Travel Tip: This Summer, Escape China’s “Three Furnaces”

Many parts of China can get quite hot in the summertime. But, did you know that there are three cities that are notorious for their heat?

Meet China’s “Three Furnaces” (三大火炉): Wuhan (capital of Hubei province), Nanjing (capital of Jiangsu Province), and Chongqing (a provincial municipality previously a part of Sichuan Province). Incredibly hot, humid and uncomfortable in the summertime, these cities are those from which local Chinese are sure to stay away when vacationing in warmer months of the year.

Given the reputation of these and a number of other Chinese cities in June, July and August, where can travelers beat the heat and experience China differently in the summer?


Travel Tip: This Summer, Escape China’s “Three Furnaces”

Dunhuang, in China’s northwestern Gansu province, is home to the Mogao Grottoes. Gansu is a pleasant summer destination for travelers to China.

AsiaTravel has three solutions for comfortable warm-weather travel:

Inner Mongolia – Hulunbeier: In Inner Mongolia, experience traditional Mongolian wrestling, archery, and horse racing at a Mongolian Naadam Festival (which literally means “games” in Classical Mongolian). Large cultural influence from Mongolia means that travelers can find Naadam festivals all over this northern Chinese region as well. For the Naadam event best suited to families and groups, visit Hulunbeier in July and August. This is a great way to experience the outdoors, traditional sport and game, and moderate summertime weather in China.

Yunnan – Dali, Lijiang & Zhongdian (Shangri-La): Three of Yunnan’s culturally- and historically-rich towns – Dali, Lijiang and Zhongdian – are generally quite pleasant in the summertime and offer a number of diverse sights to explore. There may be precipitation during this rainy season, but lower temperatures and amazing landscapes more than make up for this. Find more information and ideas by looking at our South of the Clouds itinerary. One word of caution: due to the summer rain, hiking in Yunnan’s Tiger Leaping Gorge at this time is dangerous. AsiaTravel strongly advises against doing so.

Gansu – Dunhuang and Xiahe: Home to a portion of the Silk Road, Gansu boasts dry summers whose temperatures peak in the mid-80s (Fahrenheit). Visit Dunhuang, the main traders’ stop in Gansu along the Road, for the Mogao Grottoes; and Xiahe for Labrang Monastery in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Our Marco Polo’s Silk Road: Across the Taklamakan journey has an optional post-trip extension to this area. (We recommend avoiding July and August for the entire trip, since temperatures in the arid desert of Turpan can reach 113°F [45 °C] during the day.)


Want more information on cooler summer destinations in China? Email Alex at 


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