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China in Winter
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Winter in China: Months, Weather, Temperature & Travel Tips

Winter in China can be exactly what you are looking for, including the world-class snow and ice landscape, breathtaking snow activities, leisure sunbath, cheerful festival atmosphere, profound culture, delicious food, and so on. Considering that there are comparatively fewer tourists and larger discounts in most tourist attractions compared to other seasons, traveling to China in the winter is a terrific option!

What is China's winter weather like? What to wear in this season? To help you have a better plan about your tour, here we will show you all the useful information about winter in China, including China Winter Months, Weather, Temperature & travel Tips!

China Winter Months, Winter Time in China

Similar to most countries in the world, winter in China usually refers to the three coldest months of a year, including December, January and February. And in those mountainous places with high elevation, like Changbaishan in Jilin, the winter season may last a relatively longer period of time from December to the following March or even from November to April.

China Winter Weather & Temperature

Winter in China is mostly colder and dryer than the rest seasons of a year. The winter temperature is getting lower from south to north China, caused by the winter monsoon. With per latitude rises, the temperature will reduce 1.5 ℃, and the gap can be up to 50 ℃, making the northern China has more colder days than southern China.

The northern China areas encounter cold weather firstly and the chilly cold feeling lasts much longer than southern areas. The daytime is much shorter and the night time is longer with a largely dramatic temperature change, especially when it’s sunny. Featuring much mountain areas, the southern China hasn’t the extremely changes between daytime and night, by blocking much of cold air influence. And thus the weather in the cities on the south part of China is much more pleasant. You can even get a feel of spring and even summer at some of the cities.

China Weather in December

December usually marks the start of winter in China. The temperature of the cities spreading China drops gradually, with a sharp change in the north and relatively moderate pace in the south.

For the northeast cities, almost the coldest places in China, the temperature usually falls below 0℃ and even -10℃ or -20℃. Harbin in December, for instance, enjoys a temperature range from -25℃(-13℉) to -9℃(15.8℉) at this period of time. Snow falls in this region from the end of the last month or the beginning of this month. The low temperature and snow and thus offer amazing snow and ice landscape for visitors to explore.

For the cities in North China and Northwest China, like Beijing and Xian, there usually come slight snowfalls from the start of this month. The temperature fluctuates around 0℃, with sometimes rise to 6°C (43°F) around and sometimes drop to -6°C (21°F) around.

While the northern part and central part of China are suffering the freezing winter cold in December, its cities on the south part, like Hong Kong, Macau and Sanya are still soaking in pleasant warm. Most of the cities on the south share a warm weather ranging in the 15°C (59°F). And in some most southwest cities like Xishuangbanna, you can even find bright summer-like sunshine almost every day.

Check more about China Weather in December >>

Adorable Panda in Chengdu in December Adorable Panda in Chengdu in December

China Temperature in December (Some popular China tourist cities/destinations for your reference)

Destinations Average High in December Average Low in December Days of Precipitation
Beijing 4°C / 39°F -6°C / 21°F 2
Xian 6°C / 43°F -3°C / 27°F 3
Shanghai 11°C / 52°F 2°C / 36°F 7
Harbin -9°C / 16°F -20°C / -4°F 7
Huangshan 4°C / 39 °F -3°C / 27°F 9
Chengdu 11°C / 52°F 5°C / 41°F 5
Lijiang 14°C / 54°F 0°C / 32°F 2
Guilin 15°C / 59°F 7°C / 45°F 9
Zhangjiajie 12°C / 54°F 4°C / 39°F 8
Hong Kong 15°C / 39°F 4°C / 59°F 4
Guangzhou 21°C / 52°F 11°C / 70°F 5
Xiamen 19°C/ 66 °F 12°C/ 53 °F 5

Best China December Tours:

>> 5 Days Kunming, Jianshui & Yuanyang Rice Terraces Tour

>> 6 Days Beijing & Harbin Stunning Winter Tour (by Flight)

>> 6 Days Hong Kong Guangzhou Macau Cultural Highlights Tour (Hong Kong / Guangzhou / Macau)

China Weather in January

January is the coldest month in China, with average temperature lower than 0℃ throughout two thirds of China. The heaviest snowfalls always happen in this month. Therefore, it is usually the best time to have fun with snow and ice in China and to admire the most fairytale white winter landscape.

It will be extremely cold in northern part of China. There are also cold winter winds. The temperature in Harbin in this region has a mean minimum temperature of about -23℃ (-9.4℉) in January. However, it never stops you from getting out for sightseeing as long as you are well bundled up.

The weather in the cities Beijing and Xian in the middle part of China is also chilly in January, but much warmer when compared with the northeast cities like Harbin and Mohe. The average temperature in Beijing in January is about -9℃ ~ 2℃ (16~36°F).

