Before I physically arrived at Harbin, I was inundated with inaccurate “accounts” of the severity of the winter there. Anyway, all those worries of frozen blood and frozen brain disappeared the moment stepped on the snow of Harbin.
Text/Photos: Alex Lim
Before I physically arrived at Harbin, I was inundated with inaccurate “accounts” of the severity of the winter there. Anyway, all those worries of frozen blood and frozen brain disappeared the moment stepped on the snow of Harbin. The endless white carpet, the massive huge ice sculptures and the soft snow drifting in the air – they are all so fascinating, I was so overwhelmed at this captivating scene.
Located at the northeastern part of China, Harbin is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang province. Visiting the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is definitely a must if you are there in winter. This festival is usually held in January every year and last until February. However, there were already quite a number of ice sculptures completed by end December. The ice sculptures come in every shapes and sizes, some are replicas of ancient city walls, towering pagodas, cartoon characters, artistic sculptures, glittering gardens and more.
Some of the attractions in Harbin worth a visit are:-
• Sun Island Scenic Resort. This is an island along the Songhua River. There is a Snow Carving Festival here when the island is covered in snow during winter. You will be amazed by the huge figures and structure made using snow.
• Yabuli International Ski Resort. This is the place to experience soft drifting snow, freezing temperature of -40oC at the mountain top and also one or two steps on the ski.
• St. Sophia Church. This is the largest Orthodox Church in China, one of the icon of Russian culture. Check out the nice architecture here.
• Dragon Tower. This is the Heilongjiang broadcast and TV tower but visitors are allowed at the glass viewing platform. From here, the snow covered city of Harbin looks like a miniature toyland.
Apart from visiting the tourist attractions, you can also take a walk at the local market for a taste of local life and also along the riverside there may be an occasional session of winter swimming. For photographers, please don’t forget the local market to see the fishmongers selling their fish without the need of ice to preserve the fish.