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Sun Island (Harbin) — Snow Sculptures and Fine Parkland

Sun Island (Harbin) — Snow Sculptures and Fine Parkland

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Aug. 17, 2023
the sun island. International snow sculpture art exhibitionSnow sculpture on Sun Island

Sun Island Scenic Area is the second biggest venue of the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. It also has a zoo for Siberian Tigers. It has become Harbin's main parkland / recreation area and is used all year long.

The island is in the Songhua River and is about 3,800 hectares (14 square miles) in size. It is connected to smaller islands. It is best known as the snow sculpture display and competition area of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, but there are other highlights on the island all year around.

  • Typical touring time: 3–4 hours
  • Best seasons: winter and summer

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Winter Highlights — Giant Snow Sculptures Display

snow sculpture art exhibitionOne of Sun Island's smaller snow sculptures

In the winter, the island is the venue for many square miles of giant snow sculptures. It is the snow sculpture display venue of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival competition, also known as Harbin Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. These 3-D images are gigantic. In 2007, one measuring 250 meters in length became the world record holder for the biggest snow sculpture.

The snow sculptures are made from compacted snow so that they can preserve their form and bear weight. They are quite intricate and award winning. Unlike the better known ice sculptures, these are not lit up at night and are best seen in sunlight. Most visitors can't see all of them because the scale of the display is simply too big for an average person to visit on foot on one visit.

Siberian Tiger Park: Winter is also the time to see scores of Siberian tigers in their favorite element. Along with the Siberian Tigers, there are also Bengal tigers, lions, and other species of cat.

Spring to Fall Highlights — Frozen Sculptures and Green Parkland

In the rest of the year, the main highlight is a giant refrigerated Ice Lantern Exhibition Hall. It is more than an acre in size, and preserves ice sculptures all year through. Most foreign tourists think it is the main attraction.

But many bikers, joggers, and sightseers like exploring the green treed parkland, ponds, and water courses. There is a Russian Village theme area, Squirrel Island with many species of animals to see, an artificial waterfall, and groves of trees. Bike riding around the area is a popular summer recreation,

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How to Plan Your Harbin Tour

A Harbin tour including a Yabuli skiing trip typically needs 6 days, including one or two days to explore the main sites of the Ice and Snow Festival and Harbin city.

See our suggested one-day itinerary for a Harbin Ice and Snow Festival tour:

  • Siberian Tiger Park and Central Street
  • Sun Island — appreciate exquisite snow sculpture art
  • The Ice and Snow World — wander in the colorful ice fairyland in the evening

If you want a skiing experience too, see:

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Travel Essentials for Sun Island

  • Ice and Snow Festival dates: December 21 to February
  • Open: 8:30am to 7pm (non-Festival times: 8am to 5pm)
  • Tickets: RMB 240 per adult regular ticket (non-Festival times: adults 30 RMB)
  • How to get there: Bus 88, 85, and 80 go to Sun Island Station. Then you can take a cable car there.
  • Weather forecast: January Harbin Weather and Forecast
harbin ice and snow worldThe Ice and Snow World is about 1½ miles from Sun Island.

Other Ice and Snow Festival Venues

The Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is best known for giant ice sculptures that are lit up with various lighting technologies. 

  • That most popular ice sculpture venue is Ice and Snow World.
  • Zhaolin Park in Harbin features smaller intricately carved ice lanterns that are lit up at night too.

Recommended Harbin Winter Tours

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If you are planning a Harbin tour, please see our recommended customizable tour plans below for inspiration:

Or contact us if you have any questions or other requirements.

Contact us for updated travel information

Contact us for updated travel information

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