China in January: Weather, Where to Go & Highlights

January, the beginning of a new year, is also the coldest month. In the middle of the month, temperature touch the bottom in most places of China, so does the rainfall. However, as China's territory spans nearly 50 degrees of latitude from north to south. Temperature different a lot, which means no matter you a looking for a exciting ice and snow tour, a quiet ancient town leisure break or a warm sunbath vacations, you can always find your destinations in China in January.

Moreover, as Christmas and the New Year’s Day are just pass and the spring festival has not come yet, January is often being considered as the off-season in most hot tourism destinations in China, which means you can spend less money but enjoy a more quiet and comfortable tour. Want to know more about the weather, hot destinations and highlights in China January? Continue to read the following passage to enlighten yourself!

China Temperature in January China Temperatures in January

China Weather, Temperature & What to Wear in January

January is the coldest month in China. The zero isotherm is located roughly along the Qinling Mountains - Huaihe River Line. To the west, along the eastern slope of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, then turns to the southwest and ends at places near Gyangze. In January, the temperatures would drop below zero and water would be frozen in most areas north of the line. The temperature in Mohe (漠河), Heilongjiang province, would down below -30℃. The temperature in the area south of the line is above zero degree, among which temperatures in Sanya (三亚), Hainan is above 20℃. Therefore, the temperature distribution in January in China is characterized by cold and windy in the north, warm and cosy in the south and cool and chilly in the vast middle land of China.

The average temperature in January ranges from -5℃ to 5℃ and the average precipitation is about 21mm with only about 2 average rainfall days. The daytime average temperature is about 5℃. Jackets, windbreakers, sweaters, suits and other warm clothes are recommended. At night, the average temperature is -5℃. In order to protect yourself against the cold, wear heavy and warm clothes such as cotton-padded clothes, winter coats, leather jackets, tweed coats, felt hats, gloves, down jackets, and fur coats, etc are smart choice.

Northern China - Harbin, Jilin, Shenyang, Urumqi...

Under the control of polar continental air mass, northern China is cold and dry in January. It is also the coldest month in a year. Take Harbin as an example, the mean minimum temperature in January is about -25℃. The average daytime temperature is about -14℃ and the average night time temperature is about -25℃. The temperature in Jilin might higher than Harbin, but still very cold. The average daily temperature in Jilin ranges from -20℃ to -10℃. it’s the best time to appreciate “the One of Four Marvels in China” - Jilin Rime. The average high temperature in Shenyang is about -18°C and an average low temperature of -6°C. 

What to Wear - Thermal underwear, sweaters, fleece series, wind-proof down jacket, cold-proof shoes, cotton gloves,wool cap are necessary. If you are going to play with the snow, waterproof jackets and shoes, masks, wind-proof scarf and sunglasses are recommended.

Norther China in January

Weather and Climate in major cities in Northern China, please visit:

Harbin in January Harbin Weather Xinjiang Weather and Season

Area North of Zero Isotherm - Beijing, Xian,Tianjin, Lhasa...

The temperature in the area south of Jilin province and north of Qinling Mountain-Huahe River Line in the middle and east part of China would also drop below zero in January. The weather in this area might not be as frozen as the northeast part of China, but still chilly in the biting wind. The area contains major cities including Beijing, Xian, Tianjin, Xining, etc. The average temperature in Beijing ranges from -6°C to 3°C in January. January is the coldest month in Xian, with an average temperature of 0°C, an average high temperature of 5°C and an average low temperature of -4°C . The average temperature in Tianjin is -5°C~2°C. Lhasa in winter may not as cold as most people thought. The average temperature is about -8°C~8°C in January. 

What to Wear - Padded overcoat, down coat, padded trousers, woolen sweater, cotton boots, gloves, hat and scarf are indispensable in January. In addition, facial cream, hand cream, lip protector are advised to protect your skin from the wind and dry weather.

Weather and Climate in major cities in Area North of Zero Isotherm, please visit:

Area North of Zero Isotherm in January Area North of Zero Isotherm in January

Area South of Zero Isotherm - Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Guiyang..

