China Weather in December

December is not a good time to travel in China in terms of weather conditions, as it is freezing in most of the country. In the North it is bone-chillingly cold and windy. The average temperature in Beijing is -1°C (30°F) and the lowest temperature can plummet to -12°C (10°F). The average temperature in Harbin in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province is -15°C (5°F) and the lowest temperature is around -50 (-58°F). Ski resorts in Beijing and the rest of North China begin to open to tourists from December.

Central China and regions south of the Yangtze River also experience freezing weather. The weather in these regions can feel colder than in the north due to its dampness. South China is milder, but it is not really warm (apart from Hainan). Take Guilin for example: it is often nose-numbingly cold and windy, but it is also possible to sit outside in warm clothes and get sunburnt on a bright and still winter day. The lowest temperature on average is around -1°C (30°F). Winter in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Hainan Island is comfortable. Yunnan in Southwest China also has mild winter weather.

It is dry on most days in North China. Indeed December is a dry month throughout China. In early December you may be able to see the last of the year's fall foliage.

Average December Weather in Major Chinese Cities


Beijing Shanghai Guilin Guangzhou Hong Kong Xi'an Hangzhou Kunming Chengdu
High (oC) 4 11 15 21 20 6 11 15 11
Low (oC) -6 3 7 12 16 -3 3 3 5
Rain (mm) 3 37 47 32 35 6 47 11 5
High (oF) 39 52 58 70 68 43 52 59 52
Low (oF) 21 37 44 54 61 27 37 37 41
Rain (in) 0 1 2 1 1 0 2 0 0

See China Weather

December Clothes

North China: It is bone-chillingly cold. A warm overcoat, such as a heavy, long, down coat, warm hat, scarf, gloves and snow boots are needed to keep warm.

Central China: A light down coat, sweater, boots, and wind-proof jacket are usually enough.

South China: South China generally does not have typical winter weather. Late autumn dress is fine for December travel, but you are still advised to bring warm clothes, in preparation for any cold weather, and for if you are stationary for long periods of time. In South China many buildings have no heating.

See December clothing suggestions for Beijing, Shanghai, Guilin, Hong Kong and Xian.

Why visit China in December?

  • December is the low travel season (except for Hainan Island), and is the quietest time of the year. Good hotel and flight discounts can be found.
  • The weather in Beijing especially, North China, and generally the rest of China is dry.
  • If you visit the Great Wall in December, you are very likely to view an awesome snowy scene of the wall and the mountains covered with snow. In addition, there are fewer tourists and you may have the wall to yourself.
  • Ski resorts in North China begin to accept tourists. See Top Ski Resorts in China

Disadvantages of Visiting China in December

  • It is cold in most of China.
  • On top of the Great Wall, it is freezing and windy.
  • From November to April, Tibet is not suitable for traveling because of the severe weather conditions.

Top December Destinations

Beijing

The dozens of ski resorts around Beijing begin to receive tourists in December. If you want to hit the slopes in this season, Beijing is a good option for you. See Ski Resorts Around Beijing

Harbin

Harbin is one of China's most famous winter destinations, because the sub-zero weather there has resulted in various winter activities. Ski resorts of various sizes and scales are scattered around the region. Yabuli Ski Resort, China's best ski resort is located near Harbin. See China's Top Ski Resorts

Hainan Island

Hainan Island is the best winter escape destination in China. It has a number of tropical beaches. For winter travelers, it is not unlike Hawaii in the US, which serves as a favorite tropical oasis to escape the cold winter.

Weather in December by City


See our China Winter Travel Guide

Hi, I'm Gavin Van Hinsbergh
I updated this article on February 10, 2014
See all my travel articles
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Questions and Answers About China Weather in December

cetayh 2013-12-08
Show Answer
hi . we will visit china on dec 15t to dec 25 , where we can find snow , the nearest plce to shanghai
 

Dear Cetayh,

It is hard to say if there will be snow during that time. According to last year’s data, it snow in Jan. and no snow in Dec. or cities near Shanghai. If you would like to enjoy the snow view, it is suggested that you can consider visitingHarbin.

Nancy

Nancy Deng replied on 2013-12-09
Mohd Farid 2013-02-19
Show Answer
Hi, To really witness a real snow fall, what is the best time to visit southern China?

Hi Mohd, in most part of southern China, it does not snow in winter. But in the cities like Changsha, Hangzhou, Shanghai, etc. it may snow during late Dec. to mid Jan. To witness a real snow, northern China is a better choice.

Whitney Liao replied on 2013-02-20
Subash Ramakrishnan 2012-11-19
Show Answer
Can any one suggest me a Economic hotel near by the Silk Market .we 3 of us are coming , would like to visit all tourism spots .

Hi Subash, in which city, please?

Whitney Liao replied on 2012-11-20
Viv 2012-11-12
Show Answer
Hi, I will be visiting China late Dec/early Jan for about 3 weeks. We will be travelling by train to the various towns/cities. Is there heating in the trains or thick blankets or should I bring a sleeping bag? We will be visiting a few places like Hangzhou, Pingyao, Xian and Beijing.Thanks.

Hi Viv, don't worry, there are heaters or thick blankets on the train, you don't have to bring sleeping bag.

Whitney Liao replied on 2012-11-13
seema patil 2012-11-05
Show Answer
Dear we will be in China (Chifeng, Xuzhou) in last week of November or first week of December. Kindly let me know the temperature in this places. What kind of clothes we should carry with us? Kindly advice

Hi Seema, It is cold at that time.. The maximum temperature is 10 °C (50 °F) and the minimum temperature is 1 °C (34 °F). It snows occasionally. You can prepare down jackets or fur coats to stay warm.

Whitney Liao replied on 2012-11-07
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