One of the best parts about wintertime in China is definitely the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. This annual event takes place over the course of almost three months, and is the biggest ice sculpture festival in the entire world. The host city, Harbin, is also a truly unique city in China that at times can seem more Russian than Chinese due to its special history and short distance from neighboring Russia.
Here’s a few tips and tricks from us at ChinaClickGo on how to make your experience in Harbin go smoothly and enjoyably!
Check the weather before you leave, but in general Harbin is cold in the wintertime, and by cold we mean really cold. Harbin is most cold in January, averaging a brisk -12°C (10°F) high dropping to -24°C (-11°F) at nighttime. In December and February the temperature is milder at an average around -7°C (20°F) during the day, so check ahead and prepare with gloves, hats, and scarves.
Hop from shelter to shelter
It’s a good idea to seek indoors places to warm up along your route, and hop from place to place. You will enjoy the festival much more if you stay warm and don’t get frostbite. The good news is, Harbin is known for little precipitation in the winter and sunny, blue skies that will cheer you up.
Protect your batteries
All batteries, from the one in your phone to the ones in your camera, perform poorly in extreme cold. Be sure to put your extra batteries in a pocket inside your jacket if you have one, or keep them close to your body and protected from the cold. If something dies unexpectedly, try warming up the battery and powering it back on again.
Have your transportation arrangements pre-planned
The ice festival is a popular tourist attraction in the winter, and it will save you lots of time and frustration to have your transportation plans ready to go. Know how you’re getting in and out of the festival, and take public transportation when possible. At peak times the festival can get quite crowded, and no one likes sitting in a taxi while the meter is running.
Be sure to visit the rest of Harbin as well
This city is sometimes known as the “Oriental Moscow” for its distinctly Russian architecture and overall feel. If you haven’t been to Russia yet, this is a great opportunity to get a feel for what it’s like. If you have been to Russia, it’s definitely an even more interesting comparison since its transformation into a modern Chinese city.
Harbin, when dressed well and planned well, is definitely one of the best places to visit in China during the winter holidays. Check out all you can do in Harbin here!
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