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Harbin is in China's northernmost province, bordering Russia and North Korea. Due to its position as a provincial capital and its important geographic location, the government is developing the city's transportation infrastructure to make it a major international transportation and business hub for China, Korea, Russia and Japan.
The city has a central location in Northeast China and has been a transportation hub throughout its history. The city was first built by the Russians to service a railroad route that they built to Vladivostok around the turn of the 20th century. Now, five railways and five major expressways converge in the city.
Harbin is only two hours from Beijng by flight, or eight hours by bullet train. Harbin Taipin International Airport is about 45 minutes' drive from city center. Overall, you'll find that Harbin's air travel, rail, and highway systems allow for fairly inexpensive, modern and rapid transportation.
The Harbin Peace International Airport (Harbin Taiping Jichang) is about 35 kilometers southwest of the central old sector of Harbin where there are the major tourist highlights. It is the second largest international airport in northeast China.
There are shuttle buses and taxies available from the airport to central Harbin. Airport shuttle buses cost about 20 RMB to ride, and taxis are a little more than 100 RMB. You can go to Harbin from Beijing by train or plane. The airport is about 32 kilometers or about 20 miles from the central Daoli district. A taxi ride from the airport takes about 45 minutes or an hour. The flight between Beijing and Harbin takes less than two hours.
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As the railway transportation hub in Northeast China, Harbin is easily accessible and connected by train from most major cities in China. Most of the trains between Beijing and Harbin are overnight trains that leave in the afternoon and arrive early the next morning. There is also a bullet train system operating between Harbin and Beijing. Bullet trains leave Beijing for Harbin each day, and the trip takes about 8 hours.
It is very convenient to get to Yabuli Ski Resort from Harbin. Yabuli is only about 3 hours' drive by car from Harbin city center. Every day, there is a special train that runs between Harbin and Yabuli South Train Station, and the journey takes about 3 hours. The train is clean and comfortable. Yabuli South Train Station is only about 10 minutes' walk from the ski resort.
The public traffic system in Harbin city is well developed, with over 100 bus routes connecting nearly all parts of the city. There are two special tourist routes running pass scenic spots. One departs from Flood Control Monument and ends at Sun Island Scenic Spot. The other passes several tourist spots in city center. Cost for a public bus ticket is 1 or 2 yuan per ticket.
There are several types of taxis, and the cost depends on the type you use, but the price difference is small. Usually, the flag down price is 8 or 9 yuan for the first three kilometers, and then no more than 2 yuan for every additional kilometer.
When you travel by taxi, make sure that the driver turn the meter on or that you negotiate and agree on a price beforehand. If you don't, when you arrive, they are likely to charge their own prices. Also, prepare some small bills, because the drivers are reluctant to break a 100 yuan bill, or sometimes you may get fake money for change. In winter, due to the freezing cold outdoors, taxies are in tight demand, so the taxi driver might pick up some other passengers along the way. There is no need to worry about, you simply need to take care of your belongings, or maybe shoot the breeze with them.
From the airport or the train station, it is better to take a taxi that is waiting in the official taxi waiting line to avoid problems.
To go to Sun Island Park area, Siberian Tiger Park, Ice Lantern Festival and Grand World of Ice and Snow, visitors can take a ferry. There are ferries between Sun Island and the city center area. Every year the operation period of ferries is usually from April 20 till November 10, depending on the river condition. Every day from 5:00 to 17:00, there are 3 ferries go from docks at Jiuzhan (九站), Tongjiang Street (通江街) and Flood Control Monument (防洪纪念塔) to Sun Island. A single ferry ride takes about half an hour.
There is one long-distance bus from Harbin (China) to Vladivostok (Russia), which leaves at 07:00 every day. It takes about 12 hours from Harbin to Vladivostok, running at a distances of more than 750 kilometers (470 miles). Tourists need to pay 500 yuan for a ticket, and passports are needed when they get on the bus.