Winter in Asia: 10 Best Destinations for the Coldest Times of the Year

10 Best Winter Destinations in Asia for Your Next Holiday

These winter wonderlands are truly worth travelling for!

When it comes to Asia, some would immediately think of crystalline beaches, lush rainforests, and other spectacular tropical wonders. However, it can also be an ideal destination for a winter vacation. Whether you’re seeking thrilling winter activities or on the hunt for frosty wonderlands while staying warm, indeed, there’s a place for every snow lover! Are you already planning to spend winter in Asia? Here are some of the best places to visit in winter in Asia! 

Also read: Top 10 Coldest Cities in the World for True Winter Lovers

Top travel destinations for winter in Asia

1. Harbin – China

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Often referred to as the “Ice City” of China, Harbin definitely makes for one of the best places to visit during winter in Asia. It is internationally acclaimed for its annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, which features impressive gigantic ice sculptures studded with colourful lights. Moreover, notable for its Europen influence, this city boasts historical Russian architecture which looks absolutely fascinating even when blanketed with snow during the colder months. Apart from offering some of the best winter sightings, it also provides other exciting winter experiences like dog sledding, enchanting sleigh rides, and ice fishing along Chagan Lake

Ready to discover China’s most popular destinations and hidden gems? Then let EU Holidays (Winner of the Best for China category at TripZilla Excellence Awards 2023) bring you on an unforgettable adventure to discover the charms of the Middle Kingdom. Travel hassle-free to China with EU Holidays and their wide variety of tours and packages, such as this 8D7N tour of Harbin, this week-long Hainan itinerary, this whimsical tour of Zhangjiajie, and more!

2. Sapporo – Japan

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Popular for its ski resorts and annual snow festival, Sapporo has long been hailed as one of Japan’s most beautiful cities for a winter getaway. This city in the Hokkaido Prefecture boasts a wide variety of exciting winter activities, from skiing and snowboarding to enjoying a traditional Japanese bath at the Jozankei Onsen. What’s more? It is home to the oldest brewery and beer in Japan: Sapporo Beer. That said, a visit to the Sapporo Beer Museum and Beer Garden also makes for an interesting stop in the city! 

Note: Sapporo typically witnesses its first snowfall of the year in November and will continue until mid-March. So, if you want to head to this snowy wonderland for winter in Asia, plan your visit accordingly. 

Also read: 12 Hot Spring Towns in Japan to Relax & Unwind on Vacation

3. Gangwon-do – South Korea

winter in asia

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Another winter destination in Asia for those looking for a snowy adventure would be Gangwon-do, South Korea. This mountainous, coastal province features some of the most breathtaking sceneries that look straight out of a fairytale. Choose to get lost among the snowy trails of Wondae-ri Birch Forest, explore the crescent-shaped river island of Nami Island, or hike the snow-capped peaks of Seoraksan National Park. Needless to say, there exists an endless list of things to do in Gangwon-do for adventurous winter lovers out there.

Note: Are you a fan of Korean pop culture? Gangwon-do also boasts popular filming and shooting sites for your favourite K-pop idols and K-dramas! 

Also read: 10 Most Insta-worthy Spots in Gangwon Province During Winter

4. Sa Pa – Vietnam

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Yes, it does in fact snow in Vietnam! While this Southeast Asian country attracts travellers for its idyllic beaches and evergreen rice terraces, it can also treat you to a winter wonderland. To experience snow in Vietnam, escape to Sa Pa located in the northwestern part of the country. 

Here, the winter season typically lasts from November to April, with January being its coldest month of the year. Some of the best things to do in this township include hiking up Fansipan Mountain, exploring the traditional Cat Cat Village, and admiring spectacular landscapes at Heaven’s Gate

Also read: A 6D5N Itinerary of Northern Vietnam: Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, and Sa Pa

5. Burabay National Park – Kazakhstan

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Lauded as the “Switzerland” of Kazakhstan, Burabay (also called Borovoe) features the country’s most stunning and accessible nature reserves and national parks. A must-visit in this small town: Burabay National Park. This underrated winter destination in Asia is blanketed with lakes, vast forests, rolling hills, and majestic rock formations. Here, hiking forest paths, skiing, and snow sledding pulled by huskies are just a few of the exciting activities that draw vacationers to Burabay’s winter. 

