Top 9 Winter Destinations in China

Written by Sally Guo Updated May. 19, 2021

Maybe you’ve never been aware of the vast continental expanse that China can dish up, from a host of interesting wintertime travel destinations, ranging from winter skiing resorts to outright luxurious South Sea island getaways. Your next Chinese winter holiday is only a click away!

When is Winter in China? - China Winter Temperature

Winter in China characteristics large differences in temperatures between the north and the south, usually starting from November to February. Due to the reason of geographical distribution. Northern China in winter is long and cold, lasting from late November, all the way through March.

January is the coldest month of winter in China, and the further north the temperature is lower. Among them, Mohe Heilongjiang recorded the lowest temperature in China minus 49.7 degrees Celsius (-57.46 degrees Fahrenheit). While in southern China, crossing the line of the Nanling mountain range, the temperature is above 0℃, as the coastal city of Sanya, Hainan is above 20℃.

Winter is suitable for skiing, celebrating ice and snow winter festivals, or kicking back on the beach to enjoy the sunshine. Here comes the top 9 places recommended to travel in winter China including ice and snow winter cities and warm places to escape winter cold.

1. Yabuli Ski Resort - The Biggest Ski Resort in China

Yabuli Ski Resort is the largest ski resort in China offering facilities for skiing, snowboarding, and ski jumping.

The whole resort is composed of the New Sports Committee Ski Resort, Sunshine Village Ski Resort (Windmill Lodge Ski Resort), Yawangsi Ski Resort, Yunding Ski Resort, Daqing Mountain Ski Resort, Qingyun Mountain Resort Ski Resort, Traffic Mountain Resort, Communication Mountain Resort, and Electric Power Mountain Resort, of which the New Sports Committee Ski Resort is the biggest resort and most popular among skiers.

The Sunshine Ski Resort is the second largest and most top-rated hotel located there including the Club Med Yabuli. If you are a beginner, Yawangsi Ski Resort is your choice, and it offers gentle slopes and easy ski runs for newcomers.

Yabuli offers up to 47 ski runs for beginners, intermediates, and experts, with a total length of 32 km and the largest vertical drop of 540 m. Visitors can experience the longest alpine ski runs in Asia for speedy skiing down a steep slope.

2. Harbin – International Ice and Snow Festival

Travelers who want to visit Harbin in winter can enjoy a sculpture feast during the International Ice and Snow Festival. The festival is usually held in Ice and Snow World from January 5th to the end of February every winter, attracting a lot of ice sculpture lovers who come here from home and abroad to take part in the sculpture-making activities.

During the event, Ice and Snow World will be full of impressive large-size ice sculptures, which are shaped into animals, castles, buildings, and themed gardens. In the evening, the sculptures lits up with colorful lights, which will be extremely amazing and glorious. It’s chilly and cold, but still worth a visit.

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3. Jilin Ski Resorts - Skiing Paradise, Snow Towns

There are 46 ski resorts in Jilin Province, with a total of 347 ski runs and a length of 298 kilometers, counted as occupying the largest ski area in China! Here we recommended three best-value skiing resorts in Jilin: 1. Beidahu Ski Resort; 2. Wanda Changbaishan Ski Resort; 3. Songhua Lake Ski Resort

Beidahu Ski Resort

Good facilities and over 150 days of snow in winter. There are 5 star-rating hotels including Club Med in Beidahu.

Wanda Changbaishan International Resort

The entire ski resort is located at foot of Tianchi Scenic Spot which covers an area of 7 square kilometers.

Songhua Lake Ski Resort

Songhua Lake Ski Resort is the closest ski resort to Jilin city and only 15 km from the city center.

4. Beijing – Celebrating Chinese New Year with Hutong People

Beijing people celebrate Chinese New Year in different ways from those in Hong Kong. They usually stay at home to paste paper cut-outs and make dumplings on New Year’s Eve. Then they offer incense and do some prayers at temple fairs on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month. For the rest of the holiday, they go skating on a frozen lake or go skiing at Nanshan Ski Resort with their children.

