Top China Winter Destinations
Many foreign tourists have begun to discover what a multitude of Chinese tourists have long been aware of: that the vast continental expanse of China can dish up a host of interesting wintertime travel destinations, ranging from "haute culture" tours to ski holidays tours to ice-and-snow sculpted urban landscape tours to mystical mountain landscape tours (think: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) to leisurely hot springs tours to outright luxurious South Sea island getaways. In the following, we have highlighted a range of winter holiday destinations in China that we hope is broad enough to satisfy the desires of most wintertime tourists, whether you are thinking of a traditional wintertime destination or its opposite: a warm, subtropical, summertime destination.
Why wait, your next traditional – or highly nontraditional – Chinese winter holiday is only a click away!
Hainan, a mountainous island across the Gulf of Tonkin from Vietnam, has a warm climate, sandy beaches, pure, deep blue bathing waters and invigoratingly fresh air. The two main cities are the capital, Haikou, on the northern coast, and beach-bespeckled Sanya on the southern coast. Hainan is rapidly becoming a getaway for well-heeled Chinese and foreign tourists, and the government's plans to build Monaco style casinos here will only accelerate the upscale atmosphere that is spreading across the island. There are still many places for backpackers on Hainan, but hurry if this is your scene, for they are quickly ceding ground to a more jet-set style.
Sanya Beach Holidays Package A
Features: One of the best places for a winter escape is Sanya Yalong Bay National Resort! Renowned as the "Oriental Hawaii", it has the most beautiful beaches in southern China.
Duration: 5 days
Price: USD 699
Sanya Beach Holidays Package B
Features: With spectacular tropical sceneries and deluxe International Brand hotels, Hainan is a charming island for beach vacation. The essence of the attractions packed in this tour will top your vacation off.
Duration: 6 days
Price: USD 774
You will probably not visit China just to ski, unless Yabuli Ski Resort in Heilongjiang is your destination. Most Chinese ski resorts are designed to appeal to beginners. The good news is that because the Chinese are taking to the slopes like ducks to water, they will soon begin to demand better, and once the demand appears, supply will hastily follow. For now, China's slopes are clogged with insanely happy Chinese novices on weekends, but if you also happen to be a novice and would like to rub shoulders with ditto Chinese, then, by all means, head for the slopes, for the Chinese enjoy themselves royally when on skis!
Harbin Sites & Train Experience to Yabuli Ski Resort
Features: See the snow art museum and gorgeous snow and ice sculptures in the ice capital of China - Harbin. A short break in Yabuli with travel by Train is a cheap and convenient way to some of China's best skiing.
Duration: 6 days
Price: USD 548
Ice Wonderland Experience & Short Ski Tour around Harbin
Features: Experience the unique event - "Harbin Ice and Snow World" and see the marvelous snow sculptures. A short ski tour to the best ski resort around Harbin – Jihua Ski Resort will top up your trip.
Duration: 4 days
Price: USD 581
Ski Break to Yabuli Ski Resort
Features: China's Ski culture is developing quickly as are it's resorts. Yabuli is making its name among the worlds ski fields. This is the place to be for awesome ski packages, holidays and getaways.
Duration: 4 days
Price: USD 545
Harbin Sites & Yabuli Ski Adventure
Features: Yabuli is making its name among the worlds ski fields. Try your skill on its slopes as well as seeing Harbin's many delights.
Duration: 6 days
Price: USD 786
This unique festival is sometimes referred to by its parts: an Ice Lantern Festival and an Ice and Snow World Exhibition. It officially begins around January 5th and lasts for a month, but can begin earlier and run longer, weather permitting. The 27th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival will be held during the period from January 5, 2011 to February 17, 2011. The venues of the festival (including Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Sun Island, Ice and Snow World and Ice-lantern Exhibition in Zhaolin Garden.) are open to public from December 20, 2010. It features "sculpted" ice in the shape of castles and animals, etc., fashioned of ice blocks by ice sculptors from the four corners of the earth who flock to Harbin each year for this unique event. The themes change yearly. This impressive, walk-through "city" of ice and snow is lit up at night, transforming it into a multicolored fairyland.
Harbin's Ice Wonderland Tour
Features: Harbin, the ice capital of China - presents "Harbin Ice and Snow World". During this seven week festival Harbin becomes the stage to present some of the most spectacular ice carving anywhere in the world.
