China is a country that is continuing to grow in popularity as a holiday destination as more and more travellers are enticed by its incredible mix of tradition and modernity. Whether you fancy a city break, a hiking holiday or a trip filled with iconic sightseeing spots, it’s an incredible place that truly has something to offer every kind of traveller.
Visiting China in March allows you to see the country just before its tourist season starts, and whilst the weather across a lot of the country is a little cold and wet, the atmosphere you’ll enjoy everywhere you go definitely makes up for it. This is a destination full of vibrant contrasts and unique experiences, and it’s a perfect choice for an unforgettable holiday in the spring.
Reasons to Visit China in March
- Tourism isn’t particularly high in China in March, meaning that prices for travel and accommodation are much cheaper than in later months
- Many parts of China are starting to warm up once March begins, and in the south of the country you will likely find quite mild and sunny weather a lot of the time
- March is peach blossom season in cities such as Shanghai, providing incredibly beautiful scenery throughout the city with plenty of cultural events taking place amongst the orchards of trees
Weather in China in March
China is a huge country with a vastly varied climate, and in March you can experience every kind of weather possible depending on where you visit. As a general rule, the north of the country will be cold but dry whilst southern regions will see slightly warmer temperatures and occasional days of rain.
In northern Beijing, the average high temperature in March is around 11°C and tends to drop down to -1°C overnight. Central and eastern locations such as Shanghai will have average highs of around 13°C and lows of about 5°C, whereas southern parts of China like Hong Kong usually see high temperatures of 22°C and lows of 17°C in March.
Sea temperatures in China in March vary up and down the country, with the average water temperature in the east being around 7°C and very unsuitable for swimming. Further down the coast, temperatures rise to an average of around 15°C, and right in the south of the country can be over 20°C on hot days in March.
Clouds and Rainfall
Whilst the north of China is the coldest part of the country in March, it only sees around 4 days of rain on average during the month, with regions in the northwest often seeing even less than that. Central China has an average of 8 or fewer days of rain, but places in the east such as Shanghai and Guilin tend to have 14-19 days of rain during the month, although this is usually just persistent drizzle and showers are never that heavy.
Wetter and warmer parts of China in the south and east of the country only have between 4 and 5 hours of sunshine every day in March, as conditions are usually quite cloudy most of the time. Northern regions however will have clear skies along with their chilly temperatures, and up to 8 hours of sunlight every day.
Where to Go in China in March
Hangzhou may not be as high up on the list of popular Chinese cities as glamorous Beijing or Hong Kong, but this makes it all the better as a holiday destination. If you’re looking to experience an authentic and historic part of China that is not overrun with tourism and other travellers, you’ll fall in love with Hangzhou.
Once the capital of China during the Southern Song dynasty, Hangzhou is full of ancient gardens and temples that have been there for thousands of years and offer a brilliant insight into China’s cultural history. It’s also a top destination for food, and is famous for the tea which begins to be harvested in March.
Visiting southern parts of China is your best bet for warm weather in March, which is why we recommend the beautiful city of Guilin. A popular saying in China translates to “the scenery in Guilin is the greatest under heaven”, and with mountains, forests and a spectacular river, this is certainly true.
Exploring the city’s surrounding scenery is the most popular activity for visitors coming to Guilin, with cruises along the River Li being a firm favourite way to spend a morning. You can also hike through the area’s amazing rice terraces, explore the settlements dotted across the mountains, and enjoy the huge mix of cultures that Guilin’s population have brought to the area.
What to Do in China in March
Hike the Great Wall
Visiting the Great Wall of China is on most people’s bucket lists when they come to the country, and March is an excellent time to come to this historic monument and walk some of the length of the famous structure. Not only are the weather conditions in March very pleasant for walking, but it also won’t be particularly busy which means you can enjoy your journey without having to dodge a lot of other tourists as you go.
The low season for tourism in March means that visiting China’s famous cities is a great choice for things to do during your visit, as you won’t have to wait in huge queues for popular attractions or struggle to take a decent photo of every place you visit. Beijing is an incredible city that will be very cold in March, so we recommend planning lots of trips to galleries and museums to enjoy the culture on offer and escape the chilly outdoor temperatures.
Enjoy the Sun on Hainan Island
If you’re looking for sunshine on your trip to China in March, Hainan Island is your best bet for high temperatures. Located off the coast of southernmost China, the island is a classic beach destination that is very popular in the summer months and has plenty of outdoor attractions that are best enjoyed on days when the weather is clear and sunny.
Crowds & costs
China is considered a year-round country, but the peak season for tourism is between late spring and early autumn. Generally, it is recommended that visitors avoid coming to China during the country’s national holidays as this is when all areas are incredibly busy, which means March is an excellent time of the year to stay as there are no nationwide events taking place.
Spring and Autumn are the most popular seasons to visit China, so if you visit the country right at the start of March you should be able to bag the last low season prices for flights and accommodation. Regions of China with colder and wetter weather will be less busy than southern areas at this time of year, so bear that in mind if you’re a traveller who wants to avoid any crowds.
March festivals & events
Shanghai Peach Blossom Festival
Since 1991, the city of Shanghai has held a peach blossom festival between March and April to celebrate the blooming trees. It is also a chance to enjoy traditional aspects of Chinese culture, with dance and music performances as well as plenty of opportunities to enjoy classic cuisine.
Events are held across the city during the festival, but one of the best districts to visit for peach blossom trees is Pudong. Here, parks such as Shanghai Nanhui Datuan Peach Blossom Park, Nanhui Peach Blossom Village and Century Park are full of beautiful trees and offer plenty of brilliant photo opportunities.
Polo Birth Festival Temple Fair
The Polo Birth Festival Temple Fair is a cultural festival that has been celebrated in China for over 1000 years. It is based on the folklore legend of a magical chicken named Polo and held in the riverside city of Guangzhou.
The main event of the Polo Birth Festival Temple Fair is that hundreds of paper chickens are on sale, as a nod to the magical chicken that began the tradition, as well as several performances and parades through the city. Buying one of the paper chickens is said to bring good luck, so if you’re in Guangzhou during the festival then it’s definitely worth purchasing a ‘Polo’.
Frequently asked questions about China in March
Is it cold in China in March?
The weather varies very dramatically across China in March, and some areas of the country will still be very cold during the month. In northern regions, March is still part of the winter season and you can expect temperatures as low as -1°C in cities such as Beijing.
What is the safest city in China?
China is a country that is considered relatively safe in all regions, but Shanghai is thought of as the safest city. Beijing and Hangzhou are also in the top three safest locations in the country, as all have relatively low levels of crime, stable politics and friendly and welcoming populations.
China is a huge country that has more than enough to fill several different holiday itineraries, and many people find that they’re already planning their next trip before they’ve even left. Whether you want to enjoy the cutting-edge experiences available in the country’s modern cities or lose yourself amongst the ancient landscapes and architecture found in many different regions, China is a welcoming and beautiful part of the world that offers the ideal setting for an unforgettable holiday. What are you waiting for?