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Planning a stylish packing list for China in Spring is much easier than you’d expect. With the weather in March, April and May hitting the right balance between not too hot, and not too cold, its a comfortable time to visit China.
I had the pleasure of experiencing two Springs in China not so long ago, and it’s amazing how the cities come alive with color. Cherry blossoms, plum blossoms and a wide array of flowers freshen up drab grey cities with bursts of color.
Depending on which end off Spring you visit, and where you visit, you may still want to pack a jacket, or ditch it entirely. It depends on the year, and what type of temperatures you’re used to, but it can still be cold in March, and start to get hot in May.
This packing list for China in Spring is best suited for a 2 week holiday. If you’re going for longer you can pack a few more items, or take advantage of the fact that most hotels will offer a laundry service.
If you’re looking to psych yourself up for your trip, see all the Chinese related stuff you can purchase on Amazon (visit here).
What you’ll learn:
- What to wear in China in Spring
- A brief weather overview
- Safety and health advice for your trip
- Hotel and day tour ideas
When to Visit China: Weather and Seasons
I’ve made a China packing list for each season, which you can find below. China is a massive country and the different seasons do have stark differences in temperature.
Seasons in China
- What to pack for Spring in China: As I mentioned above, Spring is probably my favorite time of the year to be in China. I can’t think of a single attraction that doesn’t look good in Spring. The weather is moderate pretty much all around the color, and this is the best time to visit if you want more colors in your happy snaps.
- What to pack for Summer in China: If you can avoid it, it’s best not to visit China in summer. It gets unjustifiably hot (and that’s coming from an Australian) and you’ll spend a lot of your time outdoors with sweat rolling off of you. If you must visit during this time try the North, or far West / Tibetan plains. Visit the packing list here.
- What to pack for Fall in China: Fall is also a good time to visit China, with lower temperatures, but not enough to make you freeze. Bring a warmer jacket if you’re near the Winter side of the season. See the fall in China packing list here.
- What to pack for Winter in China: Winter isn’t necessarily a bad time to visit China, but it can get pretty cold. Make sure to bring atleast one warm jacket and pair of boots. Read the packing list here.
What to Wear in China in Spring
- Underwear x 4
- Bras x 5-6
- Cardigan x 1-2
- Jacket x 1: A light jacket will do unless if you’re visiting up North near the end of Spring (bring a warmer jacket then). If you’re travelling the South, you should be fine with just the cardigans.
- Gloves x 1
- Shoes x 2: One enclosed, and one pair of sandals.
- Socks x 2-4
- Tops x 4: China fashion is similar to the west in some ways, but try to avoid baring your shoulders, especially if going to smaller cities. Pick something colorful, it is Spring after all.
- Dresses x 3-4: This is the perfect time for maxi, or short flowy dresses. Here are some really cute options: floral halter & polka dot tunic
- Shorts / skirts x 3-4
- Pants x 1: Make sure you have one pair of pants in case it gets cold. If you’re visiting mid – north China take 2 in lieu of one of the shorter bottoms above.
- Leggings x 1: This pair even has pockets so it’d be a great place to hide any valuables while you’re out.
What to Pack for Spring in China: Other Items
- Camera + 2 batteries + charger. I’d recommend the Sony a6500 + 19mm f2.8
- Phone and charger
- Portable battery charger: handy if you ever run out of battery while going from one city to the next
- 2 or 3 memory cards (4-16gb). Never keep all of your photos on one memory card in case it breaks or gets lost. I recommend these.
- Plug adapter – see prices.
- Medical kit:
- Pack some western medicine such as ibuprofen, toms and re-hydration sachets.
- Make up and toiletries:
- Your normal makeup
- Toothbrush and toothpaste, although if you forget these are given in practically every hotel in China.
- TSA approved make up bag: see details here.
- Everything Else:
- Photocopies of important documents such as your passport; keep it in a different spot to the original. Leave one copy at home as well with a friend or family member.
- Atleast 2 bank cards with different banks or types. One MasterCard and one Visa is always a good idea to reduce chances of anything going wrong.
- Backpack: Beware of carry on limits for your airline when picking a backpack if you’re hoping to avoid baggage fees. I like how nondescript (aka not as attractive to thieves) this Osprey 46L is. If traveling with checked baggage I like this 65L, which is size I travel with.
- Suitcase: Beware not to take one that’s too big as you’ll be lugging this up and down flights of stairs. This one is the perfect size, but you can see more choices here.
Don’t Forget to Pack Travel Insurance | China Spring Packing List
I personally use World Nomads for my travels so that’s the company I recommend. Here’s why I love them:
- Claims process is relatively easy ( I’ve had 2 claims, and been approved for both)
- Easy to read terms and conditions – Insurance is one of those times where you really do need to read the terms and conditions to see what you’re covered for.
