In Guangdong, a Chinese province overlooking the South China Sea coast, the climate is subtropical, with mild winters, and hot and muggy summers, very abundant rains from April to June, little sunshine especially in spring, and possible typhoons in the warm season.
In the north, in cities like Lianzhou and Shaoguan, winter is not so mild, at least considering the latitude: the average January temperature is around 9 °C (48 °F). Sometimes it can even snow. In summer, especially in July and August, the combination of humidity and temperature makes the heat definitely annoying. Here are the average temperatures of Shaoguan.
Shaoguan - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)791218222426252318138
Max (°C)151619252932343432282318
Min (°F)454854647275797773645546
Max (°F)596166778490939390827364

In Shaoguan, 1,600 mm (63 in) of rain fall per year; the wettest period is from April to June; July and August are still quite rainy, while the least rainy season goes from autumn to the beginning of winter. Here is the average rainfall.
Shaoguan - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)701051802202502501601301004550401600
Prec.(in)2.84.17.18.79.89.86.35.13.91.821.663
Days111519191917141510877160

The amount of sunshine in Shaoguan is not very good, and it is poor from January to June, while it is decent in July and August, but nothing more. Here are the average sunshine hours.
Shaoguan - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours322345776555

In the center-south of Guangdong the winter climate is very mild, while in the rest of the year the temperatures are similar, actually in the summer they are slightly lower because of the influence of the sea.
In the southern part, on the coast, we find the Pearl River Delta: it is one of the most populated metropolitan areas of the planet, and includes, in addition to the two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, cities like Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou (or Canton), Shenzhen, Zhongshan, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Zhuhai, and Zhaoqing.
Here are the average temperatures of Foshan, a metropolis located a short distance from Canton.
Foshan - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)111215202325262625211611
Max (°C)181821252932333332292420
Min (°F)525459687377797977706152
Max (°F)646470778490919190847568

Precipitation amounts to 1.675 mm (66 inches); as you can see, the trend is similar to that of Shaoguan and the north.
Foshan - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)4565901652452752302301957035301675
Prec.(in)1.82.63.56.59.610.89.19.17.72.81.41.265.9
Days91115161819161713877156

In the center-south too, the sun does not shine very often, and in particular it is rarely seen little from February to April, as we can see in the following table.
Foshan - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours432235766665

The other cities of the Guangdong coast (Zhanjiang, Yangjiang, Shanwei, Shantou, Chaozhou) and the Chuanshan Archipelago have a climate similar to that of the Pearl River Delta.
The South China Sea, on the coast of Guangdong (we are at the Tropic of Cancer), is never cold, even though it becomes a little cool from December to March, while it is definitely warm in summer.
Shantou - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)212022242628292828262421
Temp (°F)706872757982848282797570

Nanling National Forest Park

In the inland areas of Guangdong we find hills and mountains. Among the peaks, in the south-west we find Datian Ding, 1,704 metres (5,590 feet) high, while in the north, in the Nanling National Forest Park, we find Shikengkong, the highest mountain in Guangdong, 1,902 metres (6,240 feet) high. It is a very humid area, covered by forests, and with streams that give life to waterfalls.

Typhoons


As mentioned, Guangdong can be hit by typhoons, the tropical cyclones of Southeast Asia. Typically, typhoons occur in this area from June to early November, but sometimes they affected the area outside of this period, as happened in April 2008 and in May 2006. The area most at risk is the coastal one, since it can receive the strongest winds as well as storm surges.

When to go


It is not easy to find the best period to visit Guangdong. Winter can be a good time, at least in the south and along the coast, although in the second part the sky is often cloudy, it can also be windy, and sometimes, especially in the north, it can get cold. Spring is pleasantly warm, but also cloudy, and when the sun gets a little more frequent, thunderstorms also begin, then by May the air becomes sultry and there is the risk (though still low) of typhoons. In theory, autumn is the best season, but typhoons are still possible in October, while in November there may be windy days, and sometimes at the end of the month it can already be a bit cold. All in all, the best periods are from mid-March to mid-April, and from mid-October to late November.

What to pack


In winter: spring/autumn clothes, a sweatshirt or sweater, a jacket, a raincoat or umbrella, a hat for colder days. In the north, a jacket and sweater. For the mountainous areas: warm clothes, a down jacket, a hat, gloves, a scarf.
In summer: tropics-friendly, lightweight clothing, a light sweatshirt for air-conditioned places, a light raincoat or umbrella. For the mountains, a sweatshirt and a light jacket.