Home Chinese Festivals Harbin Festivals Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival 2015

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival 2015

  • Celebrated: Jan. 5 to Feb. 5
  • Location: Harbin
Harbin Ice and Snow festival Massive ice sculptures, Harbin

The annual Ice Festival is Harbin's main winter draw. The Harbin International Ice Festival only started about 10 years ago, and it is already one of world's four biggest such ice and snow festivals, along with the famous ones in Sapporo, Norway, and Quebec. Harbin is called “Ice City”, and the winters are bitterly cold, but the conditions are right for the ice festival.

At first, mainly Chinese participated, but in the last few years, it has become an international festival and competition. As the festival grows in international participation, and as China's economy grows, the size of the snow sculpture and ice architecture exhibits keeps growing. The work going into making these exhibits is astounding, and their size and beauty is amazing.

Highlights

Walking around the three venues, you'll see world-record-sized snow sculptures longer than two football fields, and some ice buildings, palaces, monuments, or statues about 50 meters (160 feet) tall, which you can walk and slide around in and on. For example, there was a replica of the Great Wall of China that people could slide on. Many of the architecture replicas have ice slides. .

These displays are technologically sophisticated, using computer controlled LED and regular lighting to put on stunning displays of changing color and design.

When is Harbin Ice Festival 2015?

The festival is officially held from January 5 to February 5 each year. However, the exhibits may open at the end of December and stay to late February. Check with our travel advisor if there are any ice sculptures available if you miss the festival time.

What are the Venues for the Festival?

sun island scenic area Snow sculpture, Sun Island Scenic Area

Ice and snow sculptures will be displayed in three venues: Sun Island Scenic Area and the Ice and Snow World in the suburbs, and Zhaolin Park in the city center.

  • Sun Island Scenic Area only displays snow sculptures, which can be only visited during daytime.
  • The Ice and Snow World displays ice sculptures of huge scale such as palace buildings, the Great Wall of China etc. It is can be visited during daytime and at night when all lights turn on.
  • Zhaolin Park: Small ice sculptures are displayed such as ice lanterns and other magical figures and animals, which are loved by children. It is mostly an ice world focused on kids. There are interesting activities that kids may enjoy such as ice slides.

Tickets

Tickets for the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival and the Ice and Snow World in 2015 are sold according to two time periods: a.m. and p.m. Afternoon tickets seem better value for money (if staying over 6 hours), but few stay for the full nine hours. Children under 1.2 meters enter free.

Morning Tickets (9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)

  • Adults: 150 yuan (25 USD)
  • Children (above 1.2 meters accompanied by an adult): 120 yuan (20 USD)

Afternoon and Evening Tickets (12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.)

  • Adults: 300 yuan (49 USD)
  • Children (above 1.2 meters accompanied an adult): 160 yuan (26 USD)

How to Arrange a 3-Day Tour to See the Festival

Except for the festival, there is not much to see in Harbin. 3 days are enough to arrive/depart and cover all the major highlights in the city in one day. The most popular Harbin Ice and Snow Festival tour is a three-day tour.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Harbin arrival. Private transport and guide from the airport to your hotel.

Day 2: In the morning, visit the Siberian Tiger Park. There are around 100 Siberian tigers roaming freely inside. Travelers can see these tigers at close quarters in a bus with wire-mesh protection. Then stroll along Central Street, a pedestrian area for dining and sightseeing. See the old foreign-style buildings, and have lunch in the street.

After lunch head to the Sun Island Park to see the snow sculptures display. There are massive snow sculptures in various shapes — buildings, celebrities, etc.

Go to the Grand World of Ice and Snow to see eye-dazzlingly ice sculptures at about 4pm, when the lights go on.

Day 3: Harbin departure. Private transport and guide to the airport from your hotel.

You could build more into the itinerary, e.g. Zhaolin Park, on your arrival/departure day depending on your flight times.

See more China highlights's Harbin Ice Festival tours

Traveling from Beijing to See the Festival

Flights

There are plentiful flights from Beijing to Harbin from early in the morning to late night. It takes about 3 hours to get to the Ice Festival sites, including the flight to Taiping International Airport (2 hours) and taxi to the sites (1 hour). A return flight is about 1,000 yuan (160 USD.

Trains

Compared with flights, a train trip can save a lot, and bullet trains are very comfortable. There are five high-speed bullet trains (about 8 hours) and nine overnight normal trains from Beijing to Harbin. See the timetable below for bullet train from Beijing to Harbin

Train Number

Dep./Arr. Time

Duration

Ticket Price


D29

07:00/14:45

7 h 45 m

Second class: 360.5 yuan (59 USD)
First class: 420.5 yuan (69 USD)


G381

08:00/ 15:02

7 h

Second class: 540 yuan (89 USD)
First class: 806 yuan (100 USD)


D25

10:02/ 18:03

8 h

Second class: 360.5 yuan (59 USD)
First class: 420.5 yuan (69 USD)


D101

13:51/22:06

8 h 15 m

Second class: 360.5 yuan (59 USD)
First class: 420.5 yuan (69 USD)


D27

15:15/ 23:14

7 h 59 m

Second class: 360.5 yuan (59 USD)
First class: 420.5 yuan (69 USD)


Tickets may be in big demand during the festival time so we always remind our customers to book their tickets in advance if they do want to do it themselves (bullet train tickets begin to sell 20 days in advance). If you book a tour with us, we will do all that for you. Our travel advisor will choose the best available trains to fit your schedule.

Travel Essentials

xuexiang

Sub-Zero Clothing: In Harbin in winter the temperature is from -25°C (-13°F) to -10°C (14°F), and that's without wind chill! Hence thermal underwear, gloves, (scarves, earmuffs), hats, (face masks), and thick arctic clothing and boots are necessary. If you have ski boots they would be ideal.

Wear sunglasses, or better still snow glasses, to prevent snow blindness.

Drink plenty of fluids: Despite the cold it is very dry in Harbin (average humidity 2%).

Frostbite prevention: If your hands or feet start feeling chilled, do some exercise to warm them up or go indoors. If your hands, feet, ears, nose, or other extremities lose feeling due to the cold, don't toast them or wash them with hot water. Ideally retreat to a warmer indoor environment, and rub them vigorously to restore circulation slowly.

Protect your camera batteries: The average January high in Harbin is -13°C (8°F). The cold saps battery life. Usually a fully-charged camera battery will last for 50 photos (without flash), but in these cold conditions around 25 is good. If you take the battery out and warm it for a while, you may be able to take another ten. You can try repeating this action. It is also recommended that you keep your camera inside your down jacket when not use it. If you want to take lots of photos prepare more batteries for your camera, and keep them warm.

Taxis: In Harbin (and the rest of China), if you use a taxi, make sure that the driver turns the meter on. If you don't, when you arrive, they will charge you their own price! Also, carry small denomination bills, because you may be handed fake money if you try to get change. From the airport or the train station, it is better to take a cab that is waiting in the official taxi waiting line to avoid problems.

More Topics on Harbin Travel