Does It Snow In China?
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Does it snow in China? The short answer is: Yes, it does! In this post, we will share more detailed info on where it snows in China and when.
China is one of the largest counties in the world, with its northernmost and southernmost cities having a further difference in distance than the distance between Canada and Mexico.
Therefore, China has a diverse climate. Each region experiences completely different climatic phenomena, such as hot, monsoon summers and cold, chilly winters.
So, with such a diverse climate, you can expect to see snowfall in many parts of China during the winter months. However, each region sees a different amount of snowfall, and the beginning of the snow season may differ.
For more details, let’s see snowfall in China by region.
Winter in China by region
The northern part of China is definitely the area with the most snowfall, but still, expect to experience different winter temperatures and climatic phenomena.
For instance, cities in the central part, such as Beijing, are considerably warmer than those in the north, like Harbin. Nevertheless, snow is seen in both examples but in different amounts.
After all, the average winter temperature in Beijing is -5 Celsius degrees, while in Harbin it is -24 Celsius degrees.
Southeast China has some of the most popular and most-visited cities, including Shanghai and Guangzhou. And this part of China is mostly known for its humid summers.
Still, you can also experience cold winters in Southeast China. However, winters vary significantly from city to city.
For instance, Shanghai can be fairly cold, with an average temperature of 4 degrees Celsius, while in Guangzhou, winter temperatures do not fall below 10 degrees Celsius.
Southwest China has diverse environments, so winter temperatures and weather vary greatly. Depending on which province you travel to, you will experience different winters.
For example, Yunnan is one of the warmest regions in China and Chongqing has scorching hot summers. But Sichuan has relatively mild climates.
But even though Southwest China has warmer winters, on the mountains, it is common to experience snowfall and ice due to their high elevation.
Western China may seem like an off-the-grid destination, but it has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the whole country.
Similarly, it has the most extreme weather in the country. For instance, winters are freezing cold and much longer, while summers are hot, humid, and rainy.
For guaranteed snow, the best option in western China is in the mountains around Tibet or Xinjiang.
China has a massive landmass meaning it has various seasons and climates. So, to answer the question if it does snow in China, the answer is yes. In fact, it does snow every year, especially in winter but only in particular parts of the country.
Specifically, the northern and western parts of the country see the highest amount of snowfall. But the southern regions have warmer temperatures and milder winters, which means snowfall is relatively rare.
So, let’s find out where and when exactly it snows in China.
When does it snow in China?
Undoubtedly, snowfall in China is most common in the winter months of December, January, and February, with January being the coldest month. However, in some regions of the country, the snow season starts earlier than in others.
How long does it snow in China?
As already mentioned, in most parts of China the winter season starts in December and lasts until February, with January being the coldest month overall.
But if we take region by region, in the northeast part of the country, such as the city of Harbin, snow season starts as early as October.
In fact, you might also see snow in Beijing in the months of October and November, but it is a rare occurrence, and the snow is very light.
So, if we are speaking about how long the snow season in China is, then the answer could be as long as seven months!
How much does it snow in China?
Although snow can last up to six months, the amount can differ from region to region. In the northern and western regions, snow depths may reach 2 meters. But in most urban areas, as well as southern regions, snowfall is often less than 25 mm.
Winter in China by month
Snow season in China officially starts in October, but specifically, it begins on the northeastern plain in Harbin. During this time, snow is relatively less. The maximum is up to 10mm, while in urban areas such as Beijing, it is about 2 mm.
In November, the temperature drops significantly, especially in the northern region. In Harbin, expect to experience temperatures as low as -15 degrees Celsius and snow up to 13 mm. On the other hand, in Beijing, even though the temperature drops below 0 degrees Celsius, snowfall remains similar to October’s amount.
In most parts of China, the climate in December is similar to November, meaning cold winter settles in mild temperatures, and snowfall is a regular occurrence in most cities. However, in the northern areas, as well as mountainous regions, temperatures are bitterly cold, the snowfall levels rise significantly, and the ground may freeze.
January is the coldest month in China, so it is not a surprise for snow to fall constantly throughout the month in many parts of the country. The coldest temperatures recorded in January are below -20 degrees Celsius, and snowfall is about 6 mm. However, due to the cold weather, snow doesn’t thaw, creating a snow depth of at least 50 cm.
Generally, in February, the temperature begins to rise, especially when the spring season comes closer. Nevertheless, in many parts of China snowfall is still about 3 mm across the entire month. Even in Beijing, there are light flurries from time to time.
Where does it snow in China?
