January is the coldest month in China, and the main tourist themes in this month are related to ice and snow.
You can experience great winter scenery and ski resorts in northern China, such as in Harbin, Beijing, and Changbaishan. The official opening ceremony of the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is on January 5th and the celebration will last till late February of the next year.
Yunnan and Sanya becomes a favorite for people who prefer a warm winter holiday.
Chinese New Year 2024 falls on February 10th. Travel with your family to immerse in the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations.
1. Harbin — Enchantment at Minus 20 °C
- Average January temperatures: -24–-13°C (-11–9°F)
- Read more on Harbin Weather: Ice Festival Temperature & Packing, 6 Day Forecast
Harbin, located in the northeast of China, is the city for the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival runs throughout January. It's a crystalline fairyland of ice palaces, famous figures, cute animals, etc.
World famous landmarks, such as the Great Wall and Disney Castle, are carved out of ice and snow and lit up with colorful lights.
Skiing is another popular activity. Harbin has one of China's best ski resorts called Yabuli Ski Resort. Staying 3 nights in the Club Med Yabuli to enjoy a all-inclusive skiing holiday with your family.
Recommended winter tours including Harbin:
- 6-Day Harbin Ice Festival and Yabuli Club Med Tour
- 5-Day Harbin and China Snow Town Tour
- One-Day Ice and Snow Fairyland Tour
13 days in China
We booked a 13 day’s tour of China with China Highlights. Our travel advisor, Ms Leah Zhou organised an itinerary that suited what we wanted. She was really helpful and patient will all our needs. Leah helped us organised our 30th Wedding Anniversary Dinner and my 60th Birthday celebration?? in Beijing. For this to be possible, she had to liaise with our guide in Beijing. The flowers and cake were a real surprise. My husband and I, were really touched at the good service provided by China Highlights and Ms Leah Zhou. Thank you China Highlights and Ms Leah Zhou for your constant care of your customers. I will certainly recommend China Highlights to my friends.more
Nov 2023, Eda Adams
Do Beijing like a local
They organised my trip very quickly and efficiently. On the day, Anna was very friendly to me, my mum and my baby. Very accommodating to our needs. The car was immaculately clean and very comfortable. We visited everything we initially wanted and more. Also, Anna took us to the best meal we had in China. It makes a difference to have a local choosing the dishes!more
Nov 2023, Natali A
Beijing 2 day tour
Spent 2 days in Beijing with Ethan as my guide and had a fantastic experience. Ethan is very knowledgeable, easy company and takes excellent photographs. The organisation was excellent as well including the driver for the tour as well the airport pick up.more
Nov 2023, Tam
Excellent Two Weeks Across China
We used Asia Highlights (China Highlights in China) to help plan two weeks across China: Beijing, Xian, Guilin, a Yangtze cruise and Shanghai. Albee helped put it all together and was a huge help. She was very responsive and all the guides in each city were excellent! The hotels were perfect. We would definitely use the company once again for other trips to Asia.more
Oct 2023, Charles
Great Experience with China Highlights
Over at Beijing, Angela met us at the train station and ensured we were well settled in our hotel. We spent 2 days with her as our Guide. Angela is well informed and also adapted the itinerary to cover areas we wanted to take advantage off, e.g. apple picking at the orchard! The driver we had on both legs were good and friendly.more
Oct 2023, Edwin
China Round Trip in October 2023 Family FT & G Braun from Germany
Here in Beijing we got Jack as a tour guide who is very knowledgeable and supportive as well as flexible when there is a change in the program needed. Communication with him is easy as he is fluent in English. It is difficult to say which attraction is the greatest as all are outstanding being it the Forbidden City, the Great Wall or the Summer Palace as well as the Temple of Heaven. The driver, Mr. Hu needs also to be mentioned very positively as he politely took special care of us and his driving style was safe and patient with all the heavy traffic situations.more
Oct 2023, Franz-Theo Braun
I engaged Roger Li at China Highlights to arrange a One Day Beijing Tour for my clients from Brazil and the UK after our business meetings last week. Not only did the clients have a fantastic time visiting Tiananmen Square, Forbidden Palace and the Great Wall all in one day; but they came back with rave reviews on how well the day was organised and commented on the expertise of the tour guide too. I had 4 very happy clients then meet me in Shanghai for part 2 of meetings - thanks to Roger and Felix! Many thanks again.more
Oct 2023, Bobby Tsang
Jinshanling amazing hiking trip
We took the hiking trip Jinshanling package, we like it because the view was amazing, not much crowd and our tour guide arrange everything perfectly. We like it.However please be aware that this hiking trip will involve challenging stairs step and inclination, but still suitable for someone that exercise regularly.more
Oct 2023, Frans A
Awesome experience touring Beijing with China Highlights. My tour guide, Jennifer, was knowledgeable, professional, friendly, and very accommodating. It was like taking a tour with a friend. My favorite part of the tour was walking the Great Wall of China. Jennifer made sure to take me to a remote area, not just the crowded tourist area near Beijing, so I could get a more authentic experience.more
Oct 2023, Consumer
Awesome personalized tour. Well worth the money.
