Travelling in these regions of China during the colder months is not for the faint of heart. It gets very cold. I mean freezing cold. I mean frigid, I will never ever be warm again in my life COLD.
One big advantage is that you can walk the many distances from place to place without sweating buckets. There is much walking as you sightsee, especially in Beijing. Also, no trip to Beijing is complete without a trip to The Great Wall, so even with snow flurries falling from the sky, we enjoyed its magnificent workmanship.
Getting to the Great Wall
I think the most convenient way to get there from Beijing is to go with a tor company. There are tours that take you there and pick you up after you are done. If you don’t speak the language then this is a good option. Someone will be on board to explain everything to you and all the fellow tourists on board in English. It is also reasonably priced. I often buy tours on Viator.com when I travel, so check out tours there. (This is not sponsored, just advice from my experiences with them.)
Schedule a full day because it is quite a drive there and back. Also, it is worth walking along the wall and enjoying the scenery and such. I can imagine it being very beautiful in spring and fall.
You can still enjoy being out about in Shanghai even in the cold in winter. There is much to do and see in the way of cultural elements. Shanghai is known for its shopping but there are art museums, gardens, an aquarium and other things to enjoy. I enjoyed the different Christmas decorations around the city since I was there just before Christmas day.
In addition, the subway is great for getting around, though you have to be prepared to be pushed by many people. It is all a part of the adventure.
Xian, is where the Terracotta Warriors are to be found. It is worth visiting the Terracotta Warriors Museum to see the beautiful work of art on display. Read a bit about the warriors before going, to fully appreciate what you will see.
Enjoy walking around the town and see the city wall, the bell tower and enjoy street food. Soak up the different experiences and see how people are as they go about their daily lives there.
Dress for the weather if you go in winter. It is a great time to visit because you can have many of the tourist sights to yourself.
Things are affordable, so you can enjoy many experiences and stay in mid range hotels at a good rate. There are many options for good restaurants with affordable prices. Also, with some research you can get from place to place by train. I flew into Shanghai then took the train to Xian then another one to Beijing. Then I flew from Beijing back to Japan. We took the trains overnight, so that’s a great way to save on lodging and wake up in another city. BUDGET TIP!
While Beijing was oh so cold, I did enjoy that city most because of its architecture, museums and historical sites. I hope to visit it again in more palatable weather.