Our White Christmas IV – Harbin (28th – 29th Dec)



January is the best time to visit Harbin. The “Ice City” is dressing up for its annual “Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival”.
The Festival, established in 1985, is held annually from January 5 and lasts for over one month. This is one of the world’s top 3 ice festivals, attracting hundreds of thousands of local people and visitors from all over the world. We were lucky to be here 1 week before the official launch date (5th Jan) to witness their preparation works for the annual event. Along the roads, we saw lots of sculptors at work. Along the frozen Songhua River, we saw hundred tons of ice cubes being transported to the exhibition site. It was massive.

We hired 2 local drivers (RMB400/day) to bring us around Harbin. It wasn’t ideal to get a local taxi to fetch us around as the local taxi-sharing policy allows the driver to stop by and and pick up another passenger. Also, it was freezing in Harbin and we wouldn’t want to be stranded out there in the cold without any transport.


Here are our Top 5 Moments in Harbin:

NUMBER 1 – SUN ISLAND PARK (SNOW SCULPTURE ART EXPOSITION)
The Sun Island Park is the site of the Snow Sculpture Exposition displaying gigantic snow sculpture. It has the world’s largest indoor ice and snow art museum and it opens to the public from November every year. Entrance Fee: RMB240/adult


NUMBER 2 – 13TH HARBIN ICE AND SNOW WORLD

First set-up by the Harbin Municipal Government in 1999, Harbin Ice and Snow World is by far the largest ice and snow art exhibition in the world. It is commonly referred to as possessing four of the key ‘mosts’: the most art attractions, the most beautiful night views, the most recreational activities and the most forms of entertainment. The exhibits are majestic and magnificent! Make sure you have a good ice/snow boots. It can be very slippery. Entrance Fee: RMB300/adult

NUMBER 3 – SIBERIAN TIGER PARK
Hop onto a mini-bus and experience a close encounter inside the world’s largest wild Siberian Tiger Park. There are over 500 pure-breed Siberian tigers here, with 100 visible to visitors. In addition, visitors can also see white tigers, lions, lynx, leopards, and black pumas as well as Bengali tigers. The tigers are well-fed here. They are pretty big in size. Tip: Take the window seat so you get a better close-up view of the beasts. Inside the enclosure, you are able to buy a piece of meat or live chicken to feed the tigers. Entrance fee: RMB90/adult

NUMBER 4 – ST SOPHIA CHURCH
St. Sophia Church in Harbin is the largest Eastern Orthodox Church in the Far East. Elkan thought he was in Moscow when we were there! According to TravelChinaGuide: The Byzantine style church has a complex history. Shortly after the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901), the Russian built the church of timber in March, 1907. Then, the Russian rebuilt it using masonry and timber four years later. The onset of a second reconstruction by Russian was marked on September 23rd, 1923, and a ceremony was held to celebrate laying the corner stone. It was completed on November 25th, 1932, after nine years, and was hailed as a monumental work of art. Entrance Fee: RMB20/adult

NUMBER 5 – DRAGON TOWER
Standing at 336m, the Dragon Tower is ranked 23rd Tallest Tower in the world (a few meters taller than 332.6m-tall Tokyo Tower), this was the pride of Harbin residents back in 2000 when it was erected. Reason: It is Asia’s tallest Standing Steel Tower. However, some Harbin locals we spoke to mistaken this tower as the world’s tallest. Today, the Dragon Tower has become a photo landmark of Harbin and Heilongjiang Province.

One Response to Our White Christmas IV – Harbin (28th – 29th Dec)

  1. Jon says:

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