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

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

Forbidden City, Beijing China
Sam Diephuis/Stone/Getty Images

In April, spring is in the air throughout most of China, and it can be a lovely time to visit China. China is one of the largest countries by area in the entire world (3.7 million square miles); its vast geography encompasses many regions and its climate can vary greatly. Also, it is the most populous country on the planet with nearly 1.5 billion people. The nice thing about April is that school is still in session so you're avoiding the big crowds.

For the most part throughout China, the weather is warming up during the day with nights remaining cool. The heavy-hitting 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 freezing in the northernmost regions and in the mountains. The main drawback about travel in April is that you may get the start of the rainy season in the southern part of China. The rains move to northern China by the summer months.

China Weather in April

Northern China, such as cities like Beijing and Xi'an, are going to feel really comfortable for outdoor sightseeing.

Across central China, the weather is much the same as it was in March, which is warm, but damp.

In the South, the weather is becoming increasingly warmer and you'll see days reaching above 80 F. There will still be a lot of rain in both central and southern China, so bring your rain gear.

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, and Guilin, which is surrounded by mountain-like formations, are in southern China, which has a monsoon-influenced, humid subtropical climate.

Shanghai is located in the country's east coast, and is a global financial center, world transportation hub, and the busiest container port in the world.

In April the temperature in Shanghai is unpredictable—one day it can be cool and damp, and the next it can be warm and sunny.

 Average TemperatureAverage Rainy Days in ​April
Beijing67 F (20 C)5
Shanghai65 F (18 C)13
Guangzhou78 F (26 C)15
Guilin72 F (22 C)20

What to Pack

The mantra for packing or dressing for travel in China should be "layers, layers, and more layers." As the weather warms up during the day, you can remove layers that you are wearing. As temperature cool down in the evening, add the layers back on.

Pack your raincoat and rain-resistant shoes, too. Umbrellas and raincoats are available everywhere. Umbrella vendors usually sit outside malls and museums waiting for tourists in need of raingear.

  • North: It will be warm during the day but chilly at night. You may be able to wear shorts and t-shirts during the day, but you will likely need to add on a warmer layer at night.
  • Central: The central part of the country is humid and damp. It can be warm, so short pants and short sleeves are good for daytime, but you'll want a warmer and weather-proof layer for evenings and rainy days, of which there will be plenty. The first half of April, it is still pretty chilly, so don't come expecting a full-blown warm spring. You will want to bring a jacket.
  • South: You can expect that it will be warm during the day, even hot, and humid. So, bring light clothes that will feel comfortable under rain gear. You may want a heavier layer at night, but light pants and a sweater will probably be the warmest you'll need.

April Events in China

The only national holiday in April is Qing Ming, which means "Tomb Sweeping Day" or "Pure Brightness Festival." This day changes year to year because it is associated with the Chinese lunar calendar, but it usually falls on the first weekend of April. Chinese families visit the tombs of their ancestors to clean the gravesites, pray to their ancestors, and make ritual offerings. Workers and students have one day off, typically a Monday, and so a long three-day weekend occurs. Travel during this period can get busy and prices will go up.

In April, there are festivals and events throughout the country. There are a few that stand out.

  • Water Splashing Festival: This weeklong festival is usually celebrated in mid-April by the Dai people, a Buddhist ethnic group celebrating New Year on the Dai calendar, in the southern China Yunnan province. The community splash water on each other as a blessing for good luck in the coming year. The festival includes dragon boat races, water splashing, gift exchanges, and fireworks. This event attracts about 1 million people every year from all over China. The influx of travelers contributes greatly to the development of the area.
  • Luoyang Peony Festival: This annual festival is very popular among Chinese tourists and peony enthusiasts the world over. Each year from mid-April to mid-May, China's national flower is in full bloom. Luoyang City is located in the west Henan Province in Central China. Besides seeing peonies, famous tourist attractions there include the White Horse Temple and Longmen Grottoes.
  • The Great Wall Marathon: This annual marathon near Beijing offers three distances of running lengths, full marathon, half marathon, and 10K. This race lets you run one of the modern-day Seven Wonders of the World, on the steps of ancient history, 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: Beginning in March and continuing throughout April, the peach blossoms begin to bloom and tourists flock to the parks to take in the beauty. Nanhui Peach Blossom Village is the perfect place to escape the pressures of Shanghai’s urban bustle and within the Chinese-style garden you can take a boat out onto the river and enjoy waterside views of the peach blossoms.

April Travel Tips

  • As the weather warms up the natural scenery turns green. It's a good time to visit the Great Wall around Beijing. Crowding is a lot less in April than it is the following warmer months.
  • Zhangjiajie in central China is cool and beautiful for traveling in April. It will be misty and foggy at Zhangjiajie Forest Park, which is a wonderful, mystical way to take in the scenery of the pillars and peaks. Note that it is cooler and rainier in the mountains, so dress accordingly, and you will feel prepared to enjoy the natural splendors of the area.
  • April is not a good time to travel to Urumqi, the Silk Road region, due to frequent dust storms. The weather is dry and cloudy, and it is still quite cold. Urumqi was a major hub on the Silk Road during China's Tang dynasty.
  • If you are interested in travel to China in spring, but April does not work for your schedule, look at travel to the area in March or May. Temperatures and activities that you would expect during that time are similar to April's.