China Travel in January

China Travel in January will introduce the China weather in January, what to pack for China travel in January and best places to visit in January. January is the first month of a year and the beginning of a new year. However, entering January, it is already the real winter in China. It is very cold, especially in some places in the north China, the temperature can reach dozens of celsius degree below zero. So, where are the suitable places to travel in January in China, and what should you pay attention to?

China Weather in January

China is a vast country, so needless to say, the weather depends to a great extent on the area you visit. For example, unless you spend January in the south, such as on the beach in Hainan, or you need to bring winter jacket. But January is not all bad, in fact, it is also a good time to visit China. January is the coldest month in China. Except for southern China such as Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau and Hainan Island, most parts of China have reached the peak of severe winter weather. These places never get really cold, and they are comfortable winter shelters for people from northern regions.

In fact, a dry and cold weather in northern China allows you to go out and do something as long as you are fully dressed. In central China, the weather is a bit uncomfortable because it is wet and cold. So when you go to central China, you will definitely feel colder. But in the south, the situation is not too bad. Of course, the temperature in January in south China is lower than other times, but it is still very comfortable for walking and sightseeing.

China Weather in January By Region & What to Pack

China has a vast territory. The weather in different regions varies. 

North China in January

  • Representative Cities: Beijing, Xian, Harbin, Changchun, Jinan, Shenyang, Tianjin
  • Weather Feature: It is extremely cold in northern China in January. The average temperature in Beijing is -9-2°C, and -1.2-0℃ of Xian. Harbin is much colder than Beijing and Xian, with an average temperature of -25°C to -13°C. The dry weather in the north China provides a good climate for outdoor activities such as skiing, but remember to wear appropriate clothes to keep out the cold.
  • What to Pack: In order to stay warm, thick coat, gloves, a hat, thermal underwear, and winter shoes/boots are needed when travelling in north China. 

East China in January

  • Representative Cities: Shanghai, Huangshan, Nanjing, Hangzhou
  • Weather Feature: In January, windy and humid weather will make people stay indoors, and most tourists will go to other tourist destinations. Although January is the coldest month in China, the temperature in east China is not always below zero. Therefore, the weather is not so bad for tourists from northern Europe or North America. Take Shanghai for example, the average temperature range is 1-8℃, and there is usually about 6 days of rain/snow weather in January.
  • What to Pack: Sweater, warm coat and trousers are necessary to appear in your luggage. What’s more, sometime when a cold snap hits, it is necessary to wear a down jacket.

Central China in January

  • Representative Cities: Hefei, Wuhan, Changsha, Nanchang
  • Weather Feature: The weather in central China in January is bitterly cold. Snow falls several times a month, and there is often ice and snow on the ground, even in the area south of the Yangtze River. Due to high humidity, it may be colder than Beijing. Many buildings in central China do not have indoor heating systems, and some hotels and restaurants may have air conditioning.
  • What to Pack: Bring a overcoat and several layers of clothes to keep warm, as well as gloves, hats and warm shoes.

South China in January

  • Representative Cities: Guilin, Guangzhou, Sanya, Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen
  • Weather Feature: Although January is the coldest month in China, the southern region is still suitable for travel. Although it almost never freezes in Guilin, you will feel cold because of high humidity. The average temperature in Guilin is 6-10°C in January. As long as you dress warmly, you can enjoy cruising on river well. Pleasant and mild weather in Hong Kong in January makes your trip more relaxed and happier. The average temperature is 15-18°C, with little rainfall.
  • What to Pack: Long sleeves and pants, a thick coat, and a windproof jacket are suitable for the weather. 

West China in January

  • Representative Cities: Chengdu, Kunming, Lhasa, Chongqing
  • Weather Feature: January is not a good time to travel to Xinjiang, because it is too cold there, and the temperature is far below freezing point, with heavy snow and biting cold wind. The oxygen content in Lhasa is very low because of the cold weather. Due to the high altitude, it feels warm in sunny days. But some tourist attractions may be closed during the Tibetan New Year. Many cities in Yunnan Province benefit from pleasant winter weather and are suitable for traveling, but high altitude areas such as Shangri-La and Yulong Snow Mountain are cold. The average temperature in Kunming in January is about 2-15°C.
  • What to Pack: It is suggested to dress in layers when you are west China in January. Take your coat, down jacket, gloves, and a hat when travelling in Shangri-la and snow mountain areas.

