Harbin is more commonly known as the Ice City, because of the Ice and Snow Festival that is held here every year. Sitting at the top of north-eastern China, Harbin is the birthplace of both the Jin and Qing Dynasties and offers visitors a fantastic heritage, a chance to get face to face with some big cats, and of course - see one of the most unique ice cities in the world. Have a look through our range of Harbin hotels, and come discover the wonder of this great city!
The Ice and Snow Festival is what has put Harbin on the map in recent years. Once the Songhua River has frozen, over 10,000 workers haul massive blocks of ice from it and use them to construct a dazzling fantasy land of ice and snow that is different every year. Lit up by LED lights, the buildings glow through the night and are an absolute marvel to explore. Plan your trip around early January to check out this festival, and make it a holiday to remember.
In Harbin's old quarter you can explore more permanent structures, so come and see the Russian buildings that were built back in the 19th century. The baroque and byzantine styles offer fantastic architecture, which has all been left unchanged - unlike many other historical areas of China. The cobblestone-lined shopping street of Zhongyang Dajie is a delight, and it feels like you're back in the early 20th century as you browse the stores.
Take a walk through Stalin Park for a peaceful stroll through nature, as you follow the tree-lined walkways along the winding Songhua River. One of the best examples of Russian architecture in Harbin can be seen in St Sophia's Cathedral, which has been converted into the Harbin Museum of Architecture. Check out the exhibits displaying hundreds of vintage photos from the early days of the city. The Harbin New Jewish Synagogue houses a similar display of Jews in Harbin, and has been lovingly restored to its full glory. The most impressive views of the city can be found on the top of Dragon TW Tower, which is the tallest structure in northeast Asia and has a delicious revolving restaurant at the top.
For tiger lovers, the Siberian Tiger Reserve is a must-do. It's the largest tiger refuge in the world, where you can do a tour and be in among these magnificent animals yet safe behind the barred windows of a tour bus! A once-in-a-lifetime experience is to watch what happens at feeding time, as you witness the strength and agility of these massive beasts easily overpower the lesser animals.
Whether you visit Harbin in winter for the festival or during the rest of the year, you'll find plenty to make your stay great. All you need to find is your flight to China, and then book from our range of Harbin accommodation.
Image credit Shanghai killer whale under Creative Commons
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