This article will take you to beautiful tourist destinations and interesting festival that you can enjoy in autumn in China.

When traveling during autumn in China, travelers will be rewarded with the most comfortable time of the year with fall foliage, clear sky, and light breeze. It is also a good time to participate in outdoor activities, events, and cultural festivals.

Autumn in China

Summer Palace - Beijing Travel Guide
Summer Palace – Beijing

Spring (March to May) and autumn (the end of August to November) are the best times for a tour to China. The temperature is around 13 to 25 degrees Celsius, with a limited amount of rain. In November, the temperature will gradually drop and it can be freezing in winter. This is also the time for some most important events in China, for example, the birthday of Confucius, Mid Autumn Festival, and the National Day of the Republic of China.

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Events and Festivals during Autumn in China

Hungry Ghost Festival (August)

The seventh lunar month is dedicated to dead people and their ghosts. China’s traditional legends believe that on the first day of this month, the gates of hell are opened, and hungry ghosts are released to find food. Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of this month. It is one of many festivals to worship ancestors in this country, besides the Spring Festival, the Qingming Festival, and the Double Ninth Festival. On this occasion, Chinese people prepare food, incense, and paper-made clothes and furniture. In Ziyuan County in Guilin, Water Lantern and Song Festival is organized to celebrate Hungry Ghost, and you can enjoy the view hundreds of water lanterns on the river.

Mid-Autumn Festival (September)

Mid-Autumn Festival in China
Mid-Autumn Festival

Held on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, Mid Autumn Festival is the second largest festival in this country after Chinese New Year. Mid-Autumn Festival is also organized in other Asian countries, such as Vietnam and Singapore. Originally, this festival was the time to celebrate harvests and wish for successful crops. On this day, the moon is brightest and fullest, and the festival means family reunion and harmony. Mooncake, the must-try food of Mid Autumn Festival, represent the event’s characteristics: happiness, fullness, completeness, and togetherness. There are numerous fillings for mooncakes, from traditional ingredients such as lotus seed paste and mung bean paste to modern ones like chocolate and matcha. When the fullest moon comes at night, people place mooncakes and fruits to set a table ceremony to carry out moon worshipping rituals.

Qufu International Confucius Culture Festival (26th September to 10th October)

Qufu International Confucius Culture Festival
Qufu International Confucius Culture Festival

Qufu International Confucius Culture Festival is held annually from 26th September to 10th October in Qufu City, Shandong Province, the hometown of Confucius. Confucius was a great educator and philosopher of China and a founder of Confucianism. His doctrines influenced not only the development of Chinese society but also other countries in Asia such as Vietnam, Japan, and Korea. On this festival, there are a grand ceremony dedicated to Confucius and a kung fu competition. It is the time for Chinese people to show their respect to this world-famous philosopher.

National Day (October 1st)

The People’s Republic of China was founded on October 1st, 1949, with a grand ceremony taking place in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. On this occasion, there is a military parade in the capital city as well as other cities in China. Other activities like flag-raising ceremonies, dance and song performances, firework displays and cultural exhibits will also be held. Chinese people are on a 7-day holiday on this occasion, thus tourist attractions will be very crowded, and plan carefully if you travel to China on their National Day.

Double Ninth Festival (October)

Chongyang cake - Double Ninth Festival
Chongyang cake for Double Ninth Festival

Double Ninth Festival, or Chongyang Festival, takes place on the 9th day of the ninth lunar month. According to the traditions, the number 6 represents Yin character, while 9 is a Yang number. Therefore, the 9th day of the ninth lunar month was named Double Ninth Day. This festival can be dated back to the Eastern Han period (before AD 25). On this festival, Chinese people visit the graves of their ancestors to show their respects. Other customs you can experience at Double Ninth Festival are climbing a high mountain, eating Chongyang cake (or Flower Cake), enjoying Chrysanthemum, and drinking Chrysanthemum liquor.

Recommended Places to Visit during Autumn in China

Autumn in China is the best time for a trip to ancient towns, historic buildings, and some trekking spots. It may sound strange but do not forget to admire the fall foliage in some of the most famous forest in China, and you will feel like traveling to a Western country.

