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Looking for that picture-perfect winter holiday destination? These are our top picks for a memorable snow-filled festive travel

It's that time of the year again. Elaborate festive lights are switched on and Christmas trees are up—the only thing missing is chilly weather and snow. After all, it is a quintessential part of Christmas that most of us associate with the holiday season thanks to Western depictions. 

When it comes to choosing a destination for a snowy Christmas, Asia is often overlooked. However, there are many countries and towns that experience heavy snowfalls in certain parts of Asia towards the end of the year.

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From mountainous towns in India to your well-known ski resorts and chalets in Japan and South Korea, there are several holiday destination ideas you can consider for a picture-perfect white Christmas. Below, we list some of the most beautiful holiday locations you can visit for the festive season. 

1. India

India typically sees high temperatures that rival that of Singapore’s own all year round and even their winter months tend to see highs of 27 degrees and lows of only 15 degrees. However, in mountainous areas such as Shimla and Kashmir, you can experience snowfall during the winter months of December and January. 

In Kashmir, travellers can expect to see the lush mountains and hiking trails turn into snowy wonderlands over winter with a plethora of snow activities that you can enjoy. Besides skiing and sledging, you can also enjoy the annual Gulmarg Snow Festival which features winter sports, cultural performances and more. 

If you are looking for something a little more quaint, we recommend visiting Shimla instead. This mountainous area in India offers various winter activities such as the popular Kalka Shimla toy train ride, the Shimla winter carnival and more.

2. South Korea

South Korea is also a hot spot for travellers looking to experience snow during winter. On top of the usual winter sports, there are several winter festivals that take place in different towns country-wide. 

Some of the most visited places during winter include picturesque destinations such as Jeju Island and Yongpyong. The latter is well-known for its many ski resorts as well as the Winter Ski Korea Festival, which is held at the Yongpyong Resort. The festival offers a plethora of activities such as skiing and snowboarding lessons taught by expert instructors, skiing competitions and more.

Jeju Island is becoming increasingly popular in recent years as well. While temperatures around the island remain very low, you will likely only see snow in Hallasan mountain, which is South Korea’s highest mountain and volcano.

In terms of activities other than hiking, visitors can also head to Camellia Hill (home to nearly 500 species of camellia flowers) or enjoy a relaxing steam train ride at Eco Land Theme Park. 

Tatler Tip:

There are seven hiking trails on Hallasan mountain so make sure you pick the right one based on your abilities before you set off. If you are not a seasoned hiker, we highly recommend the Eorimok trail—the easiest trail. Don’t forget to also check the weather forecast before you set off!

3. Japan

Well known as one of Singaporeans' favourite holiday destinations, Japan is a popular choice for experiencing a white Christmas in Asia. Most travellers love to visit the mountainous areas to ski and soak in stunning views that can't be found elsewhere. 

Some of the best places to experience snow in the country are Osaka, Hokkaido, Kyoto and Hakuba.

These spots are popular for skiing, sledging, luxurious chalet stays and more. 

Tatler Tip:

If you are planning a trip to Japan over the Christmas period, take a look at our picks for the best places to ski and stay below:

4. Sapa, Vietnam

Known for its quiet and serene mountainside views, heritage buildings and churches, Sapa in Vietnam is a tranquil haven if you are looking to escape the crowds. 

Depending on the weather, the area typically sees snow around the middle of December to early January when temperatures drop between 10 degrees and below 0. 

Here, you can go hiking, admire the rice terraces, visit the Silver waterfall and more. 

Tatler Tip:

Be warned that it can get extremely cold in Sapa and that it is also an area that requires you to walk a lot so be well prepared for the cold. It is also highly recommended that you wear a sturdy pair of shoes or hiking boots for your trip as the area tends to be very steep and mountainous.

5. Harbin, China

Harbin is one of the biggest cities in Northeast China and is affectionately known as the "ice city" for its tremendous snowfall and unique ice festivals that are held annually. 

The Harbin International Ice Festival typically starts in late December and lasts for about two months till February of the following year. Snowfall typically begins in early December so you can enjoy watching the sculptures being carved and built during the Christmas period. 

At the festival, you can also enjoy ice slides, ice climbing, skating, skiing and a huge snowflake Ferris wheel. 

Aside from the ice festival, travellers can also enjoy winter swimming on the Harbin Songhua River, exploring the Siberian Tiger Park and more.

Tatler Tip:

During winter, the sun sets in Harbin fairly early at around 4 pm so it is recommended that you view the ice sculptures and festivities a little earlier.


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