China is a vast country, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that certain areas have regular snowfall. Of course, as already noted, snow is mostly seen in the northern regions, such as Harbin and Beijing. But there are a lot more cities with plenty of snow for winter activities and ambiance. So, let’s see in more detail cities that snows significantly.
Beijing’s winter starts quite early, and people may even see snow as early as November. However, as one of the largest cities in the world and with a population of more than 20 million people, the snow doesn’t accumulate as much as in the countryside.
Still, during winter, Beijing’s temperature drops below 0 degrees Celsius, with the lowest being at -10 degrees. Also, in January, locals, and visitors will enjoy a light dusting of snow of around 2 mm.
Shanghai is one of the most popular cities to visit in China. Commonly, it is known for beautiful historical sights and magnificent skyscrapers. And even though it is a seaside city, it is known for its heavy rain and cold weather.
Shanghai rarely gets snow, but during January, which is the coldest month, there is often light snow or flurries. Usually, the average temperature is 5 degrees Celsius.
Qingdao is probably mostly known as a summer destination due to its beautiful Golden Sandy Beach. But it is also possible to experience a snowy winter in this beautiful city.
Laoshan Mountain and the Yangkou Scenic Area are the top spots to encounter snow and get a bird’s eye view of the snow-laden scenery below. The best time to visit for snow is in February when temperatures are below 0 degrees Celsius and snowfall is up to 3 mm.
Harbin is known as the “Ice City” since this northeastern hub has long, cold winters and shorter, cooler summers. In fact, winter starts around October with light snow and often lasts until April.
In January, temperatures can drop to as low as -25 degrees Celsius, while snow up to 3 meters can accumulate on the ground without much chance of melting.
Located in the eastern region of China, Huangshan City has plenty of snowy mountainous areas during wintertime.
Huangshan Mountain reaches high elevation levels and offers awe-striking sights of snowy slopes. You can either hike up the mountain or try out the Huangshan Taiping cableway, which gives you a panoramic view of the city below.
Situated close to the mountains, Sichuan’s temperature drops quite low in the winter, especially if you visit the higher elevation areas of the region.
In fact, if you want to see heavy snowfall, you can climb up one of the mountains and experience a white wonderland. Of course, Sichuan is a massive landmass. Therefore, average temperature and snowfall differ from city to city. But in the mountainous areas, the temperature is about -12 degrees Celsius, and snow accumulation can reach 60 cm.
Tianjin is one of the cities in China with the most snow. It is in the Northern region of China, which turns into the perfect winter wonderland. Whether you decide to stay within the city or venture into the city’s natural reserves, you will be able to experience plenty of snow.
Usually, the most snow in Tianjin is in January and early February, with an average temperature of -5 degrees Celsius.
Best winter vacation resorts
As already mentioned, it is very likely to see snow in Beijing. But let’s see the best spots in this massive and beautiful city to experience snow and winter.
Undoubtedly, everyone is familiar with the Great Wall of China. It is the most popular tourist attraction in the country, and indeed, it is a marvelous construction offering striking views.
Now imagine visiting it during the snowy winter. It is a breathtaking sight that shouldn’t be missed. However, if you plan to climb up the Great Wall during the snow season, be sure to pack some warm clothes and be mindful of the slippery steps.
Another must-visit destination in Beijing in winter is the Forbidden City. Built as an imperial city, it was first private only to the royal family and their servants. However, it is now a popular tourist attraction, which in winter, turns into a snowy wonderland.
Prince Gong Mansion is the best spot for unique cultural architecture and beautiful snow scenery. It displays stunning architectural designs as well as beautiful gardens that get laden with snow in winter.
Winter in Xian is relatively cold and dry. The average temperature is approximately 0 degrees Celsius, and often there is a light dusting of snow. However, there are still plenty of things to do and see while in Xian.
To begin with, to avoid the cold, visiting some indoor attractions is a good idea. Some of these are the Terracotta Army and Shaanxi History Museum.
If you want a snowy winter activity, you can also go skiing at the Cuihua Mountain Ski Resort. Or, to warm up yourself, you can take a dip in the hot spring bath at Tangyu.
If you want to see Xian’s beauty in the snow, check out the 8th-century Small Wild Goose Pagoda, which once hosted Buddhist scriptures and paintings. Also, be sure to visit Huaqing Pool on the eastern outskirts of Xian, which used to be a royal garden in the Tang Dynasty.
Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park
Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park is in the Min Mountains range and part of the Tibetan plateau. Therefore, the park has unique ecological and climatic conditions.
