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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


BeijingShanghaiGuilinGuangzhouHong KongXi'anHangzhouKunmingChengdu
High (°C)2812181948159
Low (°C)-8151014-4223
Rain (mm)351534125773168
High (°F)364653646640465949
Low (°F)183444505724363636
Rain (in)023210310

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