Xining is surrounded by mountains and located in the east of Tibet plateau, with the average altitude of 2,275 meters, enjoying continental plateau semiarid climate, without intense heat of summer or severe cold in winter. The average temperature in January (the coldest month) is about -7℃ and the average temperature in summer ranges from 15℃ to 17℃.
It has agreeable climate, with the annual average temperature of about 6℃. The yearly highest temperature reaches 31℃ and the lowest temperature is -18℃. The annual precipitation amounts to 379 mm, mainly concentrating in summer and accounting for 70% of the total. Xining can be ranked as a natural summer resort thanks to its relatively cool summers with breeze blowing gently. However, as Xining is located in plateau area, the air is relatively thin and there is strong sunshine; thus, visitors should learn to prevent high altitude reaction and bring sun scream. Meanwhile, bringing thick clothes for there is large temperature difference between day and night.
Best Time to Travel
The best time to travel to Xining is from May to September, namely from summer to early autumn, when numerous tourists flock to Xining to avoid summer heat. Every year, in Kumbum Monastery of Xining, there are grand Dharma assemblies or exhibitions of Buddha on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, the sixth day of the sixth lunar month and the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. During Dharma assemblies, visitors can enjoy the artistic essence of Tibetan Buddhism.
The weather of the city of Xining in Qinghai Province is influenced by three primary factors: the general fact that the province lies deep within the continent, meaning that the weather pattern tends to be stable for long periods; and the more specific fact that Xining lies in a valley, walled in by mountains, which circumstance tends to protect the area from weather extremes: not too cold during the winter and not too hot during the summer. In fact, Xining tends to enjoy relatively cool summers, with a maximum of 24-25 degrees Celsius during the hottest months – July and August. A third primary factor influencing the weather in Xining – if not all of the province – is the fact that it lies on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, with the area around Xining lying on the eastern edge of this plateau.
While Lake Qinghai, some 100 kilometers to the west, lies in a lower-altitude depression, the mountains and the valley surrounding Xining lie on an uplifted part of the plateau (the entire Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is elevated compared to the region farther east of the plateau, though there is much local variation even on the plateau, due to the presence of mountains, valleys and depressions). What this all means for the area around Xining is that the high altitude results in a greater variation in the daytime-to-nighttime weather pattern than one sees in Xining's summertime-to-wintertime weather pattern. This is a general pattern common to all high plateaus. This in itself calls for appropriate clothing - such as layered clothing - since the weather drops dramatically in the evening, once the sun goes down.
Besides the greater daily than seasonal variation in the weather in the Xining area, the other salient weather features of the Xining area are: prodigious amounts of sunshine; and very little precipitation - in fact, only Tibet gets more hours of annual sunshine than Qinghai Province. Because of the many hours of sunshine and the high elevation of the plateau, the sun's ultraviolet radiation here requires an adequate sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses, and, if one is particularly sensitive to sunlight, appropriate headdress combined with long-sleeve but airy garments during daytime hours.
After August, the weather begins to cool gradually, with a somewhat dramatic drop in temperature near the end of October / the beginning of November, to an average daytime high of around 8 degrees Celsius . This negative trend continues through to January, Xining's coldest month, where the temperature drops to an average daytime high of 2 degrees Celsius. Thereafter the temperature begins to rise slowly, with average daytime highs during February and March that resemble the inverse of the months of November and December.
In general, the annual weather pattern of Xining is very symmetrical, with a hot (albeit, not too hot) period in the middle of the summer (as indicated, July and August) and a cold (albeit, not too cold) period in the dead of winter (December and January). The rest of the year's months represent the transition periods of spring and autumn. All in all, Xining enjoys a sunny, somewhat arid climate that exhibits four distinct seasons, and which is characterized by a dramatic daily swing in daytime-to-nightime temperatures.
1) Generally speaking, the period May-September is the best time to visit Xining and the surrounding area (Lake Qinghai is a 2-hour drive to the west, Ta'er Monastery is a half-hour's drive to the south, while an ancient archeological site, Laijia, lies on the banks of the Huangshui River near the present-day city of Haidong, only about a half-hour's drive east of Xining). In addition to the good weather, which makes sightseeing all the more pleasurable (but the warning about the daily swing in temperture cannot be overstressed!), the period in question also spans Xining's festival season, where visitors can enjoy the colorful pageantry and the exotic music and dance of the local Tibetan and Mongolian cultures.
2) Lake Qinghai is more than just the lake, it is also the many birds (think Bird Island) as well as the vast, undulating grasslands that surround the lake, on which graze goats, sheep and horses. The rape fields are in bloom here in late spring/ early summer, when they turn a deep but intensely bright yellow - a sight not to be missed!
The annual climate