- You can purchase covered from overseas (most insurance companies wont let yo sign up unless you’re in your home country).
- Well known brand.
To get a quote for China, check out their price estimator here (click here)
Packing List for China in Spring: Safety and Health
- Spring is all about flowers in China, so if you suffer from hayfever, come prepared!
- Be careful when out and about. Road safety standards are not the same as in the west. Keep an eye at for cars and motorbikes when crossing roads and driveways, don’t expect others to be paying attention to where your walking.
- In China, especially in smaller cities, it’s common for taxi drivers to pick up more than one passenger at a time. If you don’t feel safe with this say no and wave your hands if your driver pulls over to let someone in.
- You’ll find getting around much easier by if you have the address of your destination written in Chinese characters (symbols), not pinyin (English looking words). Your hotel receptionist can write these down for you.
- If the pollution gets bad, pop into a nearby chemist for a PM2.5 mask (they’re pretty cheap). You can cross the language barrier by saying PM2.5, motioning a mask on your face, or showing a picture.
Popular Day Tours in China (Spring)
Here are a few of my favorite things to do in China in Spring. Beyond tours there are a lot of parks that are blooming with colorful flowers during this time, it is cherry blossom season after all!
China is one of the hardest places to travel independently. It can be hard to understand how to get to lessor known spots due to lack of information online, and the language barrier. I’ve sussed out a few day tours to give you ideas on what to see and do in the major tourist cities.
- Suzhou and Zhouzhang water towns day tour: The watertowns in China are quite beautiful ad these are two that are closest to Shanghai. Find more information by clicking here.
- The city lights in Shanghai are pretty epic as the city looks futuristic at night, find out more information about the night lights tour (which includes a cruise on the Bund) by visiting this site.
- If it seems too overwhelming to master the Shanghai subway you can instead do a full day tour of the cities best sights. Click here to see the latest prices.
- This tour goes to all of the main tourist sites go including Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. See the prices here. You’ll have to see the Great Wall on a different day though as that will take up an entire day in itself (see below).
- Great Wall of China. Needs a day in itself. For a stress free trip hop on a tour to visit any of the three main sections: Jinshanling (prices here), Badaling (prices here) and Mutianyu (prices here). My favorite section is Jinshanling.
- This tour looks epic, I wish I had known about it when I was in Guilin. It’s a 3 day sunrise photography tour of Longsheng rice terraces and the Li river. See prices and more information here .
- Yangshuo cormorant fishing photo-op and Xingping ancient town tour. See more details and prices here.
- Yangshuo city tour and Li River raft ride: half day tour hitting the best sites of the area. For more information and prices click here.
If you prefer traveling independently check out Lonely Planets travel planning guide for China.
Where to Stay in China
- Budget: I loved staying at the Kaidehua International Hotel and found it to be great value for the price I paid. See the latest prices here.
- Midrange: The Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing is complete with its own hairdressers and restaurant. Find more information here.
- Luxury: The New World Beijing Hotel (see latest prices here) or the Wanda Vista Beijing (see the latest prices here) are my luxury picks for Beijing. Beijing has a wide range of luxury hotels but I think these two offer the best value for money.
- Budget: Phoenix Hostel Shanghai-LaoShan has good dorm rooms with a bit of style if you’re looking to meet other travelers. Find the latest prices here.
- Midrange: Campanile Hotel Shanghai Natural History Museum is close to the famous Nanjing shopping street and the Bund. There seem to be two branches of this hotel in the city so make sure you have the correct address copied for your taxi driver See more details here.
- Luxury: Andaz Xintiandi Shanghai has great cityscape views and a luxurious pool. Find more information about the hotel here.
- Budget: Dreams Travel International Youth Hotel is good if you’re looking for a dorm to meet other travelers. It’s close to the city sights so you wont have to struggle to see everything. Dorms begin at $7 a night, see the latest prices here.
- Midrange: The Grand Dorsett Chengdu offers breakfast and a sauna to sweat it out in. This hotel is good value for money – click here for the latest prices and pictures.
- Luxury: The Temple House (see the latest prices here) or Niccolo Chengdu (click here for more details) are great options if you have a bigger budget. The hotels both offer an indoor pool and the luxury experience.
All other cities:
- Visit the Hotels Combined website to see the prices of hotels in other cities: Click here to see the latest prices.
Want to see what China looks like in Spring?
Want to see more China travel videos? Visit my China travel playlist here.
Don’t forget to pin this packing list for your trip 🙂