The weather in the area south of Qinling Mountain-Huahe River Line along the Yangtze River in China is warmer than the north part. Major cities are including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Chongqing, Chengdu, etc. Temperatures in this part are seldom below zero. Take Shanghai and Hangzhou as examples of the east bank, the average temperature in January ranges from 3°C to 9°C in Shanghai and 2°C~9°C in Hangzhou. Chengdu and Chongqing are two important cities in the west part. The average temperature in Chengdu is 3°C~11°C, and 6°C~11°C in Chongqing. Guizhou has a warm and humid climate. The average temperature of the coldest month (January) in Guizhou is usually between 3°C and 8°C.

What to Wear - A warm sweater and a downcoat are usually sufficient for city tour. However of you are planning to visit famous mountains like Mountain Huang, Mount Emei etc, or extend your tour to the high attitude areas, you are recommended to add thermal underwears to keep warm.

Weather and Climate in major cities in Area South of Zero Isotherm, please visit:

Area South of Zero Isotherm in January Area South of Zero Isotherm in January
Shanghai Weather & Season Hangzhou Weather & Season Chengdu Weather & Season
Chongqing Weather & Season Wuhan Weather & Season Guizhou Weather & Season

Southern China - Kunming, Guilin, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Xiamen...

January is usually cool (not cold) and dry in the southern part of China, temperature caries widely from day to night. There will be no snow unless in the high attitude places or mountain peaks. Take Guangzhou as an example. The average temperature in January is 10~19℃. Perceptions are less and most of the time it’s just drizzling. The average temperature in Hong Kong is about 15~19℃, and 11~18℃ in Xiamen. Temperatures in Kunming and Guilin in January are comparatively lower than cities mentioned above. The average temperature in Guilin is about 7~13℃, and 3~17℃ in Kunming.

What to Wear - It is recommended to wear sweaters and long trousers in January, and take a coat with you to prevent the sudden drop of temperature or wear during the cooler hours of darkness.

Weather and Climate in major cities in Southern China, please visit:

Southern China in January
Guangzhou Weather & Season Hong Kong Weather & Season Kunming Weather & Season
Guilin Weather & Season Macau Weather & Season Xiamen Weather & Season

Southern-most China - Yunnan Xishuangbanna, Hannan Island

Even in January, there are several places in China to escape the cold days. Xishuangbanna and Sanya are top two places to spend a warm even hot winter. The average daytime temperature in Xishuangbanna in January is about 25℃, 11℃ in nighttime. Sanya, located on the south coast of Hainan Island, has an average temperature ranges from 20~27℃ in January.

What to Wear - Weather is warm and dry, wear T-shirts and short pants during daytime, a sweater or a thin coat is enough to keep from night cold in winter. To protect yourself from the strong solar radiation in winter, you need sunglasses, sunscreen and other sunscreen products. There are different kinds of mosquitoes and bugs in tropical rain forests, do remember to bring Mosquito repellent with you.

Weather and Climate in major cities in Southern-most China, please visit:

Southern-most China in January
Xishangbanna Weather & Season Sanya Weather & Season

Places to Visit in January: Top Destinations & Highlights in China

January represents a new beginning of the year. It’s a new starting point for both travel and life. Where to go in China January? Should we go to south to escape the cold? Or head to north to fully enjoy the snowy winter? What about hide in an ancient town for several days to clear our mind and isolate from the hustle and bustle city life? Here are the TOP 6 recommended places to visit in China in January, hope it can inspire your for your tour in January!

No.1 : Harbin - Enjoy the World Ice and Snow Festival and Have Fun in the Snow Kingdom

As the capital and transportation center of Heilongjiang Province, Harbin is the largest central city in the northeast China. There is no doubt that the Russian style of the city and the winter scenery of snow and ice are two important reasons for visitors to come to Harbin. The rich and special history has left the city with various styles of Western architecture, such as Russian, Baroque, Byzantine and so on. Therefore the city is also being praised as "The Moscow of the East" by many people. In winter, Harbin is transformed into a beautiful ice kingdom with unique scenery in the streets and lanes -- ice sculptures. The city is illuminated by snow and ice lights at night.