Also read: Postcards From the ‘Stans: 15 Photos That Will Make You Pine for Central Asia

6. Gulmarg – Kashmir

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Gulmarg tucked away in Kashmir has long been hailed as the country’s ultimate winter wonderland. In December, Gulmarag slowly gets covered in powdery white snow, making it all the more picturesque for tourists visiting for the holidays. This snowy resort town is home to a gondola that lifts you up 14,000 feet and treats you to breathtaking vistas of the Himalayas. After spending a day enjoying exciting winter activities, enter its spas and resorts for a relaxing massage treatment. 

Also read: Exploring the Asian Alps: 7 Countries to Visit for an Awesome Alpine Vacation

7. Kalinchowk – Nepal

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The quickest escape from city life in Nepal would be Kalinchowk — a winter hotspot and hill station in the Dolakha Province. While it is popular among trekkers and hikers, it allows vacationers to enjoy other exciting and laidback activities like sightseeing and embarking on pilgrimages. Some of its popular tourist spots include the Kalinchowk Bhagawati Temple and the Kuri Village, home to a cluster of colourful traditional stone houses. Moreover, with its captivating sights, Kalinchowk also makes for a great destination for landscape photography. 

8. Taipei – Taiwan

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Taipei typically has a warm climate all year round with mild winters. Unlike the other winter destinations in Asia mentioned, the weather here from November to February is more comfortable and bearable. 

Additionally, it also makes for a great destination for celebrating Chinese New Year: the biggest and most important celebration in the country. Another iconic festival you don’t want to miss is its lantern festivals, such as Taiwan Lantern Festival and Pingxi Lantern Festival. Both of these showcase dozens of vibrant lanterns in all shapes and sizes. 

9. Yangmingshan National Park – Taiwan

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Considered one of the top hiking destinations in all of Taiwan, Yangmingshan National Park treats you to a variety of natural wonders. From hot springs to long trails to cherry blossom viewing spots, this mountainous terrain offers an adventure-filled winter in Asia. Expect this pocket of nature to be just as beautiful with or without a blanket of snow.

Want to camp out in the winter? Just a stone’s throw away from this national park is the campsite Jingshan Recreation Area, which features cabins, trails, and hot springs for the outdoorsy traveller. Here, you’ll also get a glimpse of Taiwan’s most stunning peaks: Qixing, Datun, and Shamai mountains.

Note: Yangmingshan National Park tends to get packed during the weekend, so opt for a visit during the weekdays when the park is much quieter and more laid-back. 

10. Yamagata – Japan 

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Located in the Tohoku region of Northern Japan, Yamagata is best known for its snow-covered fir trees, ski slopes, and traditional Japanese baths or onsen. This premier winter destination is also surrounded by snowy peaks and forests. During the colder months of the year, you can catch sight of its “snow monsters” — a natural winter phenomenon on the top of Mount Zao, just outside of Yamagata City. Truly, Yamagata is defined by its stunning natural wonders which make for a splendid winter holiday in Japan. 

Also read: 15 Travel Essentials You Must Pack for Any Winter Holiday

Already eyeing these winter destinations in Asia for your snowy getaway? Perhaps we missed some of your go-to places for winter in Asia. We’d love to hear about them and your experiences on our official Facebook page. Happy holidays! 

About Author

Andrea Larice Yap
Andrea Larice Yap

Andrea is a writer and creative individual based in Manila. This tiny human runs on iced coffee, music and films. You’ll probably catch her daydreaming in a park or jotting down random words to to put in a song. Otherwise, expect her taking a dive in the pool of uncertainty called “life.”