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China Weather in January 2024: Enjoy Less-Crowded Traveling

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Nov. 3, 2023

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.

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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)
China in January

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.

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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.

1. Beijing

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.

2. Xi'an

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.

3. Harbin

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.

4. Yunnan

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.

More Ideas

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.

If you want to arrange a private tour, simply contact us. You'll receive a 100% refund of any payments made to China Highlights if you cancel up to 3 weeks before departure. (See more details.)

Recommended China Tours in January

All of our tours can be adjusted based on your requirements. Feel free to contact us.

Monthly Weather and Travel Information for China

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