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The Weather on the Silk Road

The Silk Road in China traverses several provinces in the diverse geography, covering a lot popular cities, including Xian in Shaanxi, Lanzhou and Dunhuang in Gansu, and Turpan, Urumqi, Kashgar in Xinjiang and more. So the weather on Silk Road is also diverse: warm and comfortable, dry and windy…

If you want to experience the unique scenery in Gansu, you should base your trip in the attractions of western China, but not the weather.

1. Weather in Shaanxi Province ( Xian )

Due to the span of its latitude, Shaanxi has various climates:
a. the northern part ( Loess Plateau ): a cold arid or cold semi-arid climate, with cold and very dry winters, dry springs and autumns, and hot summers.
b. the southern part ( Guanzhong Plain ): semi-arid climate, with cool to cold winters, and hot and humid summers.

Situated in the center of China and the center of Guanzhong Plain, Xian has a temperate and continental monsoon climate. It is characterized by hot and rainy summer ( June to august ), cold and dry winter ( December to February ), spring ( March to May ) and autumn ( September to November ) will be somewhat brief and dry. Its rainy season is from July to September. So that April to May and September to October are the best time to travel around Xian: Terracotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda…

Autumn in Xian

2. Weather in Gansu Province ( Lanzhou, Dunhuang )

Gansu has a complex geography and the greatly different elevation. The weather differs in different parts of Gansu. The rainy days are mainly in months from June to September. The best time to visit Gansu is from April to June.

In the temperature, the average annual temperature of Gansu is 7-9℃. The hottest month of July receives and average temperature of 20℃ - 24℃, and January being the coldest month receives and average temperature of -12℃ - 2℃. The climate in Gansu is dry, and there is big difference in temperature between day and night. Thick coat or warm clothing is necessary in morning and night.

In addition, travelers in Gansu should pay more attention on the strong solar radiation and prepare sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, and umbrella for protection.

Binglingsi Monastery

A. Lanzhou

Lanzhou has a typical temperate, semi-arid continental monsoon climate. It enjoys chilly winter with an average temperature of -7℃, ephemeral spring with changeable weather. Summer is short but not too hot with an average temperature of 22℃. Autumn's temperature decrease rapidly.

The best season is usually from May to October when the temperature is most suitable.

B. Dunhuang

Dunhuang enjoys a long and cold winter, and a short and hot summer with little rains but strong winds. The autumn ( September to November ) and spring ( March to May ) fall during the peak travel season, as the weather is neither too cold nor hot. They are the best season to visit the attractions: Mogao Grottoes, Echoing-Sand Dune, Crescent Lake...

January is the coldest month of a year, and the lowest is -15℃. July is the hottest month of a year, and the highest reaches nearly 33℃ during the daytime and the lowest is 14℃ in night.

Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes

3. Weather in Xinjiang ( Urumqi, Turpan, Kashgar )

Generally speaking, Xinjiang has a semi-arid or desert climate with a low annual rainfall of only 150 millimeters. From May to October are usually the good seasons for your trip with April marking the beginning of the warm season. Especially, September is the golden time for delicious melons fruits and vegetables, as well as some festivals there.

A. Urumqi

Due to its geographical location and continental climate, the Urumqi area is extremely dry. Spring and autumn are short while winter and summer are long.

Spring in Urumqi comes in late March and lasts May. Summer ( June to mid August ) is the blossom season of Urumqi and lasts for about 90 days. The average temperature is about 23℃. Autumn ( comes from late August ) is a golden season of fruit harvests. The temperature of the long winter here is around -15℃, but the scenery makes up for the cold.

The best time to visit Urumqi is from May to October when flowers are in full bloom and the melons and fruits smell sweet and are ripe for picking.

Urumqi Heavenly Lake

B. Turpan

Turpan weather is well-known for its high temperatures and dry climate. It was nicknamed as “the Oven”.

In spring ( March to April ), the changeable weather condition, strong winds and arid days make it a poor time to travel. Its summer ( April to August ) is long and hot. Especially, June, July and August are the hottest months with an average temperature above 38℃. Winter is cold and dry.

The best time for visiting is between July and August when the fruits are ripe and the Grape Festival is the other thing to attract you.

Turpan Grape

C. Kashgar

Kashgar has relatively longer summer and shorter winter. The coldest season is January with an average temperature of -6℃ and the average temperature for the hottest July is about 27℃.

The months from April to October are a pleasant time to visit. Especially in August and September, the most comfortable weather condition and ripe fruits, and the most popular local festivals ( Corban Festivals and Lesser Bairam ) attract many foreign visitors.

4. Silk Road Travel Tips

When you travel on the Silk Road, you should take long pants, long sleeved shirt, a hat, sunglasses, sunblocking cream, sports shoes and more necessaries with you.

Read more Silk Road Travel Tips.

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