Where to Travel in China: December 2020

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Traveling in December can mean discounted prices and fewer crowds!

The last month of the year is just around the corner and in most other countries, traveling during December means hiked up pricing and limited availability. In China, December is the low season. If you’re hoping to get away after the school term finishes or are considering spending Christmas out of town, you’ll likely be treated to great hotel deals and far fewer crowds than normal.

Here are some of our favorite destinations to visit in December:

Anhui

Where to Travel in China: December 2020
The Yellow Mountains

Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) is eastern China’s most sublime mountain landscape. Its mist-swathed vistas are a recurring motif in Chinese art and literature, and, tamed by thousands of stone steps (and a few cable cars), they are accessible to anyone with a head for heights.  During this time of year, you might chance upon powdery, snowcapped peaks on your hike above the clouds. You’ll also see far fewer people than at other times of the year.

Don’t miss: 

  • Learning to weave bamboo with an artisan
  • Hiking Huangshan’s Xihai Grand Canyon with no one else around
  • Dining with a local family in a traditional Hui-style home

Guizhou

Where to Travel in China: December 2020
Where to Travel in China: December 2020

This southwestern province is home to several ethnic groups, including many types of Miao as well as the Yi and Buyi people, each with their own special clothing, customs, and language. Guizhou’s natural beauty ranges from jutting karst peaks and gushing waterfalls to river gorges and azalea gardens. Visit in December to join Miao villagers in song and dance as they celebrate the annual Jiyou Festival.

Don’t miss:

  • Meeting different ethnic minority communities and learning about their traditions and cultures
  • Joining a Miao community in their Jiyou Festival celebrations
  • Taking in the peaceful, snowcapped scenery on a hike up Mount Fanjing

Cizhong, Yunnan

Where to Travel in China: December 2020
Mass in Cizhong Church

Hidden away among the misty, terraced hills above the Mekong valley, the picturesque village of Cizhong was settled by French Catholic missionaries 150 years ago. Today, the town is home to Lisu, Yi, and Tibetan people, who still tend the vineyards the French grew and attend the church built in a captivating blend of Chinese and European architectural styles. Get ready for a Christmas like no other as you join the town in their annual festivities. 

Don’t miss:

  • Dining in the shadow of the Meili Snow Mountains
  • Celebrating Christmas Day with Tibetan Catholics in Cizhong 
  • Learning about snub-nosed monkey conservation at Tacheng National Park

Guangdong

Where to Travel in China: December 2020
Spend the day on a fishing boat in Guangdong

Sun-seeking doesn’t have to mean heading to a resort in Sanya! In Guangdong province, you’ve got beaches that stretch for miles along the coastline. Although the weather, admittedly, won’t be quite as warm as Hainan, it’s pretty nice at this time of year (average highs of 20 °C/68 °F). The food, culture, and traditions of Guangdong are diverse and unique, so you’ll never be wanting for things to do. From the bustling metropolis of Guangzhou to the charming villages of Chaoshan, there’s no shortage of things to see (and eat).

Don’t miss:

  • Dining at the Foodom Robot Restaurant in Guangzhou
  • Understanding Chaoshan history as you explore rural villages
  • Exploring Guangzhou’s trade history at Shamian Island, on the banks of the Pearl River Delta

Xishuangbanna

Where to Travel in China: December 2020
Preparing sour tea in Xishuangbanna. Photo courtesy of Jeff Fuchs

If you are missing a slice of southeast Asia, Xishuangbanna may be calling your name. Bordering Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand, Yunnan’s southernmost prefecture will lead you to the jungles south of the southern clouds that hug the Mekong as it makes its way out of the mountains. Banna remains, as it always has been, a hidden enclave, tucked away in the greenery of southern China. The perfect retreat from winter in the north.

Don’t miss:

  • Meeting the descendants of the first tea cultivators
  • Looking out for the 100 wild elephants that call Wild Elephant Valley home
  • Drinking Pu’er tea at its source

Find more inspiration with our winter brochure

Our series of winter recommendations are offered as small group tours that connect you with like-minded travelers for an adventure and cultural discovery like no other. They can also be fully customized into a private journey to meet the needs of every traveler. 

Whether you choose a group or private journey, here’s what we always promise:

⭑ Your health and safety are our number one priorities. If we need to, we’ll alter your itinerary as we go along and will keep you fully in the loop about any travel restrictions that might be in place in the destinations we’re visiting

⭑ You’ll work with a dedicated travel designer to customize a journey that’s just right for you. They’ll do the hard work for you so the only thing you have to worry about is enjoying the ride

⭑ All our guides are local to a destination and they will treat you as friends, not tourists. They’re not here to recite facts from a tourist textbook, they want to share their personal stories and to help you experience a place like a local

See our winter brochure for more journey inspiration

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