Lily Liu was our guide. I highly recommend using her. She helped us check out several local places that we absolutely loved and was great at answering all our questions and helping us experience Peking duck, Hawthorne and other things we were curious about.more
Oct 2023, Jessica P
Two great weeks!
We had Olivia as our tour guide in Beijing and Mervyn in Xi'an. They were both fantastic at their job and made us feel so welcome and added to the great experience we were already having. So grateful to their professionalism and wide knowledge as well as their friendliness. We're glad that China Highlights took us to the Mutianyu Wall instead of the crowded Badaling Wall. Less crowded and great views all around!more
Oct 2023, Road36501241284
Beijing 4 day trip
Silvia arranged my itinerary which included buying the high speed train ticket from Shanghai to Beijing and airport transfers. I did not have to think about anything. She added places to the itinerary which I would not have known to visit .more
Oct 2023, Wing Yee Cheung
Amazing 2 weeks because of China Highlights
We had Olivia as our tour guide in Beijing and Mervyn in Xi'an. They were both fantastic at their job and made us feel so welcome and added to the great experience we were already having. So grateful to their professionalism and wide knowledge as well as their friendliness.All in all, we are so glad for China Highlights. Affordable and really value-for-money kinda tour.more
Oct 2023, Elisabeth Zackrina
One Day Beijing Trip (Great Wall, Summer Palace) With Jennifer
My tour guide Jennifer made this quick one day trip to Beijing great! The day started out a bit overcast and rainy when I landed, but Jennifer’s positive attitude and kind communication (along with her being able to keep up/put up with my jokes) made it fine.Despite this, Jennifer and our driver Chen were able to swing an extra photo shoot stop at the Olympic Stadium. I guess it gives me an excuse to come back to visit again, and when I do - I will use China Highlights and this great fantastic team.more
Sep 2023, Alan Landau
Best Great Wall experience
Used China Highlights for a private all-day tour of Jinshanling portion of the Great Wall. One of the best days of my life! Tour guide Alan and a driver met me at my hotel and the ride was very comfortable. Alan was extremely knowledgable and friendly, I really enjoyed talking with him. The scenery was astoundingly beautiful; this is a less touristy portion of the Wall. The hiking was fun, Alan brought plenty of water, and showed me things I would not have noticed by myself. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a local restaurant for lunch that Alan had arranged - delicious! Once in a lifetime experience.more
Sep 2023, LZviajera
Non-standard private China tour
I booked a 4 weeks private China tour with ChinaHighlights covering landscapes and cultural sites between Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Zhangjiajie, Hangzhou and Shanghai. The entire tour was set up accurately, very fast and in the light of all relevant personal preferences by Mrs. Carol Wang, an expert in organizing hand made voyages in China. Due to her knowledge and immediate responses the tour was scheduled comfortably and straightforward, including all transfers and authentic hotel bookings. I highly recommend ChinaHighlights and in particular Carol Wang for organizing any extraordinary, non-mainstream travel to China.more
Sep 2023, Dr. Manfred Leubner
Alisa was very helpful tailoring a trip to China for my wife and I.Alisa was able to put together a great itinerary at a reasonable cost.Alisa is very conscientious and pays attention to detail.Example - We had a midnight flight into Shanghai on one segment of the tour. Alisa followed the flight until an earlier flight became available. Alisa changed the flight, guide and driver. Alisa has great attention to detail. Thank you Alisa. Al and Debbiemore
