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Harbin Weather in January

Weather: January is the coldest month of the year in Harbin, and it's the time for the winter festival extravaganzas and winter sports that Harbin is known for. It is freezing cold and dry, though it snows sometimes. The average nightly low temperature is -24°C (-11°F), and the average daily high temperature is -13°C (9°F).

There is a big temperature drop from day to night of 11°C (20°F). It usually snows about 6 days in January, but the total precipitation is only about 8 mm (0.3 in). Though it stays well below freezing, it can feel warmer than more humid/windy locations: it is usually sunny.

Clothing: Bring very warm clothes such as a thick coat, gloves, extra layers of underclothes and a hat or thick scarf. You'll need shoes with good traction for the snow and ice. Read more about keeping warm in Harbin.

Things to Do in Harbin in January

In January, ice and snow is usually the main theme of a trip to Harbin. Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is in full swing. It is also the best time for skiing.

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Harbin Ice and Snow WorldHarbin Ice and Snow Festival

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival only started about 15 years ago, and it is one of the four biggest ice and snow festivals in the world along with the famous ones in Sapporo, Norway, and Quebec.

As the festival grows and as China's economy grows, the size of the ice architecture exhibits keeps growing. The work is astounding, and their size and beauty is amazing.

In Ice and Snow World, tens of thousands of people labor on the life-sized displays that can tower 50 meters high and are technologically sophisticated displays of light and color. You'll also see snow sculptures longer than two football fields that might set world records in Sun Island Park.

Harbin is called "Ice City" and its winters are bitterly cold, but the conditions are perfect for the ice festival.

Skiing in Yabuli Ski Resort

To experience maximum fun in the snow, skiing is a must. Imagine the excitement when stepping off from the top of the slope. Yabuli Ski Resort is the best ski resort in China — natural powder snow, adequate pistes for different levels and high-end ski clubs offering their one-package service.

It is the perfect destination for couples or families with kids who want a relaxing skiing holiday. From Harbin, it is a 3½-hour trip by train.

China Snow Town

China Snow TownChina Snow Town

China Snow Town is about 280 km (170 mi) from Harbin. It is the best place to feel the charm of snow in a winter paradise. The snow there lasts for up to 7 months (from October to April), and the snow thickness can reach about 2 meters!

There you can make a snowman, go up to an overlooking hill to watch the first rays of sunrise caressing the crystalline landscape, ride a snowmobile through the snowy forest, and experience local life in winter.

January in Harbin is High Season

St. Sophia Cathedral, HarbinSt. Sophia Cathedral

Tourism increases much more in Harbin in January than in most Chinese cities. A great number of visitors come to see the Winter Festival attractions, especially on New Year's Day and in the winter school holidays (usually from mid-January to late February).

The travel rush reaches its height about a week before the Spring Festival "golden week" (the week's public holiday from Chinese New Year's Eve) and reduces from about two weeks after it. In 2024, Chinese New Year is on February 15, so the end of February 2024 will be getting busy travel-wise.

In Harbin there is even more of a tradition of family reunions and rest than in other cities. So, be aware that for four or five days from Chinese New Year, Harbin is subdued since the locals will be home with family or with friends.

Many stores, restaurants, and some attractions in Harbin and the surrounding areas might be closed or have a reduced schedule. So, it is best to do a little schedule checking and planning.

Be prepared for crowds and full bookings if you come during these holidays. Prices are generally high for hotel rooms, flight tickets, and train tickets. Contact us early to make advanced preparations if you are planning a trip to Harbin in January.

How to Plan a Harbin Tour in Winter

A winter trip to Harbin must not be without Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. Most people combine Harbin Ice and Snow Festival with a ski trip at Yabuli Ski Resort. Here is a summary of our recommended 6-day itinerary:

  • Day 1: Harbin arrival and free time
  • Day 2: Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
  • Day 3: transfer to Yabuli
  • Days 4–5: all-inclusive ski holiday at Club Med Yabuli
  • Day 6: departure

More and more people extend a Harbin tour to China Snow Town, Jilin, and Changbai Mountain. If you are interested in these, see:

All these tours are customizable. Contact us to begin a no-obligation inquiry with your requirements.

Recommended Harbin Tours

If you are planning a Harbin tour, please see our recommended customizable tour plans below for inspiration:

See more Harbin tours or contact us if you have any questions or other requirements.

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