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December 13, 2010

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Home » Feature » Travel

Cherish change in a winter wonderland

SUMMER may be the traditional season to plan a trip and enjoy warm sunshine and sensational scenery, but as Chen Ye discovers, many winter destinations offer an unforgettable holiday experience.

Most people consider winter a bad time for travel - the freezing chill can be a big obstacle. Even the bravest of travellers prefer warm places.

However, a winter trip can show another side to a destination, an aspect that is completely different from how it appears in the other three seasons.

More importantly, travel costs during this time of the year drop drastically with huge discounts on flight tickets and entrance fees. And there are fewer tourists, too.

Here are some attractions that might freeze you up, but they also offer a memorable experience.

Jiuzhaigou Valley

During the winter, Jiuzhaigou Valley in northern Sichuan Province becomes a wonderland with snow-covered mountains and forests, frozen waterfalls and icy lakes.

There is a huge temperature difference between sunrise and sunset, so people can witness a transformation of the scenery in only one day.

Instead of a running waterfall there is a huge natural ice carving. Snow dresses everything in white, and various natural ice-sculptures make visitors feel they are in a snow fairyland.

The ice in Jiuzhaigou Valley can be as thick as 60 centimeters, allowing people to skate on it.


The entrance ticket to Jiuzhaigou Valley in winter costs 80 yuan (US$12), almost one-third of the 220-yuan standard. But warm winter clothes are essential.


Located at the northernmost tip of the country and bordering Russia, Mohe County in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province is the coldest place in China and therefore known as "China's North Pole."

For those from the warmer climes of the southern part, visiting Mohe in winter is more than just a challenge. The lowest temperature was recorded at minus 52.3 degrees Celsius.

But there are still reasons to visit the white world. When the sun is shining, the entire area sparkles a silver color and looks so peaceful.

Local fishermen, who resemble Eskimo, can be seen digging holes in the snow and leaving their nets for several days to catch fish.

There is a famous slogan on the entrance gate of the northernmost village, "Please come to Mohe if you are looking for the northernmost place."

Post office, shopping mall, school or police station in Mohe can easily define themselves as the northernmost of their kind in China; even the washroom can call itself "the northernmost washroom in the country."


Prepare yourself with cold defense medicines and take warm clothes with you. Plus, don't touch anything metal, it's so cold a person's skin can stick to it.

Yellow Mountain

Winter can be the best season to make a tour to Yellow Mountain, one of China's most beautiful mountains, in Anhui Province.

The mountain area typically experiences more than 50 days of snow each year, which begins around the end of December and lasts until March. When the temperature drops to below zero, fog and drizzle around Yellow Mountain provide amazing winter scenery.

Climbing activities are not suitable during the winter but it is still possible to appreciate the snow.


Until the end of February, admission fee to Yellow Mountain is 150 yuan, one-third off that in high season.

Don't forget to bring heavy coats as the temperature on the top of the mountain is freezing.


Winter is also the best season to visit Yulong Snow Mountain and Lugu Lake in Lijiang of Yunnan Province.

Covering 20,600 square meters, Lijiang is a dream destination for many. While spring, summer and autumn see a lot of visitors, winter is always less busy.

There are some advantages of visiting Lijiang in the winter season.

Since it is located at a low latitude and high elevation, winter is the time when the sun shines and it is possible for visitors to top up their tans like they would at a seaside resort in the summer.

Although it does get colder, the evening does allow for outdoor social activities such as campfires and barbecues with the friendly and open-minded locals.

Bird watchers can revel in Lijiang's winter as thousands of migratory birds come from the north and circle around the Lashihai Lake.


The temperatures in the daytime and at night change greatly so it's advisable to bring both sunblock and a warm coat.

Advanced booking is required for rooms and tickets. Because it is off season, prices could be lower or can be negotiated in winter.


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