Sep 2023, AI Cluett
Best way to see Beijing
Our guide Lily Liu was lovely - super patient, warm, knowledgeable about Chinese history, and great English skills. Would definitely recommend this service!more
Sep 2023, Stephanie N
Our guide, Linda, was by far the best person to have for our tours of The Forbidden City, Tianamen Square, and Mutianyu Great Wall. She was an encyclopedia with great knowledge of Chinese History and was able to explain every detail of what we were seeing. She picked us up with a very nice car and driver from our hotel both days, at the time most convenient to us, and dropped us back off wherever we wanted at the end of our tours. Both the Forbidden City and the Great Wall are marvels of human and Chinese achievements and are a must to see in Beijing. Visiting them both with a tour guide that feels more like a friend was certainly helping enjoying it even more.more
Sep 2023, Robin Z
Beijing is AMAZING
Linda Wang our amazing tour guide helped us to have an unforgettable trip to all the best of Beijing. From organizing the driver (also excellent) to drop us/pick us up exactly when we were leaving busy tourist sites, excellent food recommendations, fascinating knowledge relevant to us and our children (13yo and 11yo) making The Forbidden City, Tiannamen Square, Great Wall, Beijing Zoo and The Hutongs thoroughly enjoyable. Handling all the entrance/exit passport and ticket requirements, interpreting, answering any questions we had about local culture, we were so comfortable and happy, never rushed, everything you could want and more.more
Sep 2023, Michelle A
2. Beijing — Traditional Temple Fairs of Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year 2024 falls on February 10th. Many people go to Beijing's traditional temple fairs during the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) for ritual praying, entertainment, snacks, and buying crafts. They are a great opportunity to experience local culture and traditions. (Check out Beijing's Top Temple Fairs)
Recommended Beijing Tours:
- 6-Day Beijing Chinese New Year Tour
- 6-Day Beijing Winter Tour with Skiing in a Winter Olympic Cluster
- 5-Day Beijing Family Tour
3. Jilin & Mt. Changbaishan — Rime Wonder and Skiing
- Average January temperatures: -24°C–2°C (-11°F–36°F)
Rime in Jilin, the karst landscape of Guilin, the Stone Forest in Yunnan, and the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River are the "Four Amazing Natural Wonders of China". If you like photography and look for spectacular winter scenery, the rime wonder of Jilin City should not be missed.
The Songhua River is frozen in winter, but the temperature of the water flowing under the ice is kept at 4°C. The big difference in temperature produces a lot of mist, which turns into rime hanging on the trees along the banks of the river.
The best time to appreciate the rime lasts from December to late February and the city holds its Rime and Ice Festival in mid-January every year.
Skiing is another main tourist theme in Jilin City, and the best ski resorts are Changbai Mountain Resort, Beidahu Ski Resort, Songhuahu Ski Resort, and Zhuqueshan Ski Resort.
Recommended Winter Tours:
- 7-Day Harbin, Yabuli, China Snow Town, and Jilin Tour
- 7-Day Harbin, China Snow Town, and Changbai Mountain Tour
4. Yunnan (Yuanyang Rice Terraces, Dali, Lijiang, Xishuangbanna)
- Average January temperatures: 7–29°C (45–48°F)
- Read more about Kunming Weather in January.
With clear skies prevailing above Erhai Lake in Dali, warm winter sunshine in the ancient town of Lijiang, the pristine and holy land of Shangri-La, and exotic tropical rainforest in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan has become a top destination for China expats, especially family groups.
