January is the coldest month in China. Large parts of China reach the peak of severe winter weather except for locations in South China, such as Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, and Hainan Island. These places are comfortable winter escapes for people from colder latitudes.
Snow falls in North China (in areas such as Harbin, Beijing, and Tianjin). If you want to enjoy stunning snow scenery and exciting snow activities, go to North China.
Read on to get more China in January weather information and our useful travel tips.
January Weather Conditions in China
- Average daily temperature range: -5–5°C (23–41°F)
- Average rainy days: 2
- Average sunny days: 29
- Average rain/snowfall: 21 mm (1 in)
Weather in North China (Beijing, Xi'an, Harbin...)
North China is extremely cold in January. The temperature often reaches well below zero. The farther north you go, the colder it gets. Harbin averages -25 to -13°C (-13–9°F)!
The dry and snowy weather in northern areas provides a good climate to do outdoor activities like skiing, but remember to dress properly for the cold.
Clothing: You'll need an extra thick coat and layers of clothing to stay warm as well as gloves and a hat, long underwear, and winter shoes/boots with good traction.
Olivia Tian, a sunshine tour guide!
In October, my friend Amy booked a tour with Chinahighlights, Olivia Tian was our guide in Beijing, she is such a sweet n happy person to be around, not only she gave us the best guide service, also very accommodating, alter the plan as per our interest, took us to very local shopping n food district. Above all, she takes awesome pics, very patient!! Thank you so much for such pleasant 5 days in BJ, look forward to see you when we are back in China, Olivia!!more
Dec 2023, Venture216019
One whole of a good experience !
Kevin was always making flexible arrangements for us making sure we meet our needs. Kevin also walked us to our desired restaurant daily making sure all are well before he left. Kudos to the whole team. Highly recommend ?more
Dec 2023, Cornelius C
China is Amazing Wonders that do not stop coming at you.Great country
Great job,Loved every minute of it,Ethan did an amazing job,True Ambassador of China,Just like the Chinese people,Friendly, dignified and hardworking,Very happy.China Highlights exceeded expectations and then some,I will never even think of travelling with another company.more
Dec 2023, Philip Sardar /Maps10321171537
Wonderful trip to Beijing and Xian
Had a great trip to bejing n xian. Our guide lily liu is so well versed in english and we have no worry here at all. We managed to dine in great halal restaurants though out our trip. Highly reccomended to all muslims travellers.more
Dec 2023, Efen Reyes
Great experience, highly recommended!
Additionally, she helped me with all my personal needs like getting a SIM card, finding an ATM, shopping, dining, checking in at the train station, hotel, suggested a couple additional very entertaining art events. Was also punctual and spoke good English.more
Nov 2023, Wayne S.
Excellent tour with Tom from China Highlights
We used China Highlights for the 3 days of our Beijing trip. Tom was a fantastic guide. Very knowledgable with excellent English. He was able to accommodate changes to our tour at short notice, allowing us to make the most of our limited time. Couldn’t recommend highly enoughmore
Nov 2023, Ross
Wow this tour was honestly the best tourI have ever taken! Our guide Simon Yao was simply superb! His English was excellent and he was very easy to talk to. He was personable and friendly but not overpowering or overbearing. Very knowledgeable about history. Thankfully the weather was good so we were not super hot !Finally at the wall we were amazed by it's beauty and grandeur. It really is something and pictures don't do it justice.more
Nov 2023, Annika M
Excellent two day visit to Great Wall
Our guide ‘Mark’ was incredible. So friendly, knowledgable and funny. The itinerary was perfect, we got to see two different parts of the Great Wall (one of which at night which was magical) and our hotel stay in Gubei was wonderful. Highly recommend to anybody visiting Beijingmore
Nov 2023, James_Wolstenholme
Great Experience from start to finish!
