Known as the “Little Three Gorges of the Yangtze River” or “Little Li River”, Longqing Gorge is the venue for the annual Beijing Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival. It is also called Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival. The festival features ice lanterns, huge ice and snow sculptures, and entertainment areas.
If you aren’t going to Harbin for the bigger Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, Beijing Longqing Ice and snow Festival is a great alternative for winter tour fun.
When to Go to the Ice Festival
Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival is usually celebrated from mid-January to the end of February.
It is open from 9am to 10pm every day. Going during daylight hours is best for the snow and ice activities. Sundown is as early as 5pm.
However, the ice lanterns and sculptures look more brilliant under the colorful lights at night, so the best time to be at the festival is from 5pm to 10pm.
Contact us for more precise date info and travel recommendations.
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4 Top Things to Do at the Ice Festival
1. Appreciate the Ice and Snow Sculptures
Beijing ice and snow festival is smaller than Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, but it has a more private and magical atmosphere.
For the festival, massive blocks of ice are sculpted into all manner of interesting, beautiful, and sometimes spectacular shapes. This includes representations of animals (including mythical ones such as dragons), human figures, and lanterns. There are usually more than 400 ice and snow sculptures, and the most impressive ones are those portraying temples, palaces, and of course, the kids’ favorite: ice castles, which you can walk into.
At the innermost end of the exhibition area, there is a 70-meter-high ice waterfall. The lights behind the ice waterfall make it more charming.
As usual, every year the theme of the festival is different. The theme of the 2020 Longqing Ice and Snow Festival was the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, so Winter Olympics elements were shown in most of the artworks, expressing people’s enthusiasm for the Winter Olympics.
Contact us for more about a 2021 Beijing Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival trip.
2. Admire the Colorful Flower Lanterns
In order to create an artistic atmosphere for the ice lanterns, Longqing Gorge Scenic Area usually installs many unique and colorful flower lanterns on both sides of the main road in and out of the scenic area.
There are also flower lantern displays with the theme of animals, flowers, birds, insects, and fish, with the lanterns forming outlines of different shapes. The surrounded trees are also decorated with LED lights, which look gorgeous from a distance. The mountains around the gorge are also illuminated, making the whole scenic area glittering and bright.
3. Enjoy Ice and Snow Activities and Other Festivities
While seeing the ice and snow sculptures, you can also try the snow sports such as ice skating, an ice slide, and ice fishing.
In addition, there are fireworks (mostly at the opening ceremony), folk dancing, and various pageants, presented on the central stage.
4. Visit Flower Cave
A must-see attraction in Longqing Gorge is Flower Cave. It is decorated with many artificial trees, flowers, and birds. Every room of the cave has a special theme. For example, ‘Springtime Blooming Flowers’ and ‘Northern Scenery’.
It is warmer in the cave than outside in the winter, so it is a good place for you to escape the cold.
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How to Get to Longqing Gorge
Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival is in Yanqing District, about 80 km (50 mi) northwest of Beijing. There is no direct public transportation to Longqing Gorge, so it might be not convenient and comfortable to change and wait for the buses in the cold weather. Contact us for a hassle-free and warm private transfer.
The Badaling section of the Great Wall is on the way from Beijing to Longqing Gorge. This section is the best-preserved and most popular. For these reasons it is preferred by many tourists, and because it is not that steep it makes for an easy hike, which is possible in winter. Badaling doesn’t usually suffer from overcrowding in winter.
You can visit the Badaling Great Wall in the morning and visit the Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival in the afternoon/evening in one day from Beijing. Contact us for more.
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More about Longqing Gorge
During the rest of the winter season, outside the ice festival open dates, Longqing Gorge is closed to tourists, but it opens for the spring-autumn season from April 10th to November 15th.
The gorge is known for, among other things, its bungee jumps. Take an elevator disguised as a dragon to get up the Longqing Dam and from there to the jumping platform. The site is ranked in the best six places to go bungee jumping in Beijing. It is also one of the venues for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Longqing Gorge History
Longqing Gorge is named after Emperor Longqing of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). During Emperor Longqing's reign (1567–1572), the Great Wall was penetrated by a Mongol force. This Mongol force was under the command of the Altan Khan and reached all the way to Beijing itself.
Fortunately, the emperor managed to repulse the khan's army and preserve Beijing and his dynasty from the ravages of the Mongol horde. Later, the emperor, seeking to neutralize the Mongol threat by peaceful means, signed what one might today call a trade and security pact with Altan Khan. Through this agreement, the Khan purchased silk from China in exchange for horses, and a time of peace ensued.
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