The Yuanyang Rice Terraces in Kunming is one of China's five most beautiful rice terraces. It is recommended for magnificent natural scenery and mild winters. The best period to visit the rice terraces lasts from December to March (when the rice terraces are irrigated but without crops), and January is the best month.
At the beginning of the twelfth Chinese month (which always falls in December or January), the local Hani people hold a "long street banquet" — always hundreds of meters long — to sacrifice to their dragon god. You can experience unique minority customs there.
Recommended Yunnan tours for winter:
- 9-Day Yunnan Family Tour to Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Shangri-la
- 7-Day Kunming, Dali, and Lijiang Winter Tour
- 6-Day Jianshui and Yuanyang Terraced Fields Tour
- Check out more Yunnan Tours
5. Chengdu — Glacier, Hot Pot, and Pandas
- Average February temperatures: 3–11°C (37–52°F)
- Read more on Chengdu Weather in January.
Getting close to pandas will be an unforgettable moment in your winter holidays.
Besides meeting the lovely Giant Pandas, you can taste real Sichuan food and learn how to cook authentic Sichuan cuisine. The hot and spicy food will ward off the cold.
You can also enjoy the fun of skiing in beautiful Bipenggou National Park (3½ hours away by car), and soak in a natural mineral hot spring in a snowy wonderland.
In addition, Mount Emei provides beautiful snowy scenery in winter with sweeping cliffs, high-reaching peaks, gushing waterfalls, gurgling springs, and towering ancient trees.
Recommended Chengdu Tours
- 4-Day Wolong In-Depth Panda Tour
- 5-Day Chengdu and Bipenggou Tour
- 5-Day Chengdu, Leshan, and Mount Emei Tour
6. Xiamen — Explore Mulan's Hometown
- Average January temperatures: 11–18°C (52–64°F)
- Read more on Xiamen Weather in January.
Relatively mild temperatures in January compared to China's northern cities make Xiamen a good place to visit, though it is not as warm as Sanya (below). Although a popular destination, there aren't many tourists in Xiamen in January. You will have more space and time to enjoy your trip to the full.
Feel the artistic temperament of uncrowded Gulangyu Island, and pay a visit to the Fujian Tulou (earthen castles) — Mulan's movie home, which is the traditional architectural style of Hakka people in the Fujian area.
Recommended Xiamen Tours
7. Sanya — Sunny Beach Time
- Average January temperatures: 20–27°C (68–81°F)
- Read more on Xiamen Weather in January.
Lying in the tropics, Sanya's "winters" feature sun, blue sea, clear skies, soft sand, and warm weather.
There, you can sunbathe on a private beach, do some water activities such as surfing, snorkeling, swimming, and motorboat riding, and enjoy a rainforest hot spring at nightfall while you listen to the birds' evening chorus.
Recommended Sanya Tours
Plan Your Winter Holiday with Us
For travelers who prefer snow scenery and activities, see our most recommended customizable ice and snow tours:
- 7-Day Harbin, Yabuli, China Snow Town, and Jilin Tour — Charming Northeast China
- 7-Day Harbin, China Snow Town, and Changbai Mountain Tour — Fascinating Changbai Mountain
- 6-Day Beijing Winter Tour — Skiing in a 2022 Olympic Winter Games Venue
- 5-Day Chengdu and Hailuogou Tour — a Song of Ice and Fire
For those who'd prefer a warm winter escape, see our top recommended customizable warm winter tours:
- 5-Day Sanya Tour with the Best Beach — a Feast of Sea, Shore, and Sun
- 6-Day Xishuangbanna and Pu'er Tour — Escape to the Rainforest
- 7-Day Kunming, Dali and Lijiang Winter Tour — A Warm Winter Trip in Yunnan
- 8-Day Yunnan Tour of the Nu River and Tengchong — Discover Northwest Yunnan
Or contact us if you have any questions or requirements to design a tour.