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From the start of the thrilling snowsports season in the mountainous regions to the explosive New Year celebrations around Shanghai and Hong Kong, China in December is bustling with excitement and adventure. When you travel to China this month, expect cold temperatures, but largely dry conditions which are ideal for wintry exploration. Have your fill of the slopes, or use the low season rates and crowds to have the major sites like the Great Wall all to yourself.

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China Weather in December

The skyline at Shenzhen at dusk during China in December.
Since the temperatures are lower in December, you should head to warmer regions such as Shenzhen.

The weather in China in December definitely sees the temperatures drop compared to November. With Beijing having highs of 4°C (39°F), you’re going to need to bring plenty of warm layers and wrap up if you want to wander around. But the good thing is that China in December is largely dry with low amounts of rain and snowfall.

If you’re planning on visiting the icy realms of Western China, in places like Ürümqi, you’re going to need expedition-grade warm clothing, especially at night when temperatures plummet to a bone-chilling -13°C.

However, not all of China is cold in December. One of the best places to visit for warmer getaways is Shenzhen in the south, which records highs of 22°C even in the middle of December.

Weather in China in December-Rainfall and Temperatures

  Avg Daily (°C/°F) Avg Nightly (°C/°F) Avg Rainfall (mm)
West China (Ürümqi) -4°C (24°F) -13°C (9°F) 15mm
North China (Beijing) 4°C (39°F) -6°C (22°F) 3mm
East China (Shanghai) 11°C (52°F) 5°C (41°F) 44mm
South China (Shenzhen) 22°C (71°F) 14°C (57°F) 27mm

Why Visit China in December

Stairs at Jade Dragon snow mountain to go skiing in China in December.
December is one of the best months to go skiing in China.
Lanterns at Longhua Temple in Shanghai in China.
Shanghai welcomes the new year with the Longhua Temple bell-ringing ceremony.

Are you still trying to work out why you should spend your December vacation in China? Well, let these amazing reasons convince you even further:

  • Snowsports: With the drop in temperatures comes the opening of ski resorts across China. Some of the best places to ski include Beijing, Harbin, and Shenyang. You can also get some great deals in December, as the peak ski seasons are usually in January and February.
  • Longhua Temple bell ringing ceremony: This has to be one of the most iconic ways to literally ring in the new year. Held in Shanghai, people queue for hours to ring the Longhua Temple Bell on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck and prosperity for the year ahead.
  • New Year fireworks in Hong Kong: If you book a trip to Hong Kong at the end of December, make sure you check out the insane fireworks celebration that happens on New Year’s Eve. It’s one of the biggest celebrations in the world and has to be seen and believed.
  • Cheaper rates: Despite the holiday season, December is still part of the low season in China, as Christmas isn’t as big of a holiday. You can definitely bag a great deal at the ski resorts or in the warmer cities to the south. Despite the holiday season, December is still part of the low season in China, as Christmas isn’t as big of a holiday. You can definitely bag a great deal at the ski resorts or in the warmer cities to the south.

Where to go and what to do

A couple in a hot spring in China.
It is a great idea to drive the winter cold away by dipping in a hot spring.

One of the best things to do in China in December is ski like an Olympian. Following the Winter Olympics in Beijing, a huge ski complex was created and updated in the city so you can enjoy a world-class skiing experience in the heart of the capital. If you love spending time on the slopes, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

If you want to immerse yourself in the frozen delights of China, you need to head to the city of Harbin in the north, which has a significant Russian style to it. It’s here that you’ll find Harbin's Ice and Snow World. This place has huge ice castles, snow carving contests, and more. It’s essentially like wandering around Disney’s Frozen!

Not a fan of the cold? China is also home to a wide range of hot springs and spas that are ideal for warming up after a long day out in the cold. One of the most popular spas, Jiuhua Spa Hot Springs, is located just an hour outside of Beijing. December is the perfect time to experience the beautiful warmth and natural beauty of these outdoor hot springs.

Need Help Planning a Trip to China in December?

So, there you have it, the full guide to traveling to China in December. From hitting the slopes to warming up in hot springs, the colder temperatures create so many opportunities for adventure, magic, and wonder. If you’re unsure how to put your tailor-made China trip together, our in-country travel experts are on hand to help you create the perfect trip. Our customized trip planning service puts your requirements at the forefront and ensures you have the China vacation that you’ve been dreaming about.

Published by Tim Green, updated on March 29, 2024

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