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is one of the Four Great International Ice and Snow Festivals in the World. January is the best time to appreciate ice sculptures, less crowded but quite extraordinary. You can pay a visit to the the main venue of Harbin Ice and Snow Festival - The Ice and Snow World, head the Sun Island to see artworks of International Snow Sculpture Art Expo, and stroll around Zhaolin Park and meet the vast sea of ice lanterns in night. Moreover, as a reputed wonderland of ice and snow, Harbin boasts the so fancy No. 1 China Snow Town, Chinese largest ski resort at Yabuli… 

More useful travel guides of Harbin, please visit Harbin Travel Guide | Harbin Tours >>

Harbin in January Harbin in January Harbin in January Ice and Snow Festival in January

No.2: Jilin - Appreciate the Natural Wonder Jilin Rime and the extraordinary scenery of Frozen Tianchi

Jilin Rime, Guilin Landscape, Yunnan Stone Forest and the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River are together known as “The Four Natural Wonders in China”. Wusong Island, about 40km north from Jilin City on the lower reaches of the Songhua River, is always being considered as the best place to appreciate the rime. With the peculiar shape of trees, the weeping willows along the river were covered with translucent frost flowers, silver willows flickers in the river wind under the sun attracts countless photography enthusiasts to visit every year. It requires some luck to see the vast landscape of rime, therefore find the right time is very important. Winter from late December to the end of February is best time to appreciate the rime. Therefore visiting Wusong Island in January, you may have a good chance to meet the most abundant and gorgeous scenery.

If you have a long vacation and would like to visit more attractions in Jilin province, you can continue your trip to Changbai Mountain. It’s one of the 10 Most Famous Mountains in China, famous for its’ unique and spectacular volcanic landform. Climb Changbai Mountain in January, you can get the best snowy scenery of Frozen Tianchi Lake, enjoy skiing at Wanda Changbaishan Ski Resort and relax yourself in natural hot springs there.

More useful travel guides of Jilin, please visit Wusong Island | Changbai Mountain | Top 10 Ski Resorts in China | China Winter Tour >>

Jilin in January Beautiful Rime in Wusong Island Jilin in January Tianchi Lake on Changbai Mountain

No.3: Yunnan - Immerse Yourself in the Dazzling Natural Lightshow in Yuanyang and Escape Biting Winds in the Tropical Kingdom Xishuangbanna

Yuanyang County is located in the south part of Yunnan Province. It’s renowned for the core part of World Heritage Site - Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, a paradise for best natural landscape and a landscape miracle of agricultural civilization created by the Hani people. Yuanyang Rice Terraces mainly include three scenic spots: Bada Rice Terrace, Laohuzui Rice Terrace and Duoyishu Rice Terrace. Thousands of miles of terraced fields, scattered in the vast forest, with mushroom folk houses intersperse, under the cover of the boundless sea of clouds, forms a marvelous and magnificent landscape. Irrigation happens in late December, after sediments gone down in the water, the scenery reach to the best in January. During this month, the morning glow and sunset glow reflect on the water and the rice terraces turn into golden. Sea of cloud often appears, dress up the paddle with a jade coat.

For visitors who are fancy with the breathtaking tropical scenery as well as unique Dai culture and Hinayana Buddhism of Southeast Asia, Xishuangbanna is a heaven-like destination for you. With an average temperature of 21.8°C, January is warm and pleasant in Xishuangbanna. You can head to Banna Wild Elephant Valley to meet wild elephant there, spend a day to stroll around Tropical Plants Garden and let green plants to moisten your eyes. Learn more about Dai minority culture by visiting Dai Minority Park...

Besides Yuanyang and Xishuangbanna, if you are planning a long vacation, you are suggest to extend your tour to Kunming, Lijiang and Dali, the top 3 destinations in Yunnan. There will be less crowded and cheaper for visiting thees hot destinations in January.

