Hurray! Yipee! Yaaay yeaaah! That was my reaction when I found out the destination of our next trip – Harbin. I was really excited because there is no proper winter in Guangdong where we live and I am true winter lover. I haven’t seen snow since we have moved to China so this trip was very special for me!
Harbin is capital city of the northernmost Chinese province Heilongjiang. And Harbin is famous for two things. The first is a beer and the second is Snow and ice sculptures festival which is held every year from December to January. If you plan to go to China in winter I strongly recommend to visit. But be prepared – it’s cold. A lot!
Our journey to Harbin was part of business trip and unfortunately we had only one day to spend there. We arrived to Harbin later in the night and the exhibition park was already closed. Such a shame because all the sculptures are enlightened in the night and make the spectacle even more beautiful. Never mind, we visited the exhibition during the day. It was cool experience indeed 🙂
HOW TO GET THERE
But first we had to get there. I really don’t know why but taxi drivers in China are a special kind of people who always do things different than they were told (actually not only taxi drivers…) As we didn’t know where exactly the exhibition park is, we asked a concierge in hotel to tell the taxi driver. Everything seemed to be clear so we got in the car and went. In a few minutes we arrived. The place really didn’t look like big exhibition place but the taxi driver furiously pointed to the gate so we went in, bought a tickets and guess what – we found out that we are in some amusement snow park! As we both weren’t in mood for sledging with hundreds of screaming Chinese kids we had to somehow return the tickets. Luckily there was a group of teenage Chinese guys and one of them spoke English enough to understand our problem. He helped us to return the tickets and told the taxi driver where we want to go. Apparently the taxi driver knew where we wanted to go but he decided to go to this place just in case we want to have some fun first….
SNOW AND ICE SCULPTURES THEME PARK
After couple more minutes we finally arrived to the right place and could enjoy this unique place.
Hundreds of sculptures of various shapes and sizes made with incredible precision just took our breath away. Magnificent buildings such as pagodas, fortress or castles made of ice built up on the frozen lake made us feel like we were in the ice kingdom. It was almost perfect only if there wasn’t a little old Chinese guy cleaning a thin layer of snow from the frozen lake surface which was the only thing what made the lake possible to walk…
Anyway the cold weather pushed us to keep moving and after all day spent outside it was very pleasant to be back in the hotel.
Harbin Snow and Ice sculptures festival is very unique event. It’s the biggest snow and ice festival in the world!
It simply CAN’T BE MISSED!
Tip: If you are going to visit Harbin in winter make sure to wear good winter clothes, hat and gloves. Weather is really cold! I forgot to take a hat and I had to buy one there. Of course if outside temperature is around – 15 Celsius you don’t have a hat and there is only one little stand where you can buy it then you are at disadvantage! ”How much is this one”? I asked the lady. ”300 yuan”, she said. What? Is she kidding me? 300 yuan for furry ”Russian style” hat? ”It’s too much”, I said. ”How much you want to pay”? she asked me. I looked again at the hat and I said: ”maximum 50 yuan”. She started to laugh.” Ok 100 yuan”, I said. We were bargaining there for few minutes. The lady knew I really needed the hat so she was uncompromising. I think I gave her 150 yuan at the end. Well even if I gave her bloody 50 yuan it would be too much for this hat but it’s still better to pay such ridiculous price than have a frostbite ears….