China Weather and Climate in January by Cities

Best Places to Visit in January

In January, most parts of China are cold and dry. The main tourism theme this month is ice and snow. You can experience the winter scenery and ski resorts in northern China, such as Beijing, Harbin and Jilin. For those who like warm places, they can go to southern China such as Hainan or southwest China like Kunming, where the sunshine is still warm. Here, we carefully selected some of the most worthwhile places to visit in January, to help you plan a wonderful trip.


Harbin is one of the most worthwhile places in January in China. In January, standing on high and looking down, the whole city of Harbin is covered with snow and dressed in white. In snowy days, even if the weather is very cold, it cannot prevent people from having snowball fights and making snowmen. When you go to Harbin in January, in addition to watching the ice lanterns, you can also choose ice and snow events such as skiing, sledding and ice sliding. Skiing at Yabuli International Ski Resort is also a popular experience. In addition, in January, the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival will be held in Harbin, where you can enjoy all kinds of ice sculptures and snow sculpture, such as world-famous buildings, classic cartoon images and ice lanterns, which are illuminated by colorful lights and look like dreams. You should not miss the central street during the festival, which is decorated with colorful lights and various ice sculptures, just like a magical ice art gallery.


January is not the best time to visit Beijing due to cold weather and possible traffic pressure around the Spring Festival. But the special snow-covered scenery of Badaling Great Wall and Forbidden City is worth seeing. And if you are interested in skiing, Beijing is an ideal place. There are several ski resorts in Beijing, such as Nanshan ski resort. In addition, Chinese New Year is sometimes in late January. During this period, there will be many temple fairs and cultural activities in Beijing.

Read More: Beijing Festivals and Events


In January, although the temperature in the whole country is less than 10°C or even 0°C, there is still one place that is very warm, that is Sanya. If you don’t like the cold in the north, you can travel to Sanya in January. Even in winter, Sanya in Hainan is warm and pleasant due to its tropical location. Many people like to stay in Sanya for winter, not only because it is warm in winter, but also they can enjoy sunbathing on the beach, swimming and surfing and eating seafood dinner. It is a place quite suitable for a family to go on vacation or a honeymoon trip. Because of its climate and beautiful tropical scenery, Sanya is also named one of the best tourist destinations in January in China.

Huangshan/Yellow Mountain

If you are looking for charming mountain and snow scenery, Huangshan is an ideal destination. Huangshan is an ideal place to enjoy the charming snow scenery in January, so it is listed as one of the best tourist destinations in January in China. In addition, compared with other seasons, winter is more likely to encounter clouds and rime. The sunrise and sunset on the mountain are also breathtaking. This is a paradise for photography lovers. In order to keep out the cold, it is best to take a bath in the hot spring at the foot of the mountain. In winter, admission fee is reduced from 230 yuan to 150 yuan and cable car (one-way) fare from 80 yuan to 65 yuan. If dangerious, some peaks or paths may be closed.

Changbai Mountain

In January, Changbai Mountain became a fairy tale world. Snowflakes decorate the sky and the ground with holy white, waterfalls become glittering ice waterfalls, and trees become gorgeous. These landscapes are both beautiful and romantic. At this time, you can not only ski in the natural ski resort and enjoy the snow area of Changbai mountain, but also enjoy the magical winter Tianchi lake and the silver canyon of Changbai mountain. In January, there are a lot of scenic spots worth seeing in Changbai Mountain, like Tianchi Lake, Changbai Mountain Waterfall, Yalu River Grand Canyon, Changbai Mountain Grand Canyon, Changbai Mountain Underground Forest, Hot Spring Group, etc. All these are enough to make Changbai Mountain one of the best tourist destinations in January.

Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces

Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces, located in Kunming, is one of the five most beautiful terraces in China. It is recommended for its magnificent natural scenery and mild winter. The best time to visit rice terraces is from December to March, and January is the best month. The weather is stable in January, sunny in the daytime and foggy in the morning. The sea of clouds on the rice terraces is most likely to appear in January. January is irrigation time and tourists can see the sunny terraces. It forms a spectacular scene with sunshine and colorful clouds reflected on the terraces, which is amazing. Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces is therefore one of the photographers’ favorite places. You can also experience the unique Hani culture there. At the beginning of the 12th month of the lunar calendar, the local Hani people hold “long street banquets“- usually hundreds of meters long- to offer sacrifices to their dragon gods.

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Note: January 1 is not traditional Chinese festival, Chinese traditional New Year is on the first day of the first lunar month (usually in late January or early February).