More useful travel guides of Yunnan, please visit Yuanyang Travel Guide | Xishuangbanna Travel Guide | Kunming Travel Guide | Dali Travel Guide | Lijiang Travel Guide | Yunnan Travel Guide | Yunnan Tour >>

Yunayang in January Astonishing Yuanyang Rice Terraces in January Xishuangbanna in January Banna Wild Elephant Valley in January Lijiang in January Night View of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

No.4: Lhasa - Bath Under the Sun and Meet the Mysterious Snowy Plateau

Located in the middle of the Tibetan Plateau, Lhasa, the holy land of Tibetan Buddhism, is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region and the political, economic, cultural and religious center. This is a gathering place for the faithful and a pure land to enjoy a slow life. Staying in Lhasa for several days, you will find yourself unconsciously slow down your life pace. You can casually wandering around the Barkhor Street and make a new year wishes in front of the holy Potala Palace devoutly. Bask in the sun under the wall in front of Jokhang Temple, drink a cup of sweet tea, and make a few like-minded friends.

Visit Tibet in winter, You can't help marveling at the wonderful nature. The towering snow mountains echo with the emerald lakes, forming a beautiful picture scroll, like green gems were inlaid among the mountains. Winter is also a good season to see Mount Everest, because visibility of the Mount Everest reach the highest. It’s also the perfect time to admire the sacred mountain lakes in Tibet. The azure blue sky and majestic sacred mountains in this month would bring tourists unlimited moving and reveries. Even some places may not available for visiting in winter, such as Namtso Lake, EBC, Mount Kailash. But you can still discover Lhasa, Nyingchi, Gyantse, etc. The weather is not very cold in January. The hotel and tour rates are cheaper than usual.

More useful travel guides of Lhasa, please visit Lhasa Travel Guide | Lhasa Tours | Tibet Travel Guide | Tibet Tours >>

Lhasa Winter Tour Potala Palace in January Lhasa Winter Tour Climb Mount Everest in January

No.5: Guilin - Lost Yourself in the Best Landscape under the Heaven in Tourist Off-season

Guilin is located in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, at the southern end of the "Western Hunan Corridor". Guilin has enjoyed the reputation of "the landscape is the best in the world" since ancient times. It is famous for its landscapes, people, customs and a leisurely and comfortable life. Guilin has beautiful scenery, the landscape is represented by the Li River and Karst landform. Moreover, ethnic cultures and folk customs are also diverse here. There are more than 10 ethnic minorities in Guilin including Zhuang Minority, Yao Minority, Miao Minority and Dong Minoritym, etc. It is an important tourist city in the world, as well as a famous scenic and historical and cultural city in China. 

Even though it’s a little bit cold in Guilin January with an average temperature of around 8~11°C. But it is the low tourist season, which means there will be less crowded and accommodation, transportation and scenic spot tickets might be cheaper than those in peak tourism season.

More useful travel guides of Guilin, please visit Guilin Travel Guide | Yangshuo Travel Guide | Guilin Tours | Yangshuo Tours >>

Guilin Winter Tour Visit Guilin in January Guilin Winter Tour Cruise on Li River in January

No.6: Sanya - Strolling alone the beach and Overlook the Boundless Sea and Sky

Sanya lies on a coastline that stretches for hundreds of kilometers in the southernmost part of Hainan Island. The stunning beachscape has made Sanya one of China's most popular seaside resorts and known as “The Oriental Hawaii”. Sanya is famous for its sandy beaches, lush rainforests and cheap inexpensive seafood. Visitors can experience the original jungle hiking, waterfall rock climbing at Yanuoda Scenic Spot, climb Canghai Tower and have a panorama view of Yalong Bay, head to the largest seafood market in Sanya - “The First Market” and treat yourself with substantial seafood feast. Sanya also boasts 2 stunning offshore islands, Wuzhizhou Island and West Island. Tourists who are interested in ethnic minorities customs can visit some Li and Miao villages to see the lifestyle of the indigenous people.