Jack was my guide and his local knowledge and English skills were fantastic. He was punctual, friendly and willing to flex as we went about our tour. Couldn’t recommend China Highlights more!more
Nov 2023, Scott Smith
Helen in Beijing - thanks for paying great attention to details, for your small surprises for the children every day, for selecting amazing restaurants, and leading wonderful walking tours. Your cheerfulness added to our enjoyment.more
Nov 2023, Kamila
Great day out with Mark, thanks China Highlights!
We did a 1 day private tour with China Highlights to see Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Communication was great throughout - from trip planning/booking with Roger and from our guide Mark who contacted us the day before to confirm meet up time/location. Avoided a lot of the queues and definitely learned quite a bit of history from our guide Mark…thanks again! No language barriers/issues…highly recommended.more
Nov 2023, ykeezy
China Three (3) Cities Tours
To the tour guides, Ethan, Jason and Tony, you guys have made my visit an awesome and memorable experience. All the tour guides spoke english and communicated very effectively. They are knowledgeable about all the sites visited including, Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, Panda Breeding and Research Center, Leshan Giant Buddha, Hallelujah Mountains, Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon and Glass Bridge, and Tianmen Mountain. The tour guides ensured I got the most out of my time I stayed in the various cities Beijing, Chengdu and Zhangjiajie.more
Nov 2023, Kadar
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
Perfect Beijing experience
Covering all major sights our exploration of Beijing and surroundings was flawless guided by Lily, along with her knowledgeable and balanced information on Chinas culture and history. In particular, Lily was able to adjust the tour according to personal preferences, e.g. focus on photography, as well as suggesting additional activities like an impressive authentic artistic show. I highly recommend China Highlights as China tour operator and Lily Liu as excellent guide regarding the Beijing area.more
Nov 2023, Perfect Beijing experience
Our first trip to Beijing
Our tour guide was Lucy Yubo. She was awesome. Very friendly, informative and passionate about her job. We really enjoyed her company and guidance.more
Nov 2023, Sreelatha Reddy
Anne and Bob’s tour of Beijing
We did the China Highlights tour of Beijing with our excellent guide Mark and his driver. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Beijing highlights including the Lama Temple, the Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Lama Temple. The Summer Palace with the boat ride and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony were memorable also and the Mutianyu Great Wall was a highlight. We were impressed with Mark as a guide. He knew his history and he was kind and thoughtful. He took us to some excellent restaurants and we were introduced to some beautiful food. We enjoyed his company and will always remember him.more
Nov 2023, BendigoBob
Excellent end to end service
Helen is a positive, full of knowledge, experienced guide.She provided us an implacable service abd experience for 3 days .Highly recommendedmore
Nov 2023, Sariel Engel
Amazing Beijing Tour with Risa!
Risa gave us a wonderful tour of the city! She thoroughly explained the cultuaral importance of each exhibit while also educating us on the Chinese culture. Appreciated having this wonderful Beijing trip with Risa:)more
Nov 2023, Angelica M.
Amazing Beijing Tour With Risa!
We were very kindly received in Beijing by our tour guide Risa. She gave us a very thorough tour of the city and showed us wonderful places, while also explaining the important history/culture of China! Very beautiful city filled with many things to do and full of culture! This was very well planned and made it very easy for us to visit the city and foreigners:) Thank you Risa!more
Nov 2023, Angelica M
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
Weather in East China (Shanghai, Hangzhou...)
The temperature hovers above zero degrees in East China, averaging 0–8°C (32–46°F), and there is some rain. So, if you are from Northern Europe or Northern America, the temperature is not that bad.
Clothing: Take a winter coat, warm layers of clothing, rain gear, and water-resistant shoes.
Weather in South China (Guilin, Hong Kong...)
Although January is the coldest month in China, the southern areas still have comfortable temperatures for traveling. The average temperature is about 8–15°C (46–59°F). Though there is still some rain, it is the south's driest time.
As long as you are warmly dressed, you can enjoy your time at the attractions and on a river cruise.
Clothing: Wear long sleeves and pants, a thick coat, and a wind/rainproof jacket.
Weather in West China (Yunnan, Chengdu, Tibet...)