Duration: 3 days
Price: USD 361
Harbin's Ice Wonderland Explore
Features: Harbin is famous for being an Ice Wonderland but it much more. Combine the magic of the winter spectacular with the may other attractions that Harbin has to offer.
Duration: 4 days
Price: USD 522
Two mountains with towering snowscapes, one sacred to Buddhism, the other to Taoism, both mist-enshrouded, UNESCO Heritage Sites, will transport you to the origin of Chinese mysticism. Yellow Mountain, Anhui Province, is as quintessentially Chinese as it gets, with ancient, craggy pines, hot springs and mists so thick that the locals liken them to a sea of clouds. Scenes from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were filmed in the valley below.Mt. Emei, Sichuan Province, one of China's Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains and a revered Taoist site as well, has a primordial massiveness to it that conjures up dinosaurs. It too is blanketed in eerie mists, but of the more wispy, fleeting type that change with the blink of an eye.
Hainan Island, highlighted separately, is of course a prime coastal winter getaway. So is the Macau-Guangzhou-Hong Kong area some 500 km farther up the coast, which has an attractions density par excellence, including countless historical sites that go back to China's colonial period. Farther afield is Yunnan Province, whose subtropical climate is warm year-round, yet whose northwest corner offers Jade Dragon Snow Mountain – with China's highest-altitude ski resort – and Haba Snow Mountain, between which lies one of the earth's deepest gorges, Tiger Leaping Gorge. To the south is Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve teeming with monkeys, leopards, tigers, Asian elephants, wild oxen, giant lizards and boa constrictors, while the northeast is characterized by old, eroded mountains leaving so-called stone forests.
Beijing – A showcase of Han Chinese culture, including the Beijing Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, numerous Siheyuan courtyards, countless temples, museums, and other ancient sites as well as more modern tourist attractions such as the Beijing Zoo and the 2008 Olympic Games 'Bird's Nest', Beijing speaks for itself.
Hong Kong – Temperature averages 16°C (61°F) in Hong Kong during the period of Chinese New Year, one of the most important events in Hong Kong. The celebrations have some differences from what people in Mainland China do. The most popular activities are the magnificent fireworks display at Victoria Harbor, the Chinese New Year Parade, strolling in night-long flower markets, New Year horse racing, shopping and New Year prayers.
Guizhou Province – Guizhou's southeastern corner, Qiandongnan, is home to no less than 38 ethnic minority groups, with the Miao (41%) and the Dong (31%) dominating. Qiandongnan ("Southeast" Qian, the latter an older name for Guizhou) is a UNESCO recognized geographical patchwork of thriving ethnic minority communities that exhibit unique architectural styles and time-honored folk customs against a background of pristine, sustainable ecology.
Tibet – Tibetan New year, known as Losar, is the most important festival in the Tibetan calendar. The upcoming 2011 Tibetan New Year takes place on 5th, March. The Losar festival is celebrated by Tibetan peoples, and is marked by ancient ceremonies that represent the struggle between good and evil, by chanting, and by the passing of torches through the crowds.
A geographically representative selection of first-rate, naturally-occuring hot springs near popular destinations:
Jiuhua Hot Springs – Beijing, formerly the exclusive domain of emperors, rich in therapeutic minerals.
Zhongshan Hot Springs – Zhongshan, Guangdong Province, favorite spa of Deng Xiaoping, also rich in therapeutic minerals.
Hailuo Valley Hot Springs – Hailuo Glacier Forest, Mt. Gongga, Sichuan Province, near Chengdu. Bathe in therapeutic hot waters while falling snow melts around you. Mt. Gongga is a trekker's paradise; Chengdu, a panda's paradise.
Zhongshan Hot Spring – Zhongshan, Guangdong. Decorated with evergreen trees and colorful flowers, the villas, gardens, corridors there will remind you the Royal gardens’ magnificence. The well designed buildings and the nature beauty of Luo Sanmei Mountain form a harmonious picture.
Nantian Hot Spring – Sanya, Hainan Island. Nantian Hot Spring has the desirable medical value concentration standard and is a luorosilicic remedy hot mineral water field. The dancing coconut trees, the villas among the green and fresh trees, the measureless oxygen and the clean and blue sky, all of them form a heaven on the earth, which will take you into a fairytale dream and make you enjoy yourself at the most.
Jinping Mengla Hot Springs – South-central Yunnan Province, not far from Kunming, the basins are lined with small, smooth, colorful stones that you can wriggle against for a unique massage. Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve (think: wild elephants) is only a 3-hour flight from Kunming.