October to March is the best time to travel to Sanya. During this time, north China has entered the winter and became a snow and ice kingdom, but Sanya is still warm as spring. With pleasant weather, less rain and temperatures around 25°C, Sanya has ushered in the peak tourist season. Major festivals and activities spring up one after another. However, transportation, accommodation and other costs will be raised to some extent during peak seasons, therefore the overall travel costs might also rise. If time permits, try to avoid traveling during the crowded Spring Festival.

More useful travel guides of Hainan, please visit Sanya Travel Guide | Hainan Travel Guide | Sanya Tours >>

Sanya Tour in January Visit Aquariums in Sanya Travel Sanya in January Diving in Wusongzhi Island

How to Plan a China January Tour

Before choosing the best places to go in January in China, you are required to ask yourself one question. What are you dreaming for the most in this month, the best snow scenery and festival atmosphere, the best natural beauty in warm or the best budget vacations to explore the classics? Choose your bests and then find the answers here!

If you are prefer the best snow scenery and festival atmosphere, Harbin, of course, is your best choice. And about 3~6 days are recommended then. Looking for great snow landscapes in China? Huangshan, Jiuzhaigou, Mount Emei, Hailuogou, Zhangjiajie and Jilin are also good. 10 Best Cold Weather Winter Destinations in China >>

>> 3 Days Harbin Ice Festival Tour

>> 6 Days Beijing & Harbin Stunning Winter Tour

For the visitors looking for somewhere warm to have a taste of summer and spring in winter, you are suggested to visit Yunnan (Kunming, Lijiang, Yuanyang, Dali, etc.), Fujian (Xiamen, etc.), Great Bay Area (Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc.), Sanya or Guangxi (Guilin, Yangshuo, etc.). And then you will relax and bathing in the sun of the south. Check more about Top 5 Warm Places to Visit in China >>

>> 5 Days Kunming, Jianshui & Yuanyang Rice Terraces Tour

>> 5 Days Xiamen, Nanjing Tulou & Mount Wuyi Discovery Tour (Xiamen / Nanjing Tulou / Wuyi Mountain)

>> 6 Days Hong Kong Guangzhou Macau Cultural Highlights Tour (Hong Kong / Guangzhou / Macau)

Interested in a budget tour to visit the classic destinations in China? Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guilin, Chengdu are all fantastic choices! 4~14 days are needed to explore some of or all of them.

>> 8 Days Best of China Tour

Check more about How to Plan a Winter Trip to China | China in December | China in February >>

Fujian Tulou

Fujian Tulou

Kunming Stone Forest

Kunming Stone Forest

Jiuzhaigou Winter Tour

Jiuzhaigou Winter View

Travel China in January with China Discovery

Feel trouble about your China January Tour planning? Why not travel with us China Discovery and let our professional Travel Consultants help you? And then you will get a worry-free trip and focus all your energy to sock in the highlights during the tour! Our experienced travel expert will help arrange your accommodation and plan your trip sincerely. And our English-speaking tour guide will accompany you all the way, show you the best travelling route, share interesting stories and introduce all highlights to you. Our local experienced drivers will escort you to the attractions with comfortable car directly with speed and safety.

The tour can be tailor-made according to your group size, time, physical condition, plan, interest, budget and every special need. Please feel free to contact us if you need any help!

Recommended Tours

Top 3 tours chosen by most customers to explore in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Laohuzui Rice Terrace

4 Days Yuanyang Rice Terrace Awesome Photography Tour

Kunming / Stone Forest / Yuanyang / Kunming

Hiking Experience in China Snow Town

6 Days In-depth Harbin Tour with China Snow Town & Yabuli Skiing

Harbin / China Snow Town / Yabuli Ski Resort / Harbin

Dive Performance off Diaoshuilou Waterfall at Jingpo Lake

7 Days Amazing Northeast China Winter Tour with Changbai Mountain & Wusong Island

Harbin / China Snow Town / Jingpo Lake / Dunhua / Changbai Mountain / Jilin

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

Customize a Trip

Have a question? Get answers from our travel experts or guests

  • Your Question:
  • Your Name:
  • Your Email:
  • Submit