Burqin County (Xinjiang)

Kanas Nature Reserve - Autumn in China
Kanas Nature Reserve

Kanas (also known as Hanas) Nature Reserve is located in the northernmost point of Xinjiang. This nature reserve includes the Kanas Lake, which covers an area of 45 square kilometers, as well as a system of natural landscapes. The Kanas Lake means “a beautiful and mysterious lake” in Mongolian. The color of the lake is changing according to the weather and the color of leaves; sometimes it is blue, green, or even white.

Since the area shares borders with Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia, Kanas Nature Reserve boasts the beauty of a Siberian forest with snow-capped mountains, captivating fall foliage, and deciduous trees such as larch, elm, and maple. You can also spend time discovering Hemu Village in this place and take pictures of their unique wood houses.

Beijing

Badaling Forest Park - Beijing
Badaling Forest Park – Beijing

Beijing, the heart of China, is absolutely on the top of travelers’ list who long for discovering the glorious culture and history of the country. This city features various time-honored and jaw-dropping historic buildings, making Beijing an irresistible tourist destination. Furthermore, the renowned culinary art, friendly local people, professional hospitality services, and exciting shopping malls keep tourists stay in the city at least 3 or 4 days to fully explore its glamour.

Autumn is a perfect time to visit Beijing since the pleasant weather will allow you to visit all sites here: Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, and especially the Badaling part of the Great Wall. Do not forget to visit Badaling National Forest Park which is located at the foot of the Great Wall. You can have a chance to admire the fall foliage in Red Leaf Ridge area. From the end of September to the beginning of November each year, it is memorable to take pictures of captivating red leaves at this romantic spot.

Suzhou

Lingering Garden - Suzhou Travel Guide
Lingering Garden – Suzhou

Suzhou is located in southeastern China and it is about 100 kilometers from Shanghai. 42% of the city is covered by water with a vast system of dreamy ponds and streams. That’s the reason why it is called ‘Venice of China’. Found in 514 BC, this city has a long-lasting history which can be recognized from its traditional architecture and historic buildings.

As a center of China’s trade, education, and recreation during the imperial era, Suzhou is the place with many striking cultural highlights. There are many classic gardens and ancient towns in the city, and you can immerse yourself in the harmonious combination of blue sky, lush trees, ancient bridges, and traditional houses. Belonged to Jiangsu cuisine (also known as Su cuisine), one of the Eight Chinese Culinary Traditions, Suzhou is also a heaven for food connoisseurs.

Chengdu

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding - Chengdu Travel Guide
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

Since it is situated in the fertile plains of Red Basin, Chengdu is endowed with an abundance of precious resources to develop agriculture.  With the history of more than 3000 years, it is understandable that Chengdu is the home to various historical, religious and cultural sites. Famous Sichuan food and traditional teahouses are worth including in your Chengdu trip.

Tourists can approach closer to the symbol of China, giant pandas, when coming to the well-known Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. More than 80 pandas are preserved and taken care in this place. Moreover, tourists can stroll around the ancient streets, museums, temples, and monasteries in the city center, or go a little bit farther to some natural landscapes.

Jiuzhaigou County (Sichuan)

Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve
Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve – Sichuan

450 kilometers to the north of Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve in Jiuzhaigou County is considered the wonderland on earth. It is truly amazing to visit this nature reserve in spring with dreamlike fall foliage. In Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, the fall color is absolutely magnificent with various colors: yellow, hue and green, and you will feel like you are in a forest in European.

Jiuzhaigou means ‘Nine Villages Valley” in the Tibetan language and this place is considered as the holy area of Tibetan people. Considered as the masterpiece of the nature, Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve will stun your eyes with hundreds of turquoise lakes as well as many waterfalls, magnificent valleys, charming forests, not to mention a diverse system of fauna and flora.

Yuanyang County (Yunnan)

Yuanyang Rice Terraces
Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Located in the southwest of China’s Yunnan Province, the famous Yuanyang Rice Terraces in Yuanyang County are considered the most photogenic spot of the country and one of the best places to visit in autumn in China. Coming to this place during autumn in China, the beauty of Yuanyang Rice Terraces will definitely go beyond your expectation. During the harvest season, the whole area turns into a gorgeous golden color. These rice terraces form a mosaic of picturesque scenery, which represents the creativity and hard work of the Hani ethnic minority.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces are 300 kilometers from Kunming, and you can combine this place with Kunming City, Stone Forest, and Jianshui Ancient Town. Do not forget to discover the local markets and Hani people’s ethnic traditions and customs.

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