In fact, it has all four seasons, unlike most of China, but it gets hot summers and freezing winters. That’s why even though it is beautiful any time of the year, in winter, it transforms into a white fantasyland.
Specifically, the park gets covered with striking white blankets of snow, and everything from the tops of the mountains to the waterfalls freezes.
To be more precise, Jiuzhaigou Valley experiences snow between October and April. And it has an average temperature of about -1 degrees Celsius.
Also, January is the coldest time of the year and the best time to see snow. Usually, it has 4 mm of snow. However, at the highest elevations, snow may stay on the ground year-round.
Harbin is undoubtedly the most well-known city in China for winter vacations. After all, it hosts the world’s largest ice festival every January.
During the festival, locals and visitors can participate in every imaginable sort of winter activity.
For instance, you can visit the Ice & Snow World Scenic Area, where you can step inside a fairy-tale world with spectacular castles, towers, and other beautiful buildings made of ice blocks and snow.
Another fantastic spot to experience Harbin’s winter wonderland is the Sun Island Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. It features building-sized sculptures made from snow.
For an adventurous winter vacation, the best spot in Harbin is the Yabuli Ski Resort. It is the largest and most professional ski resort in Harbin and even in China, attracting skiers of all levels to come in winter.
Usually, Yabuli Ski Resort opens in late November and remains open until late March.
Yellow Mountain – Huangshan
Huangshan, or Yellow Mountains as it is known in English, is a gorgeous mountain range in the Anhui province with a long and rich history, diverse nature, and plenty of activities for winter lovers.
The Yellow Mountains were named after the legendary Yellow Emperor, Huang Di, in 747 AD, who lived, refined precious medicines, and became a supernatural being on the Yellow Mountains.
Therefore, the mountain is a sacred place for the Chinese people. Not only because of its history but also because it hosts many majestic Buddhist temples, which are even more beautiful in winter.
So, if you visit the Yellow Mountains in winter, be sure to explore Buddhist culture and experience a monk’s daily life. Also, explore the snowy landscapes of the mountain’s forests and unique rock formations.
Last but not least, a must-do activity while on the Yellow Mountains during winter is to visit the Hot Springs.
It is the perfect spot to relax your muscles and warm your body after a day of hiking. Furthermore, they have the function of healing and restoration.
Surely, winter vacations in a snow-filled city are like a fairytale. But sometimes people prefer to avoid freezing cold weather. So, if you want to experience a tropical winter vacation in China, Sanya is the best place for gorgeous sunshine.
Sanya is a beautiful beach resort located on the south of Hainan Island with a subtropical climate. Therefore, even in winter, the temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius.
With warm temperatures and mild winds, this seaside city is perfect for relaxing on the beach under a big umbrella and with children playing in the sand or the shallow blue waters.
Apart from the beach, you can visit several beautiful tourist attractions, including Tianya Haijiao Resort, Mt Nan, the southernmost mountain in China, and China’s largest coral Nature Reserve.
Xiling Snow Mountain
Xiling Snow Mountain is a picturesque resort in Sichuan Province, loved by many adventurers and winter enthusiasts.
Snow Pond is the highest peak in this area and is 5,364 meters above sea level. Therefore, you can find snow at its peak all year round, making it an ideal destination for snow lovers.
Overall, the temperature remains below 0 degrees but often drops to -10 degrees Celsius. However, snowfall starts around mid-December and lasts until mid-March.
Furthermore, for winter sports enthusiasts, this ski resort is undoubtedly heavenly. It has an area of 7 square kilometers and allows skiers of all levels to practice their skills. Also, it has plenty of other facilities, such as cable cars, snowmobiles, snowfield pulleys, and sleds.
In fact, the cable car line between the skiing resort is the longest in China. So, it is a great opportunity for visitors who prefer relaxing winter activities to enjoy stunning snowy views.
Hani Rice Terraces
Located in the Honghe Prefecture of Yuanyang County, Yunnan Province, China, Hani Rice Terraces are a wonder in nature and agriculture with a history of more than 1,200 years.
In fact, due to their history, the Hani Rice Terraces were listed as a World Heritage Site in 2013. After all, the terraces, even though they are an agricultural sight, have inspired many artists and are the largest linked pieces of terraces in the world.
From winter to early spring, the entire field is irrigated with spring water from the forest to rejuvenate and prepare it for the next season. While doing this, there is no rice in the fields, so the flooded paddies create stunning scenery.
