China's 8 Most Spectacular Winter Wonderlands
Chances are we won't see snow in Shanghai this year, but here are some places in the Middle Kingdom that really come to life in the snow.
Nestled right up in the North-west of China, near the borders of Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia, Hemu isn't exactly the easiest place to get to, but the sights here are worth the extra travel time. The remoteness of this area also makes it a great place to find some peace and quiet.
Often listed as one of the most picturesque parks in China, the best seasons to view Ziuzhaigou are Autumn, when the land is covered with colorful foliage, and winter, when most of the park gets a white patina. We'd recommend visiting the park during the latter when the crowds are at the lowest.
Of course it's not only the view that'll take your breath way. As the park is above 2,000 meters, with the airport itself being at 3,500, there's a high chance you'll suffer from altitude sickness.
Emei is another Sichuan Province gem. The best part of Emei is being able to relax in one of their hot springs after a grueling hike up the mountain. We recommend splurging at one of the hot spring hotels for the ultimate relaxation session.
And if that's not enough to stave off the cold, make sure to check out some spicy Sichuan hotpot.
Snow in Heilongjiang's "snow town" can reach up to two meters during the winter. It's around a four-hour drive from Harbin, but well worth the trip. Make sure to stay overnight for the authentic wintry experience.
When most people think of skiing in Asia, they think of the Japanese Alps, Hokkaido or even South Korea -- and certainly not China. However, the skiing scene in the Middle Kingdom is growing at an exponential rate.
Located just two hours from the Changchun airport, Beidahu is a ski resort is one of the prime places to hit the slopes. Club Med offers a great all-inclusive stay complete with daily entertainment and a free-flow bar in the evening. And unlike nearby Yabuli, the area is still relatively unbesmirched by the Chinese tournami, meaning you won't have to wait ages for the ski lift.
With one half in China, the other in North Korea, the "long white mountain" gets pretty picturesque during the winter months (as you can see above). The mountain is hugely important for both Koreas with Northerns citing it as their birthplace of late leader Kim Jong-il while both believe it to be the birthplace of the first Korean kingdom's founder.
It's also a volcano, but don't worry it hasn't erupted in over a thousand years so you should be safe. Just make sure you don't accidentally walk into the DPRK if you visit...
There's nowhere quite like Harbin during winter. This snowy capital of the Northeast really comes to life during the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, where part of the city turns into a huge outdoor ice exhibit that lights up at night. The festival starts every year on January 5 and lasts until the end of February. Try to avoid going during Chinese new year as hotels, tour guides, and drivers will up their prices considerably.
If you can't make the journey up to Harbin, consider checking out Longqing Gorge's Ice Festival located about 80km from Beijing. It begins in mid-January and runs for about a month.
If you're short on time, consider heading out to Huangshan for a few days. Around a four-hour drive from Shanghai, this mountain range is perfect for a short winter getaway. While we'd normally advise against going there during the weekend, we surmise that the weather will keep crowds to a minimum..
The park is always tended to, so pathways are usually clear and not as treacherous as most during the winter months. Make sure to check with staff if there are any areas that are off limits due to ice or excess snow.