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April or October for a monthlong trip to China?

April or October for a monthlong trip to China?

May 16th, 2019, 05:55 AM
  #1  
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April or October for a monthlong trip to China?

My husband and I have agreed to focus on China for our next Asian trip. I'm interested in visiting the following locations: Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Guilin/Yangshuo, Yunnan, and Hong Kong. I will hone it down as I get more focused on planning, but these are the areas that call out to us.

Which month - April or October - would be, overall, better for a visit? I know that it's never going to be just perfect -- I understand China is HUGE and we're covering a lot of territory. But is one month noticeably better? I'm also aware that the beginning of May and beginning of October are both national holidays, so I'm trying to avoid times when there would be a large amount of holiday travel. I also see that there are risks for typhoons in September so is this also a big risk in October? (I'm not asking for guarantees!)

In terms of organizing the trip, I prefer the fall, because we'd visit Beijing early on, when we have more energy. I'd then leave Hong Kong for the end of the trip when it is cooler. If we go in the spring, we would do it in reverse.

Thoughts about timing?
progol is offline  
Jun 11th, 2019, 07:12 PM
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I'd say October. Start from Beijing then go down to the south and depart from HK. You will enjoy comfortable weather all the way throughout your trip. The suggested city order is Beijing, Xi'an, Lijiang, Dali, Kunming, Guilin, Shanghai and HK. You will save a bit by taking some high speed trains between Beijing and Xian, Dali and Kunming, Kunming and Guilin.
sarahontheroad is offline  
Jun 11th, 2019, 07:35 PM
  #3  
kja
 
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Sorry I missed your question earlier, progol!

My choice would be October. The dust storms in the north -- the storms that can make Beijing difficult -- start, I think, in March and go into May.
kja is offline  
Jun 12th, 2019, 02:54 AM
  #4  
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Thanks, kja,
We haven’t decided, but I’m leaning toward April, as it’s a balance of the weather in the different regions, and then managing the holiday stretch. I do take your recommendation to avoid possible dust storms to heart, though I may end up risking them. Nothing is set in stone yet, though!
progol is offline  
Jun 13th, 2019, 09:24 AM
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Whatever you decide, make sure to avoid the first week of October as it is a major holiday in China.
I have been to China at both periods and the weather is rather similar. Even Beijing this past mid-April was very warm. Hong Kong was extremely warm (nearly too much for me). What I like about April is that all the vegetation is fresh. Trees in Beijing are flowering and the leaves are tender green. A little darker and less colorful in October.
By mid-October is gets rather cool in the north. when I was living in Beijing, we once had snow on November 1.
CanadaChinaTraveller is offline  
Jun 13th, 2019, 01:29 PM
  #6  
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Thanks CanadaChinaTraveller, I'm now leaning toward April as avoiding the October holiday does mean we're traveling in November and it's getting later in the year. I'm inclined to leave at the end of March and return by the end of April.

My very, very tentative itinerary looks like this; I will probably tweak it a bit, but I'm intrigued by the southwest and the ethnic minority regions. I don't think we would add any more days, though I might need to eliminate a night or 2 from this:

Hong Kong - 4 nights
Guilin/Yangshuo - 3/4 nights
Yunnan province- 10/12 nights (the usual: Kunming, Lijiang, Dali, Shangri-La)
Xian - 2/3 nights
Beijing - 6 nights
Shanghai - 4 nights

It's just the beginning but those are what call to us.
progol is offline  
Jun 14th, 2019, 05:59 AM
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Yes, avoid the week beginning Oct.1!
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Jun 14th, 2019, 06:17 AM
  #8  
 
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If you are to do 10/12 days in Yunnan, you can add more places. Consider Yuanyang as the rice terraces are full of water at that time of the year.
CanadaChinaTraveller is offline  
Jun 14th, 2019, 04:54 PM
  #9  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by progol View Post
Xian - 2/3 nights
Beijing - 6 nights
Two nights in Xi'an would give you time for the terra cotta warriors, but there's SOOOooooo much more to Xi'an that you might want to consider more time there.

Six nights in Beijing would likely give you time for the highlights, though I'm glad I gave it a bit more time than that.
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Jun 15th, 2019, 03:27 AM
  #10  
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Thanks, everyone!

I will definitely avoid the October holiday! We will probably travel next April!

CCT, the Huanyang terraces look beautiful and I’ll think about include them. I’ve been following Yunnan on Instagram, and one thing that concerns me are the huge crowds at the many tourist sites, and the numbers of people at the rice terraces are daunting. It does seem far to travel for this, and I’d rather I nclude a smaller place within the province to just be able to experience more of a flavor of daily life.

kja, the itinerary is definitely a work in progress, and there’s no way I can fit it all in! I do realize that Xian has more than just the warriors, and will try to find a good balance. If I can, I’ll make sure we are there for 3 nights.

Many thanks for all all your thoughts and suggestions!

progol is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 06:09 AM
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When I visited Yuanyang (not Huanyang) it was in early April and there was no crowd.
There are many people in China no matter where and where you go as a tourist.
CanadaChinaTraveller is offline  
Jun 16th, 2019, 02:31 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by CanadaChinaTraveller View Post
There are many people in China no matter where and where you go as a tourist.
I do see that! And am prepared!
progol is offline  
Jun 16th, 2019, 06:45 AM
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progol, I see you've settled on April which sounds perfect, but here's another data point. On our month-long in April some years ago we had weather all over the charts for the couple weeks in Beijing and Guilin: Gobi dust storms, heavy rain, and beautiful sunny days. The 2 weeks we spent in Yunnan were absolutely perfect weather every day.

Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results.

Sounds like a great trip you have planned!
Nelson is offline  
Jun 16th, 2019, 08:13 AM
  #14  
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Nelson, I think it’s a crap shoot! No matter when we go, there’s a risk of crappy weather somewhere! Geographically, we’re pretty all over the place, too, so it’s the risk we take, I suppose.
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