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Sara Naumann

Getting Ready for a Winter Trip to China? Here's How to Pack.

By December 26, 2012

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Lanterns in the snowDressing for winter can be difficult anywhere, but when you're touring and sightseeing, going inside and outside all day, it can be frustrating. Walking around today in the winter Shanghai drizzle got me thinking how annoying it is to be dressed for outside and then find yourself inside and suddenly stripping off layers because it's so hot. Does that happen everywhere?

I don't recall being so cold outside and so unbelievably hot inside in other places; so perhaps the Chinese pa leng (怕冷) or fear of cold has everyone cranking the heat. The point of all this is to inform the traveler that layers, are indeed, the way to go for your dressing mode during Winter in China.

You'll want to be warm and comfortable outside because you will spend a fair amount of time walking around. Markets and temples are notoriously cold in winter. Museums, restaurants, shopping malls and hotels will be in the over-heated category. For the top, it's pretty easy to dress in layers. My typical layered winter outfit is a t-shirt under a long-sleeve shirt under a cashmere sweater under a down coat. I also use a large wide scarf that can double as a shawl. If it's going to be really cold and I know I'm going to be outside most of the day, I'll add long underwear. This layered dressing can actually make it pretty easy to pack as you only need several changes of the inner layers. But it does present a problem when you've come in from the cold: it's easy to peel off your coat and sweater, not so easy to get un-layered on the bottom...

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Photo: snow on the lanterns in Old Town, Yu Gardens, Shanghai. Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.

December 31, 2012 at 8:59 pm
(1) Peter G says:

I know what you mean about ….” Super Heated” . I lived in Japan for almost 5 years, and while I liked winter and the snowy scenery, the superheating drove me crazy.!

I used to complain about the heat all the time. Crazy thing was, that it could be 3C outsde in the street, but, had to be 28C in the office.

Office that were ” officially:” 24C in summer, were… ” officially 28C in winter. Heating that was so hot and dry, that it screwed up my sinuses. One day, it was so hot, that I stood up on my desk and dropped my pants. It was lunch time, so, only my co-worker to frighten . Poor guy, he thought I was a ” Crazy Gaijin ”

Why a difference of 4C just because its a season change..??

December 31, 2012 at 9:14 pm
(2) Peter G says:


I went there for the snow festival a couple of years ago. One thing that I ordered well before I left Australia, but, never turned up were some “clamp on spikes ” for my shoes.

I travel with hiking boots, but, the footpaths up in Harbin are so slippery, that it can be dangerous walking. Lots of black ice there .

I was worried about falling over and doing damage to various parts of my body . Nice place to visit, but, I was glad to get out of there..

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