What a beautiful and fantastic place in China. Every year all sculpturer will came here to show their talents and arts of work.
Great place to visit! A romantic city with Russian style architecture to enjoy.
Best visited in the dead of winter for getting a taste of the city's most essential flavor, the provincial capital is most known for its Ice Festival, wherein enormous, lighted ice sculptures fill the central city with a whole Disneyland of buildings and creatures. Once also a city under Russian control, there's a considerable Russian influence remaining that's quite different from the rest of China.
If you are going to the Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin below are ten travel tips based on my experience: 1) Do sightseeing between 11am and 3pm. It’s the warmest part of the day. 2) One day brave the weather and stay until 4 pm to see the lights switch on at the Ice and Snow World. It’s a wonderful experience when the Great Wall of China carved in ice is lit up in bright colours. 3) The temperature in Harbin in January goes down to -26 and you will need lots of warm clothes but please don’t forget your camera. Wrap it up too in case it freezes. 4) The official opening date is the 5th January but locals start celebrating in December! It lasts officially until the end of March or until the cold weather is strong. Sometimes the ice sculptures start melting at the beginning of March. 5) There are a few places to see the Ice and Snow sculptures. The original Festival started in the city centre in Zhaolin Park but with its increased popularity the Festival was moved to Sun Island which you can reach by driving or by cable car over the Songhua River. 6) Harbin used to be a part of Russia and the city centre looks very European. There is a Russian Orthodox Church, St Sophia, built in 1904 in the Byzantium style. It looks fantastic from the outside but sadly the inside is used as an exhibition and market place. Check the ceilings as you may just be able to work out the outlines of the icons…5) At Sun Island there is the Harbin Ice and Snow World which changes theme every year. The year I visited the theme was Egypt and we saw snow sculptures of the Pyramids. 7) Don’t miss the Siberian Tiger Park which is the biggest in Asia. They started with just a few tigers back in 1985 and today there are more than 150 tigers in large enclosures. If you decide to visit take the ride on the open bus with a metal cage around it to get closer to the tigers. Avoid feeding time as the scene of live chickens being thrown to the tigers is not for the faint hearted like me. Apparently if you wish you can buy a live chicken and throw it to tigers yourself. Some entrepreneurial Chinese went even further offering lambs and recently cows. The reason – it’s good to keep the tigers’ hunting instinct alive. 8 ) Don’t miss the dumplings in Harbin! They are so delicious as they are filled with different stuffing’s such as walnuts, cabbage, celery…I went to the Orient King of Dumplings and their kitchen was in the middle where you can see the process of making dumplings. 9) Don’t miss watching swimmers in their speedos jumping into the swimming pool carved in the frozen Songpu River. From this year there is a small swimming race taking place and the participants were made of regular local swimmers and the occasional brave tourist. Winter swimming is popular among middle-aged and elderly people across North China who believe it benefits their health. 10) If you have time visit Yabuli Ski Resort the biggest ski resort in China which was host to the Winter Asian Games. It’s a three hour drive from Harbin and even if you don’t ski the scenery is so nice it would be a shame to miss it after coming all this way.don’t use any oil to cover themselves before jumping into the pool! How to get to Harbin: The best time to visit the Ice Lantern Festival in Harbin is in January but avoid the Chinese New Year. You can either get there by flying from Beijing to Harbin or by train but please note the train tickets are not confirmed until 10 days prior departure. You need to stay 3 nights in order to see all attractions. There are lots of good hotels around but I would recommend the Gloria Hotel as it’s centrally located and price is affordable.