For cities in southern China, Guangzhou, Macau, Hong Kong and Sanya, for example, the weather gets cooler than the rest months, but it is still comfortable, because these places never really get cold around the year. Temperature in Guangzhou in January is mostly in about 14°C / 57°F.

Harbin in January Harbin in January

China Temperature in January (Some popular China tourist cities/destinations for your reference)

Destinations Average High in January Average Low in January Days of Precipitation
Beijing 2°C / 36°F -9°C / 16°F 2
Xian 5°C / 41°F -4°C / 25°F 4
Shanghai 8°C / 46°F 1°C / 34°F 11
Harbin -13°C / -11°F -24°C / 9°F 6
Huangshan 1°C / 34°F -6°C / 21°F 14
Chengdu 9°C / 48°F 3°C / 37°F 7
Lijiang 14°C / 57°F 0°C / 32°F 2
Guilin 12°C / 54°F 5°C / 41°F 3
Zhangjiajie 9°C / 48°F 2°C / 36°F 10
Hong Kong 19°C / 66°F 14°C / 57°F 4
Guangzhou 18°C / 64°F 10°C / 50°F 8
Xiamen 17°C / 63°F 10°C / 50°F 7

Check more about China Weather in January >>

Best China January Tours:

>> 3 Days Harbin Ice Festival Tour

>> 4 Days Huangshan Hongcun Winter Vacation with Hot Spring

>> 3 Days Mount Emei Winter Tour with Skiing and Hot Spring Experience

>> 5 Days Xiamen, Nanjing Tulou & Mount Wuyi Discovery Tour (Xiamen / Nanjing Tulou / Wuyi Mountain)

China Weather in February

February is normally considered as the last winter month in most of the cities in China. The temperature begins to climb up gradually at the end of this month, so it is usually slightly warmer than in January. However, for most of the time, including the last half of February, the weather in China is still damp and chilly.

With weather begins to warm up in February, snows and ice in northern China start to melt too. However, there are also occasional snowfalls in this month, especially in the cities like Beijing, Harbin, Jilin, etc. And while most of the snow in the city center areas disappeared at the end of the month, there are plenty of snows in the suburbs, like in the Great Wall near Beijing, Harbin Snow Village near Harbin, Xiling Snow Mountain near Chengdu, Wusong Island near Jilin, etc. In February, the mean temperature in Harbin, for your reference, is about -8℃ during the day, and about -20℃ at night.

Compared with the north, the weather in February in southern part of China is warm and rainy instead of chilly. There are lots of opportunities for you to enjoy sunbathe on the beach and also the street. Hong Kong in February is usually in 17°C (63°F) around.

Mutianyu Great Wall in February Mutianyu Great Wall in February

China Temperature in February (Some popular China tourist cities/destinations for your reference)

Destinations Average High in February Average Low in February Days of Precipitation
Beijing 5°C / 41°F -6°C / 21°F 2
Xian 8°C / 46°F -1°C / 30°F 4
Shanghai 8°C / 46°F 2°C / 36°F 7
Harbin -7°C/ 19°F -20°C / -4°F 6
Huangshan 2°C / 36°F -4°C / 25°F 15
Chengdu 11°C / 52°F 5°C / 41°F 9
Lijiang 15°C / 59°F 2°C / 36°F 4
Guilin 13°C / 55°F 7°C / 45°F 16
Zhangjiajie 11°C / 52°F 4°C / 39°F 13
Hong Kong 19°C / 66°F 14°C / 57°F 5
Guangzhou 19°C / 54°F 12°C / 66°F 11
Xiamen 17°C / 63°F 10°C / 50°F 12

Check more about China Weather in February >>

Best China February Tours:

>> 6 Days In-depth Harbin Tour with China Snow Town & Yabuli Skiing

>> 6 Days Classic Beijing Xian High-speed Train Tour (Most Valuable)

Winter temperature and weather in some popular China tourist cities/destinations for your reference:

Popular Tourist Cities/Destinations Average High in Winter Average Low in Winter
Beijing in Winter 5°C / 41°F -5°C/23°F
Xian in Winter 6°C / 43°F -3°C / 27°F
Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) in Winter 5 °C/41°F -5°C/23°F
Chengdu in Winter 10°C / 50°F 2°C / 36°F
Jiuzhaigou Valley in Winter 9°C / 48°F -1°C / 30°F
Zhangjiajie in Winter 12°C / 54°F 4°C / 39°F
Mount E'mei in Winter 0°C / 32°F -8°C / 18°F

Note: all the temperature info mentioned above is the result of the historical weather. There may be possible slight weather changes in the future.

