Winter Destination Asia

It's that time of the year again when festive lights are switched on and Christmas trees are up. The holiday season in Asia is equally festive as in the Western world, however, only one thing is missing - snow. 

Asia is not a popular destination to experience a snowy Christmas, however, there are still parts of the continent that offer stunning winter holiday destinations. Sapporo in Hokkaido, Japan, and Xinjiang province in Northeastern China.

Winter Destination Asia
Northern Xinjiang during winter

Winter in Asia may bring to mind lingering sunshine and holidays on the beach, but it’s also an alluring time to travel to the colder regions to get in the holiday spirit.

With travel options to soak up the winter sun or skip the crowds in chilly locales, here's what you need to know about Sapporo and Xinjiang.

Sapporo is a largest city in Hokkaido, the northernmost main island of Japan. It is the capital city of Hokkaido Prefecture and Ishikari Subprefecture. 

According to Sapporo Travel Guide, winter in the city is between November and March. In fact, Winter in Sapporo fell very early as the first snowfall of the year can be seen there in November. 

The coldest part of the winter season in Sapporo begins in late December, just before the New Year, as the amount of snow increases, transforming the beautiful city of Sapporo into a winter wonderland, lasting until March.

A winter trip to Sapporo is an awesome experience according to travelers as the city offers plenty of winter activities, including skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing, as well as events such as the iconic Sapporo Snow Festival, which takes place every February.

Sapporo Snow Festival. Photo credit: Japan Guide

Sapporo Snow Festival is perhaps Asia's grandest festival during the winter season where travelers can truly experience the best of winter in Asia surrounded by giant snow sculptures. 

Sapporo is a great place to feel the holiday spirit and experience the snow as the place has plenty of landmarks to explore, so even if you don't ski or snowboard, the place offers plenty of options to enjoy the cold season.

Sapporo Winter Travel
Sapporo dazzles in dizzying Christmas lights during the Holiday season

Sapporo also dazzles in wonder during the holiday season with streets and parks illuminated in breathtaking Christmas decors and embellishments. Everywhere is covered with twinkling lights and dazzling ornaments.

The best time to visit Sapporo to experience the best of winter is between December to February (make sure you are in the city when the famed Snow Festival is held in February). You may check, Travel Agency for Sapporo for a seamless winter trip.

Xinjiang Province is an autonomous region for the Uyghur minority in China. It is China's largest province and is located in the northwest part of the country, at the crossroads of Central Asia and East Asia. Its capital city is Urumqi.

It borders Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia and speaks Turkic. Xinjiang has a breathtaking view of nature, massive lakes, mountain landscapes, grasslands, and deserts. During the winter season, the province is covered in snow, making it one of China's best winter destinations. 

Skiers in Altay Skiing Resort enjoying the season. Photo credit: Xinhua Global Times

Northern Xinjiang is known as the skiing paradise in China. It has three main skiing destinations: Nan Shan near Urumqi. Heavenly Lake, known as the Pearl of Tianshan Mountain. The lake looks like a sapphire rimmed by diamond-like snow mountains.

Sayram Lake is a beautiful lake in Northern Xinjiang, it's a popular tourist destination for cyclists during spring and summer seasons, however, it can also be as beautiful as other Xinjiang destinations during winter.

Xinjiang winter travel
Sayram Lake in Northern Xinjiang

Sayram Lake is often called the last drop of tears of the Atlantic. It is surrounded by vast terrain, wildflowers, grasslands, and beautiful mountains. 

Sayram Lake in Northern Xinjiang can be best visited during spring and summer seasons, including the spectacular Ili River Valley, west of Urumqi, it is home to China's largest lavender plantation. Ili River Valley is also an ideal winter destination, its snowcapped mountains and forests are great to explore on horseback rides during winter.

The famous Silk Road is located in Southern Xinjiang, it is home to the iconic Taklamakan desert and Gobi desert, famous as filming locations of most costume Chinese dramas. 

Xinjiang is an ideal province for any type of outdoor adventure. With its vast landscapes, mountain ranges, grasslands, prairies, lakes, and deserts, any outdoor activity can be found in this province.

Winter season is when Xinjiang rises to its magical beauty. With grasslands and mountains, even lakes covered in snow everywhere turns into amazement. 

Xinjiang also has a rich culture, distinct from the rest of China. Although they are part of the People's Republic of China, their unique culture is more Eurasian or Central Asian. 

However, compared to Sapporo, Xinjiang province is a bit laid-back and has no lavish activities during the holiday season. It is predominantly Muslim so apart from skiing and snow adventures, you can only experience the best of Uyghur culture when you visit Xinjiang during the winter season. 

But it is a good choice if you just want to experience the best winter season in Asia. You may check this travel guide to Xinjiang for more information.