Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

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Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

The Harbin International Ice and Snow festival is the largest ice and snow festival in the world, that takes place with a theme in Harbin, *Heilongjiang.

Officially, the festival starts on January 5 and lasts till late February. However, exhibits often open earlier and stay longer, weather permitting. During the festival, there are ice lantern park touring activities held in many parks in the city.

Winter activities during the festival include Yabuli alpine skiing (Yabuli ski Resort, map), winter-swimming in the Songhua River, and the ice-lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden (map).

+ More information > WikipediaWikivoyage

While ice sculptures are erected throughout the city, there are two main exhibition areas:

  • Sun Island (map) is a recreational area on the opposite side of the Songhua River from the city, which features an expo of enormous snow sculptures.
  • Ice and Snow World is an area open in the afternoon and at night which features illuminated full size buildings made from blocks of 2–3′ thick ice taken directly from the Songhua River. The park usually opens from late December to late February.

At the 35th annual festival held in 2019, the festival’s most popular attraction, the Harbin Ice and Snow World, took up over 600,000 square meters and included more than 100 landmarks. It was made from 110,000 cubic meters of ice and 120,000 cubic meters of snow. The festival also included ice sculptures by artists from 12 different countries competing in the annual competition.

  • Best Time to go: Please avoid the Chinese New Year. The parks will be very crowded and the hotels are very expensive.
  • Ticket Price: To enter different venues (parks) of the festival, you have to buy different tickets at different prices.

Other large ice and snow festivals include Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada’s Quebec City Winter Carnival, and Norway’s Holmenkollen Ski Festival.

Sub-Zero Clothing: In Harbin in winter, the temperature is from -25°C (-13°F) to -10°C (14°F), and that’s without wind chill! Hence thermal underwear, gloves, (scarves, earmuffs), hats, (face masks), and thick arctic clothing and boots are necessary. If you have ski boots, they would be ideal.

Protect your camera batteries and mobile phones: The average January high in Harbin is -13°C (8°F). The cold saps battery life and could make your mobile phone shutdown.

Public transport

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BAOLAU.com – transportation network in Asia includes flights, trains, buses and ferries.

The most common direction-finding app used by the Chinese themselves is Baidu Maps, though it is only available in Chinese. Amap is effectively the Citymapper for the whole of China.

Transportation • Tips for Your China Train Trip (chinahighlights.com)

 BUS >   A coach or bus in rural China is a different experience. City buses vary from city to city. However, if you can understand the bus routes then they are cheap and go almost everywhere.

 RAIL >   Being a major Chinese city, Harbin is well connected by train and is a convenient way to travel. The city is served by several train stations, so the station you arrive or depart from will depend on the train you take. Be sure to confirm which station your train calls at beforehand.

Train travel is the main method of long-distance transportation for the Chinese, with an extensive network of routes covering most of the country. >> seat61.com  (*Rail travel in China)

 AIRPORTS >   Harbin Taiping Airport. The main international gateways to mainland China are Beijing (Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing Daxing International Airport), Shanghai (Shanghai Pudong International Airport) and Guangzhou (Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport).