China Weather in January

January is the coldest month in China. Large parts of China are at the peak of severe winter weather, except locations in South China such as Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, and Shenzhen, which do not have real winter weather.

Snow falls frequently in North China, e.g. in Harbin, Beijing, Tianjin, and usually accumulates to the thickest by the end of the month. There is still not a lot of snow as North China is dry.

Although temperatures are higher than in North China, winter in Central China and the Yangtze River Delta is bone-chilling, and feels even colder because of the humidity.

South China and Yunnan Province generally have pleasant winter with plentiful sunshine, but high altitude areas in northern Yunnan Province are frigid.

Check out The Best 6 Places to Visit in January.

Average January Weather in Major Chinese Cities


Beijing Shanghai Guilin Guangzhou Hong Kong Xi'an Hangzhou Kunming Chengdu
High (oC) 2 8 12 18 19 4 8 15 9
Low (oC) -8 1 5 10 14 -4 2 2 3
Rain (mm) 3 51 53 41 25 7 73 16 8
High (oF) 36 46 53 64 66 40 46 59 49
Low (oF) 18 34 44 50 57 24 36 36 36
Rain (in) 0 2 3 2 1 0 3 1 0

January Clothes

North: Warm clothes such as overcoats, long underwear and fleeces are recommended.

Central: The temperature is around 0°C (32°F). A down jacket and a wind-proof jacket are needed.

South: It is warmer. Long sleeves and pants, and a wind-proof jacket are recommended. Thermals are often worn indoors on the coldest days, as there is usually no central heating in the South.

Why Visit China in January?

  • It is the low travel season. Travel costs are lower and attractions are less crowded.
  • At the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival visitors can see various beautiful sculptures carved from ice. The festival begins January 5th and ends on 15th February.
  • January is the best time of the year if you are fond of winter sports and winter scenery. Ski resorts in North China are at their best thanks to the severe cold.
  • Chinese New Year often takes place in this month (the festival begins on the evening of January 22nd and ends with the Lantern Festival on February 6th in 2012). Many cultural activities go on during the most important event on the Chinese Calendar. The New Year period is one of the best times of the year to discover Chinese culture.

Disadvantages of Visiting China in January

  • It is extremely cold in North China, cold and damp across Central China, and parts of southern China too.

Top January Destinations

Harbin

Harbin is recommended for its Ice and Snow Festival, and nearby ski resorts. Harbin has one of China's best ski resorts, Yabuli Ski Resort.

Beijing

Ski resorts have grown rapidly in recent years around Beijing, partly in response to the increasingly large expat community in the city. Today there are more than 10 ski resorts. See Ski Resorts in Beijing.

Seaside Escapes on Hainan Island

Hainan Island is well-known to Chinese tourists, and it is beginning to be known by foreign holiday makers for its sunny beaches and pleasant winter. For winter travelers, Hainan is not unlike Hawaii for US citizens; it serves as a tropical oasis to escape the frozen winter. See Beaches in Hainan.

The Pearl River Delta

Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, and Shenzhen, located in Southeast China, have warm/mild winters.

Yunnan

Wintering in Yunnan Province in Southwest China is generally pleasant, except for mountainous areas. Kunming, the Spring City, and the tropical rainforest of Xishuangbanna, are recommended.

Weather in January by City

See 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 January

Boniface mwiru 2014-01-06
Show Answer
Hallo there, im planing to travel from cape town south africa to Guangzhou end of january,talking about 22th on wards, for Bussines trip,my question is there will be open shops for merchandise like clothes and shoes on that time period?
Hi Boniface, yes, there will be. The Spring Festival will start from 31st, Jan., some shops will still open. But we suggest that you come after the holiday. As most of the business will close 7 days before and after the holiday. Whitney Liao replied on 2014-01-07
Dorcas Sithole 2013-10-03
Show Answer
I am planning to visit china in the month of January ,for business purposes.The person I talked to from china told me the temperature is around 0 to 5.Then my question is what precautionary measures should I take e.g flue vaccines ,because I''m from SA our weather in January is mid summer .
Dear Dorcas, Thank you for the inquiry. In fact you will not be needed any special immunizations for China trip. Besides, Beijing is the usual tour cities, and it is quite safe. Just do prepare some warm clothes such as down jacket: ) Doris Huang replied on 2013-10-04
M.Thangamani 2013-01-19
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Hi, I am going to join a ship at Jingtang Port , North of Tianjin in Bohai sea.Can u please mail me present wx in Bejing and Jingtang.Thanking u fr kind cooperation.

Dear M.Thangamani,

Thanks for your enquiry! I'd love to help but will you write all the words in full, I don't understand your short writings quite well. Also we can only help you through emails but not mails. Thanks for your understanding!

Candy Wei replied on 2013-01-20
Leanna 2012-12-17
Show Answer
Hello, i''m from Malaysia. My husband & I are planning for a trip to China, specifically Guangzhou & Shenzen somewhere near end of January. Will bring our 10-month-old baby along (1st time will be travelling abroad with our baby). My question is, how will the weather be then & can you recommend the proper clothing to be worn during that season? Our main concern is our baby since this is going to be her 1st experience being somewhere far from her familiar climate.And how about the availability of the Halal Food. I''m a Muslim. Any recommendation on where to eat or what to do there?Appreciate in advance for any feedback.

Hi Leanna, It is the coldest month in Guangzhou, with average low and high temperature of 9 °C (49 °F) and 18 °C (64 °F).   Sweaters and  jackets are enough for adults. But for baby, do prepare warmer clothes. It rains sometimes, so please bring umbrella when going outside. You can also check the up to date weather information via this website: http://www.weather.com.cn/english/

For Halal restaurants in Guangzhou, please check here: http://www.chinahighlights.com/guangzhou/restaurant.htm

For top things to do in Guangzhou please check here: http://www.chinahighlights.com/guangzhou/top-things-to-do.htm

Whitney Liao replied on 2012-12-18
Falah 2012-11-05
Show Answer
I plan to go to xiamen in december 26th to 3rd january. how temperature in the winter in xiamen
Dear Sir or Madam, Based on the former data, the average temperature will be 11-18℃(51.8-64.4℉), it is not too cold, it is still cool. You could take some thick coats and sweaters. Here is an useful website, you could search the new information before leaving for Xiamen. Please click: http://www.weather.com.cn/en/weather/101230201.shtml Lussie Lu replied on 2012-11-05
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