenty of rainy days. The first half of April is still cold, so bring a jacket.

South

It will be warm during the day—even hot and humid. Bring light clothes that are comfortable under rain gear. You may want a heavier layer at night, but light pants and a sweater will probably be the most you'll need.

April Events in China

In April, there are interesting events throughout China, including everything from a marathon at the Great Wall to the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition and a water splashing festival.

  • Water Splashing Festival: This is celebrated on April 13–15, 2020, by the Dai people, a Buddhist ethnic group in the southern China Yunnan province. Community members splash water on each other as a blessing for good luck in the coming year. The event includes dragon boat races, gift exchanges, and fireworks. 
  • Luoyang Peony Festival: This annual gathering is popular among Chinese and international peony enthusiasts. From April 1 through May 7, 2020, enjoy China's national flower in full bloom. Luoyang City is in the west Henan Province in Central China.
  • Beijing International Film Festival: The 10th annual film event in 2020 will occur April 19–26 at the China Science and Technology Museum. Guests enjoy red carpets and a great opportunity to see the latest local and global films.
  • The Great Wall Marathon: This April 12, 2020, race taking place since 1999 near Beijing offers a full marathon, a half marathon, and an 8.5K (5-mile) Fun Run to attendees from over 60 countries. Enjoy one of the Seven Wonders of the World in what has been called one of the most challenging marathons on the planet. Buses depart from Beijing to the race location.
  • Shanghai Peach Blossom Festival: From March 20 through April 16, 2020, the peach blossoms begin to bloom and tourists experience traditional Chinese music, dance performances, acrobats, and more. Check out the Chengbei Folk Peach Orchard.
  • Beijing International Automotive Exhibition: Car buffs can head to the China International Exhibition Center from April 21–30, 2020, to learn about the trends of the worldwide automobile industry.

April Travel Tips

  • The only national holiday this month is from April 4–6, 2020, called Qing Ming, or "Tomb Sweeping Day." Chinese families visit their ancestors' gravesites to pray and make ritual offerings. People typically have Monday off, and travel during this period can get busy with an increase in prices.
  • As the weather warms up, the natural scenery turns green. It's a good time to visit the Great Wall, which is less crowded in April than in the following warmer months.
  • Zhangjiajie in central China is beautiful in April. It will be misty and foggy at Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Dress for the cooler and rainier climate and take in the scenery of the pillars and peaks.
  • April is not a good time to travel to Urumqi on the Silk Road due to frequent dust storms. The weather is dry, cloudy, and cold. 
  • If April does not work for your schedule, look at traveling to the area in March or May for similar temperatures and activities.
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