Weather conditions vary differently among cities in the western region of China.
Oxygen levels are low in Lhasa because the weather is cold. Due to the high altitude, it feels warm when it is sunny. It only snows a little — about once a month.
Chengdu typically has cool temperatures with occasional cloudy or foggy days, and it is common to experience light rain or drizzle.
While many cities in Yunnan Province benefit from pleasant winter weather with sunshine, but high-altitude areas are frigid. Take Kunming (capital of Yunnan) as an example — temperatures average 2–15°C (36–59°F) and there are typically 4 days (14 mm, ½ in) of rainfall in January.
Clothing: Dress in layers and take your coat, gloves, and a hat.
Top 5 Places to Visit in China in January
Here are five popular winter destinations in January in China where you could enjoy a wonderful winter holiday with everything from beautiful snowy scenery to vibrant cultural experiences.
If you have plans to come to China in January and are in need of a highly-rated travel planning and arranging service, please contact us.
Beijing remains a popular choice for visitors to China, regardless of the season, especially for first-timers.
During January in Beijing, you have the opportunity to witness the breathtaking snow-covered scenery of the Great Wall. This dry and cold season also allows for hiking and you could enjoy a less-crowded experience on the Great Wall.
Beijing also offers great opportunities for skiing in winter. You could enjoy the fun at an Olympic resort and skate with locals on a frozen lake.
Furthermore, you could experience vibrant celebrations at Chinese New Year, which typically occurs at the end of January or in the beginning/middle of February.
In January, Xi'an is less crowded, making it an ideal time to visit. As a cultural city, sightseeing in Xi'an is not significantly affected by the weather.
When visiting renowned sites, such as the Terracotta Army and various museums, the experience is enhanced by being without the crowds of tourists.
Apart from these cultural landmarks, you could enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride on the Ancient City Wall, providing you with panoramic views of the entire city.
Additionally, make sure to visit the food street in the Muslim Quarter to delve into the diverse and distinctive local cuisine.
If you want to see the snow and participate in a variety of snow and ice activities, then Harbin is the place for you.
The annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival offers a mesmerizing winter wonderland. Marvel at the intricate ice sculptures, ice castles, and even enjoy thrilling ice slides.
You could also go to China Snow Town to feel the magic of seeing splashed water instantly turn into ice and experience the traditional winter lifestyle in northeast China, such as staying on a traditional kang bed (a brick bed heated by a fire underneath) and making dumplings.
Yunnan is mild in January. It is an ideal destination for a sunny and active winter vacation.
Ranging from tropical rainforests to snow-capped peaks, Yunnan would give you more options in winter.
There, you could ride a bike alongside Erhai Lake, take a leisurely walk around Lijiang Ancient Town, visit Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and go to a farm with your kids to make the area's famous flower cakes for a New Year's gift.
5. Hong Kong
Visit Hong Kong in January for a delightful travel experience. With mild temperatures ranging from 15°C (59°F) to 20°C (68°F), the weather is pleasant for exploring.
You could witness the colorful Chinese New Year celebrations, including parades and fireworks, ascend to Victoria Peak for stunning views of the city skyline, and indulge in Hong Kong's street food scene, offering delectable treats for food enthusiasts.
You could also take advantage of the post-Christmas sales for a shopping extravaganza in bustling markets and luxury malls.
If you have your own ideas, you could just contact us. All of our tours can be customized based on your interests and requirements.
Or you could see our Top Places to Visit in January in China for inspiration.
Crowds and Costs in January
In general, January is the low season for most areas of China, except for some northern cities, such as Harbin, which are popular for winter travel. This means that most destinations are less crowded and the prices go down.
Recommended China Tours in January
All of our tours can be adjusted based on your requirements. Feel free to contact us.
- 11-Day Beijing – Xi'an – Guilin/Yangshuo – Shanghai Tour
- 2-Week Beijing – Xi'an – Chengdu – Guilin – Hong Kong Tour
- 2-Week Beijing – Xi'an – Chengdu – Shanghai Tour