Tucked away in the North Eastern quarter of China is the city of Harbin… famous, in China, for it’s very own beer (pijiu) brand, that originates from here, it is also known for it’s Russian architecture – and, most spectacularly, home to one of worlds largest ice festivals…
…For a Harbin ice festival holiday, and a taste (figurative and literal 😛 ) of all 3 of the above, visit in January/February – but be sure to pack LOTS of warm clothes!!
The main event is, obviously, the HUGE “Ice and Snow World” – complete with incredible, enormous ice buildings, shows, ice bars (for the adults) and ice slides (for the kids/inner children 😉 ) – it really is a winter wonderland worth experiencing. In the evening, the sculptures are illuminated with coloured lights, synonymous with the Chinese culture.
Songhua River also joins in on the ice festival action – here, you can find many ice related activities on offer, such as; skating, ice biking, ice karting, dog sledding and many more… (when I went here, I happened to have just come off a set of crutches, so I, unfortunately, had to stick to the ice karts!! If I’d have been fit and healthy, I’m pretty sure I could’ve spent the entire day here!!) You can enter the area for free, but you have to pay individually for the individual activities you wish to take part in.
But wait… that’s not all Harbin has to offer!!
North of the River
Across, on the North side of the river, the Siberian Tiger Park is a safari-style experience where you can choose to feed the tigers if you wish. The park has over 600 tigers and, also, a few lions and other big cats… and this is potentially one of the only places in the world where you can see the beautiful, endangered, Siberian tiger.
This is also where you can find the Russian style town in Sun Island… eat Russian sausages, chocolate and drink the vodka to your hearts content, buy Russian dolls and paintings, or just stroll through and enjoy the experience!
The main street in Harbin, Central Street,is where you can marvel at the European architecture and even more ice sculptures! The street comprises many hotels, bars and shops selling both Russian and European trinkets, souvenirs and/or commodities (Russian vodka… 😉 )
If you wish to see some authentic Russian architecture, St Sophia Cathedral is the place to go – located in the central district, the cathedral is now a museum for the architecture of Harbin.
How to’s and Prices
Harbin Ice and Snow World 冰雪大世界 (Open 9:00 – 21:00)
Buses: 54, 85, 211, 212, 216, 219, 346, 551, 552 – get off at Sun Island road junction
Ticket Prices range from 120-330元 (RMB), depending on the day and time.
Over 70s (with ID) and children under 1.2m are free.
Siberian Tiger Park 东北虎林园 (Open 9:00 – 16:00)
Buses: 85, 88
Take a taxi to: 88 Songbei Street 松北街88号
Russian Style Town 俄罗斯风情小镇
Take a taxi to: Pingyuan Street 平原街
St Sophia Cathedral 聖索菲亞教堂 (Open 8:30 – 17:00)
(Central) 88 Toulong Street 透笼街88号
Need anymore advice? Or have you ever been to Harbin? If so, what was your favourite activity/attraction? Let us know in the comments below!
Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