Therefore, winter is the perfect period to experience a peaceful and poetic sight of a charming sea of clouds reflected in the fields and beautiful sunrise and sunset on the horizon.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a must-visit destination to experience beautiful and unique landscapes, colorful ethnic culture, and authentic local cuisine and hospitality.
But in winter, the park turns into a white fantasyland. Snow and ice cover its numerous ravines and peaks, and the park becomes a world of frost with silver boughs and rocks, which look like ice sculptures in a crystal palace.
Furthermore, touring Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in winter allows visitors to enjoy low ticket prices at a quiet, casual, comfortable, and clean tour.
Also, because there is less crowd, you can enjoy delicious homemade cuisine by Tujia Nationality and bathe in natural hot springs while enjoying the snow scene.
China’s Snow Town – Zhongguo Xuexiang
China’s Snow Town, also known as Zhongguo Xuexiang, is the home of snow. It is about 280 km from Harbin and is a small village covering an area of about 17,916 hectares at an elevation of about 1,100km.
So undoubtedly, this is the best place in China for a white winter vacation. It is, after all, a charming village with snow-covered rooftops in a paradise-like world.
In fact, when winter comes, the snow can reach up to 2 meters. Also, frost hangs from the roof to the ground, forming a spectacular scene of “snow curtains.”
To experience the village’s winter, enjoy the fun of playing with snow, riding a snowmobile, a horse-drawn sled, or a dog-drawn sled, and do some light hiking to a nearby hill to watch the sunrise. Lastly, be sure to experience the real life of local snow town people.
Traveling to China in winter
Why you should travel to China in winter
China’s weather is one of the most diverse in the world. Therefore, winter in China offers many different types of vacations.
So, even though generally, winter is cold, there are many advantages to going on winter vacations in China.
But most importantly, since winter is off-season, everything is less expensive, and there is less crowd, meaning you can enjoy a peaceful and quiet vacation.
Where you should go for a winter vacation in China
As already seen above, China allows travelers to experience several types of winter holidays.
To enjoy the white world covered by snow, then Northern China is the best option, especially Harbin, which celebrates winter with several activities such as the Ice and Snow Festival.
For a relaxing winter vacation in the sunshine, then Southern China, such as Sanya on Hainan Island, is the ideal destination.
What to pack for your winter vacation in China
China’s winter weather can be very cold, so to keep yourself warm, it is best to pack thick and warm clothes.
Also, if you plan to participate in outdoor activities, be sure to pack accessories, such as down coats, padded overcoats, wool sweaters, winter pants, snow boots, mouth muffles, scarves, and gloves. However, if you plan to tour different parts of China, it is wise to have a variety of clothes based on each area’s weather forecast.
When is the best time to travel to China for winter vacations
The best time to enjoy a snowy winter vacation is in February. It is especially a great time to visit China in early February since it coincides with the celebration of the New Lunar Year. Therefore, not only can you explore China’s many ski resorts, snow-covered nature reserves, and snow towns, but you can also experience plenty of authentic local festivals and other cultural activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is snow rare in Beijing?
Beijing may get light snow or flurries between November and March. However, people may see more snow in January, with the total monthly figure at around 2 mm.
Does China have fake snow?
China, in January, has an annual average of 38 cm per week. But many parts of China have little to no snowfall. That’s why China often uses fake snow in cases such as winter sports.
Does China get cold?
China has a diverse climate, so expect to experience all seasons. The northern region is colder than the southern, with the temperature dropping below 0 degrees Celsius. In certain areas, such as Harbin, the temperature ranges from -25 to -9 degrees Celsius.
What is the coldest region in China?
China’s coldest region is within the Heilongjiang Province, which borders the Russian border. Specifically, the city Mohe, also known as “China’s North Pole,” has a recorded temperature of -53 degrees Celsius.
Does it snow in China? Final Thoughts
If you are still wondering whether it snows in China, let me tell you in simple words. Yet, it snows in China. In fact, China sees some of the most snowfall in the world.
Of course, China is a massive country, so snowfall differs from region to region.
If you want to experience a snowy winter vacation, the northern and western regions, as well as the mountainous areas, are the ideal destinations.
Otherwise, opt for a winter vacation in the southern part to enjoy gorgeous beaches and warm weather.
About the Author
Lydia Michael is a freelance travel writer from Cyprus whose love for traveling started from an early age. At the age of 18, she moved to England, and since then, she has lived in the UK, Czechia, Spain, Portugal, and Greece among others. But her greatest love has been Asia. So, she is awaiting her big trip to Southeast Asia this summer. Apart from traveling, she loves reading books, especially fantasy books, and she adores cats.