Although China may not yet be a preferred winter destination for most foreign travelers in terms of specific winter activities (though China actually has some decent ski slopes, as our extensive ex-pat community can affirm), it does have its getaway beaches where one can escape winter entirely. In addition, there are many places of stunning natural beauty in China that have mild weather all year round, so there is always something compelling to see or fun to do in China during winter, regardless of the tourist’s specific interests.
1. The Kanas Lake 喀纳斯湖
The Kanas Lake (Kanasi Hu), which means “beautiful, rich and mysterious” in Mongolian, can be found 150km north of Bu’erjin Town in Xinjiang. The long bean-shaped lake reflects the surrounding snowcapped mountains. In autumn, it presents a picturesque landscape of forests in a riot of colors with gold, red, blue and green, which excites your sights and senses.
Attractions: Monster in the Lake, Buddha Halo Shining over Sea of Clouds, Great Spectacle of Color-changing Lake, Thousand-meter Long Bank with Withered Trees, The Tuwa Tribe.
2. Sanya 三亚
Sanya is the second biggest city in Hainan province. The city has many nature adventures. It is place of blue water, sunshine and wide beaches. It is a vacation paradise all the year around. If you want to avoid cold winter, it is a perfect place to visit. There are, also, a lot of attractions. Yalong Bay is situated in 25 kilometers away from Sanya. The bay is the best place in Sanya, it includes five islands and 50 square kilometers of sea-area. Butterfly Valley is 1,000 square meters with vibrant colors butterflies flying around. In the exhibition hall, there are 2,000 kinds of butterflies and insects on display. There are also Peking Papilios, they are most rare butterflies in China. Another well-known beach is Dadonghai. It is near the downtown of Sanya. It is surrounded by mountains and there are rows of coconut trees, crystal clear water and sandy beach. About 400 meters east of the beach, there is a coastal park, where you can look out over the gorgeous land. There are numerous places where you can go, here just some of the gorgeous places. For many, winter is the best reason to visit Sanya, keeping from the cold weather in the most part of China. So the high tourism season in Sanya starts from September to Chinese lunar New Year. The average temperature is 25.5 ℃.
3. Zhanjiajie National Forest Park 张家界国家森林公园
Zhanjiajie National Park is covering about 50 square miles. This place is well-known for being the highlight of the gorgeous Wulingyuan Scenic Area. Located in the subtropical climate zone, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a unique “micro climate of forest” – cool in summer and warm in winter. But suggest for you warm up and get ready before get to the park because it`s a lot of walking along the way. It can take up to 2-3 days for you to enjoy the whole park. For one long walk it can take around 3 hours or so and you can see the beautiful shot along the way.
4. China’s Snow Town 中国雪乡
China’s Snow Town is the paradise of photographers. It is located in the forest and mountain area of Heilongjiang province. You can take some photos of the wooden houses with red lanterns, go skiing, take the romantic horse/dog sleigh through the forest, take the snowmobile to watch sunrise, visit the local tiny museums. At night, you can taste the local dishes and wines in the farmers’ family restaurants; experience the farmers’ unique kangtou (a kind of heatable brick bed) in their family hotels.
5. Tianchi Lake, Xingjiang 新疆天池
Heavenly Lake (Tianchi Lake) is located at the waist of Bogda Peak, which is at the center of Heavenly Mountain. In the middle of Bogda Peak, 110 km (68miles) east of Urumqi, nestles Heavenly Lake. It covers an area of 1.9 square miles surrounded by towering dragon spruces and snow-capped mountains. With a gentle breeze blowing most of the time, it is an ideal place for skating competitions.
6. Jiuzhai Valley, Sichuan 四川九寨沟
Jiuzhai Valley, situated on the northwestern Sichuan Plateau, is in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province. Renowned as a nature’s magical fairyland, the valley enchants tourists with mountains, forests, lakes, waterfalls and teeming wildlife. Lakes around the valley vary in color according to their depths and angles, striking a lively contrast with the blue sky and snow-wrapped peaks. When winter comes, the mountains and trees are covered with snow. The colorful water contrasts against snow-white surroundings, making the area looks even more amazing.
7. Hulunbuir 呼伦贝尔
Hulunbuir Grassland, located in the northeast of Inner Mongolia, is known as the “most unsullied grassland” in China. Named after the Hulun and Buir lakes, the grassland features the beautiful scenery of vast grassland, forests, rivers and lakes, as well as the unique custom of the Mongolian ethnic group. The winter provides a totally different view. White vast land, clean blue sky, breathtaking scenery and various interesting activities – all of these make the place a world of beauty and fun.
8. Harbin 哈尔滨
Harbin is a wonderful ice city where the world’s largest ice festival opens in January annually. Atmosphere of the city is unbelievable, you can see here: winter swimming, dog sledding, snow sculptures, ice sculptures, ice lanterns, Siberian tigers, and so on. Here, you can spend hours wandering through the streets, ride the ice slides, horse-drawn sleigh, to participate in various competitions. Ice flowers, snow sculptures, ice towers are the specific of this miracle place. Nowadays, there are many artists, sculpture fans from Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and Oceania gathering in Harbin to participate sculpture competitions. The sizes of the sculptures keep growing. Almost half century, the city’s natural resource of ice and snow has been fully explored to provide joy and fun for visitors to the city. During the festival, there are many popular sporting competitions. There are full of interesting shops and people.