What to Wear & Pack in Winter in China

Although winter is the coldest period of time in China in general, it doesn’t means all the cities in China share the same kind of cold or cool. It is freezing in its northeastern region, and cold in its middle part. However, it is warm in its south. Therefore, the clothing and packing suggestions vary according to where you go in the country. Normally, layers are essential for winter in China.

In places like Harbin, Jilin, Mohe in the northeast region, you are suggested to wear sweaters, long underwear, windproof or down jacket, anti-slip snow boot, warm hats, scarves, and all the other necessary thermal clothing.

And in North and Northwest China, such as in Beijing and Xian, long underwear, long pants, fleeces, down jacket and warm hat are also recommended.

If you are going to visit Chengdu and Shanghai which are slightly warmer, a heavy base layer, long jeans, sweaters plus a windproof jacket or down jacket are usually enough.

Southern China is warm, and the farther south you go, the less harsh the weather is in winter. In Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, some of the southernmost cities, long sleeves and pants, as well as a light jacket should suffice to keep you comfortable.

Dressing in Harbin in Winter Dressing in Harbin in Winter
Dressing in Beijing in Winter Dressing in Beijing in Winter
Dressing in Xian in Winter Dressing in Xian in Winter
Dressing in Harbin in Winter Dressing in Guangzhou in Winter
Dressing in Huangshan in Winter Dressing in Huangshan in Winter
Dressing in Kunming in Winter Dressing in Kunming in Winter

China Winter Tour Tips

1. Make sure to check the weather forecast and plan ahead for your China winter tour.

2. During Chinese New Year (or called Spring Festival), the grandest festival in China which often happen at the end of January or the early February, you will get the strongest festival atmosphere in China but also meet with busy crowds, which is the busiest thought the entire winter. The price of accommodation and flight may be raised at that time. Book flights, hotels, and tours in advance, and thus you may save a lot of money. This rule also fits other popular winter festivals like Harbin Snow & Ice Festival. Check all China Winter Events & Festivals if you are interested.

3. Although the north of China is much colder than the warm south, all the rooms there offers comfortable indoor heating.

4. Wear a pair of antiskid shoes in the places with snow because the road must be slippery.

5. Though the south is warm, it may be cold after night falls, so you are suggested to wear layers.

How to Plan a China Winter Tour

Before choosing the best places to go in Winter in China, you are required to ask yourself one question. What are you dreaming for the most in this month, the best snow scenery and festival atmosphere, the best natural beauty in warm or the best budget vacations to explore the classics? Choose your bests and then find the answers here!

If you prefer the best snow scenery and festival atmosphere, Harbin, of course, is your best choice. And about 3~6 days are recommended then. Looking for great snow landscapes in China? Huangshan, Jiuzhaigou, Mount Emei, Hailuogou, Zhangjiajie and Jilin are also good. 10 Best Cold Weather Winter Destinations in China >>

>> 3 Days Harbin Ice Festival Tour

>> 6 Days Beijing & Harbin Stunning Winter Tour

For the visitors looking for somewhere warm to have a taste of summer and spring in winter, you are suggested to visit Yunnan (Kunming, Lijiang, Yuanyang, Dali, etc.), Fujian (Xiamen, etc.), Great Bay Area (Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc.), Sanya or Guangxi (Guilin, Yangshuo, etc.). And then you will relax and bath in the sun of the south. Check more about Top 5 Warm Places to Visit in China >>

>> 5 Days Kunming, Jianshui & Yuanyang Rice Terraces Tour

>> 5 Days Xiamen, Nanjing Tulou & Mount Wuyi Discovery Tour (Xiamen / Nanjing Tulou / Wuyi Mountain)

>> 6 Days Hong Kong Guangzhou Macau Cultural Highlights Tour (Hong Kong / Guangzhou / Macau)

Interested in a budget tour to visit the classic destinations in China? Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guilin Chengdu are all fantastic choices! 4~14 days are needed to explore some of or all of them.

>> 8 Days Best of China Tour

Check more about How to Plan a Winter Trip to China >>

Fujian Tulou

Fujian Tulou

Kunming Stone Forest

Kunming Stone Forest

Travel China in Winter with China Discovery

Feel trouble about your China Winter Tour planning? Why not travel with us China Discovery and let our professional Travel Consultants help you? And then you will get a worry-free trip and focus all your energy to sock in the highlights during the tour! Our experienced travel expert will help arrange your accommodation and plan your trip sincerely. And our English-speaking tour guide will accompany you all the way, show you the best travelling route, share interesting stories and introduce all highlights to you. Our local experienced drivers will escort you to the attractions with comfortable car directly with speed and safety.

The tour can be tailor-made according to your group size, time, physical condition, plan, interest, budget and every special need. Please feel free to contact us if you need any help!

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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