Harbin 哈尔滨 Travel Guide
Deep in Manchuria, Harbin – the capital of Heilongjiang province – has strong connections with Russia and this can be seen in much of the old architecture in the centre of the city not to mention the Siberian Tiger Park on the outskirts. These days Russia’s biggest influence is in the internationally renown Harbin Snow and Ice Festival where the art of ice and snow sculpture is taken to ever increasing extremes and, if you can cope with the cold, is one of China’s most visual spectaculars.
Best Months to Visit Harbin
Best Reason to Visit Harbin
It has to be the International Ice Festival which we regard as one of China’s premiere sights. The scale, the colour and the general celebration of all things snow and ice should not be missed!
Top Attractions in Harbin
The highlight is the Harbin Snow & Ice Festival held in January to February. An absolute must see if you are in China at this time – just bring the thermals! Church of St Sophia in the city centre which is now a museum of the arts containing photography from the early 20th Century and the heyday of Russian influence. Daoliqu and Zhongyang Dajie areas of the city still retain a decidedly Russian flavour in architecture, shops and restaurants.
Stalin Park, the riverside embankment and Sun island park across the Songhua river are all worth a visit for a quiet stroll and in winter becomes a playground for all things ice. The Siberian Tiger Park is a good chance to view these magnificent animals up close but be warned that Chinese zoos aren’t for the faint hearted with guests encouraged to buy live chickens to feed the tigers.
Weather Averages for Harbin
Our Top Harbin Travel Tip
It’s the Russian influence that sets this pleasant city apart from other Manchurian cities. Although a year round destination, if you can time your visit to coincide with the Ice Festival then all the better.
By Phil Stanley & Headseast – TCTC Destination Expert.