Listed by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 places in the Asia Pacific to visit in 2019, Beijing is blessed with thousands of years and varieties of tourist treasures. Visitors can join in New Year’s Eve celebration with a hutong family or enjoy the snow-covered Forbidden City and the Great Wall with fewer (or sometimes no) tourist crowds in winter.

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5. Yunnan – Tropical Rain Forest and Top Rice Terrace

Yunnan Province in southwestern China is a great place to escape from chilly winter. It has various landscapes from tropical rainforests to snow-capped peaks. According to the different tourist resources, Yunnan can be divided into four areas:

Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve is teeming with monkeys, leopards, tigers, Asian elephants, wild oxen, giant lizards, and boa constrictors, while Hani Rice Terrace in Yuanyang, regarded as the top of the top rice terraces in China, will offer excellent scenery for winter travel.

6. Yellow Mountain – Snow-Capped Mountains with No Crowds

The Yellow Mountain, or Mt. Huangshan, is a popular destination all year-round- views change depending on the season. In winter, it changes into a picture of sliver peaks embraced by frost, ice, and rime on trees with floating snowflakes- classic winter beauty. More importantly, it is a great opportunity to avoid tourist crowds- winter is the least-visited season on the Yellow Mountain. Don’t forget your winter hiking gear.

7. Hainan Island – Get Rid of Winter Chill

Hainan Island, located in the far south of China, is widely loved by travelers who want to escape freezing winter. Golden beaches, pretty sunshine, wonderful island landscapes, and warm weather make Hainan one of the most popular winter destinations in China.

Haikou on the northern coast and Sanya on the southern coast are the main cities to visit. Travelers can go swimming or take part in some other water activities in winter there. Yalong Bay, Wuzhizhou Island, and Tianya Haijiao ("the Remotest Corners of the Globe", a must for couples) are always on the must-visit list for every traveler in Hainan.

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8. Chengdu, Sichuan - Hometown of Pandas, Pungency, and Spiciness

There are many interesting places to visit in Chengdu in winter. You can enjoy the ancient Shu culture at the Jinsha Ruins and see the world's largest Buddha at Leshan, and the largest skiing resort in Southwest China situate in Xiling Snow Mountain, Chengdu.

Chengdu Panda Base is open all year round and you can see pandas anytime. The pandas are not afraid of the cold, and they are still active in the winter.

It rarely snows in Chengdu city, however, you can enjoy snowy around Chengdu in Emei Mountain, Jiuzhaigou, Huanglong, western Sichuan Taocheng, and Yading.

9. Guilin - Lush Green of Li River

Winter (December-February) is the low season of tourism in Guilin, but compared to China’s northern cities, Guilin is still full of greenery, best things to do in winter take a trip to Longsheng to soak in the natural hot springs, enjoy the peaceful monument when cruising down to Li River.

If you visit Guilin in winter, the caves are another must-see besides the hot springs. Due to the reason that rock is slow to transmit heat, the caves stay at a constant temperature that featured warm in winter and cool in summer, the Reed Flute Cave, Crown Cave in the east of the city, and Silver Cave in Lipu Town are the most magnificent, one of them should be listed on your bucket list.

Pay Attention to Spring Rush

The Spring Festival Travel Season, or Spring Rush, also referred to as “chūn yùn” 春运 in Chinese, is a period of busy travel around the Chinese New Year with extremely heavy traffic. The period usually begins 15 days before Lunar New Year’s Day and lasts a total of 40 days, during which flights are often expensive and the bullet train tickets can be difficult to buy.

Experience China in Winter with Us

Winter is off-season in China: no tourist crowds, many available hotels, and cheaper tickets for some attractions. As for the weather, go north if you love winter beauty and go south if you prefer a warm and mild climate. What if you want to experience both winter and summer in China? Travel around the country! Maybe you can get some tour ideas from our sample itineraries:

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