For our teachers in Chinese public schools their two month holiday in January and February is coming up. A good reason for most of them to travel around. The teachers in the North are already be accustomed to the low temperatures and winter life, for the teachers located South of Beijing there’s a whole new world to discover. We listed our top five things to do in Chinese winter time, next to – of course – celebrating Chinese New Year.
1. Harbin Ice Festival
Harbin is one of the most Northern big cities in China and it’s relatively easy to reach by high speed train from Beijing. The city is worth a visit anyway, because of the great mix of Russian orthodox and Chinese architecture, but it the winter it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s the largest ice and snow festival in the world with ice sculptures through the whole city, exhibitions and possibilities to ski and snowboard around the corner! Starting from the first week of January and normally lasting one or two months, imagine a Disneyland made of ice and neon lights on a phenomenal location.
2. Beijing Temple Fairs
Just after Chinese New Year, in Beijing you will find dozens of different ‘Temple Fairs’. These gatherings are to worship the Chinese gods and immortals and are held in the public parks in Beijing. They are often free or cost less than 10RMB (E1,50). You’ll find various temple fairs, some are for children to enjoy with entertainment, winter play parks, ice skating, candy, etc.
Others are more focused on food, Chinese opera or traditional performances. One advice from us: don’t pick the most popular one, temple fairs can be extremely crowded!
Chinese are active folks. Any walk in a random direction in any Chinese town or city will show you Chinese just love their sports and outdoor activities. Try to figure out if any of your colleagues or friends know people who are into skiing, ice skating or snowboarding. It’s often very cheap to do in China and the sceneries are just mind blowing.
4. Enjoy a start of the year dinner with a Chinese family
In the first weeks of January it’s normal for families in the North of China to get together for a big meal with the whole family, mostly on the countryside. Often a whole pig is killed to eat for that day, cooked or boiled together with a lot of cabbage. It might not sound too tempting but attending one of those family gatherings is truly unique. You will experience wit loads of laughter, cigarette smoke and beer and a truly unique vibe at this start of the year dinner. Chinese are extremely hospitable, so don’t be shy to ask if someone would like you to join!
5. Visit the Yellow Mountains
The Yellow Mountains (Huangshan Mountain) is stunning all year round. It’s one of the most iconic national parks and it’s also World Heritage. Inspiration for painters, wanderers, thinkers and tourists. Located In the centre of the country, very close to Shanghai. With a little bit of snow it looks just magical. Just look at the photo, need I say more?