Discover How Cool China Can Be In The Winter
Winter might just be the coolest time to visit China! You can slam down a vodka or two with the Russian community in freezing Harbin, take on the vertical slopes of Yabuli ski resort, and even carve a frozen sculpture at the Ice Lantern Festival.
Here are the top 6 things to do in China during winter!
Visit Santa in Beiji Village, Mohe
Mohe is the nation’s northernmost point in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, a short distance from Russia and is known as the North Pole of China.
Within Mohe is the village of Beiji, home to various snow buildings, a Christmas Post Office, and of course, a Santa Claus House, the headquarters of Beiji’s most important resident – a white-bearded plump man in a red suit who hands out presents to children.
There are close to 100 Santa dolls in the two-story wooden building. Decorations also hang from Christmas trees and there is a life-size model of a reindeer sleigh.
Explore Mt. Wawu
Just southwest of Sichuan Hongya County is Mount Wawu. Its flat summit resembles ancient China’s tile-roofed houses giving it the nickname Tiled House mountain.
The mountain covers an area of more than 10 square kilometers and is covered with dragon spruces and primitive firs.
Several waterfalls can be found at Mount Wawu including the Lanxi which is the most famous and drops 1,040 meters. Azaleas and dove trees provide an amazing backdrop to the mountain views.
The mountain is snow-capped in winter time for about five months usually from late November to early March, giving the mountain a unique northern appearance.
Slam Vodka in Harbin
Stuck in the far northeast of China is the Russianesque Harbin. Like a great Russian museum piece, Harbin has the Russian architecture, the Russian temperament, and of course, the Russian weather.
All that’s missing are the Russians. They used to live here en masse. It was the Russians who built the railway to what was then just a godforsaken frozen fishing village on the Songhua River.
In 1896, the Qing dynasty conceded a railway head to the Russian Empire, and laborers came and built a Russian city in this Manchurian valley.
Today the Russians are almost all gone. There are some students, some visitors—especially during the winter Ice and Snow Festival—but the synagogues and basilicas are now museums.
There is still Russian food and vodka, a necessity with any meal. So next time you’re in Harbin, head to a Russian restaurant, and raise a glass of vodka to what was, what is, and what will hopefully continue to be, a unique piece of the Asian world.
Celebrate Chinese New Year
Celebrate an authentic Chinese New Year in Beijing as locals do. The holiday usually runs from late January to early February and offers a variety of cultural activities. This is best time of the year to experience Chinese culture.
The Dong and Miao minority peoples hold their own traditional Chinese New Year celebrations during the winter season. Interesting activities, folk performances, and colorful dress, can be seen during January or February.
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is the largest annual ice and snow festival in the world.
What originally started out as a competition for the Chinese has turned into an international competition with the festival boasting the world’s biggest ice sculptures.
The festival usually begins January 5 and runs for a month, though with weather permitting exhibits can open earlier and last longer.
Though ice sculptures can be found throughout the city, the two main exhibition areas are the Ice and Snow World, a nighttime exhibit featuring full-size illuminated buildings and Sun Island, a fanfare of enormous snow sculptures.
Ski the Slopes at Yabuli Ski Resort
When it comes to Chinese ski resorts, Yabuli Ski Resort is in a class by itself. Yabuli is hands down, China’s biggest and best.
Serving as the primary training venue for China’s national teams, Yabuli Ski Resort even hosted the 1996 Asian Winter Games. The ski resort was built on Yabuli Sun Mountain located in Heilongjiang, about 180 kilometers southeast of Harbin.
Heilongjiang is the northernmost province in China so snowfall tends to stick around until late spring or early summer.
An average of 100 centimeters of snow falls annually near the top of the mountain. If by chance the weather does not cooperate, the Yabuli has 8 snow-making machines and 6 snow-grooming machines to ensure a perfect powder consistency at all times putting this resort in a class by itself.
The resorts skiing season runs from mid-November through the end of March.
Yabuli Ski Resort has 9 intermediate- to advanced-level Alpine pistes, a Nordic trail that runs 5-kilometers, and for the beginner skier, a 500-meter gentle Alpine slope.
The resort is also home to the longest – and most exhilarating – prime advanced-level Alpine piste in all of Asia. With 9 ski lifts, the resort has more than enough to ferry without having to wait in long lines.
As you ascend alongside the ravines and ridges you get a spectacular view of the forest of snowy trees.
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