Harbin Ice Sculptures, Harbin
We didn't make it to Ice and Snow World for various reasons, but we do regret it. We tried several times during the day, but taxi drivers refused, point blank, to take us, saying it is open only at night. It's not, it's open during the day as well, but there's no correcting the world's taxi-drivers. They know everything, and you are stupid if you disagree with them. Sigh.
The sculptures are supposed to be incredible, and given the prowess of the snow sculptors at the Sun Island Resort, we can wll believe it.
The Zhaolin Park is small, but worth visiting for the spectacular ice sculptures, displayed during thee winter months.
It would be nice to know how they do all these sculptures, but the attendants look at you blankly if you ask questions. Life would certainly be much richer for them without all these damn tourists asking nosy questions.
The ice sculptures on the streets are good, but this is where they start to get really great. Aircraft carrier, submarine, life-size pagodas, temples, animals, ships, trains, statues of unknown people.....all fantastic, and most of them are lit from the inside.
We were confused before we went to Harbin about where to see ice and snow sculptures. This marginally improved once we were there. Chinese tourism marketing and newspaper reporting is so vague that it is often impossible to work out what is on, where or when.
Ice sculptures can be found all over Harbin during winter, with many just sitting by the roadside.
The most spectacular ice sculptures are across on the north bank of the Songhuajiang at "Ice and Snow World", a commercial 'theme park'. For various reasons, we were unable to get there at all during our visit. Note that taxi drivers will simply refuse to take you there during the day. This is obviously mainly a night place, as the sculptures are lit up from inside.
In town, Zhaolin Park has some awesome sculptures, but we were particularly irritated at being charged full adult rate for our two children (who are both over 1.2m tall). However, we do believe it is worth it to see these enormous sculptures, including a huge aircraft-carrier, life-size seven-storey pagodas and a 1/4 size submarine. There are hundreds of sculptures in this park.
Out at the temple complex at the far northern end of Dong Dazhi Jie, the street outside the temple has a lot of particularly good religious and humorous sculptures, including one of three men sitting on a row of toilets.
The ice sculptures along Zhongyang Dajie are a bit tame in comparison to these others.
For snow sculptures, the main place is Sun Island Resort (Taiyang Dao) on the north bank of the Songhuajiang, not far from the Ice and Snow World Complex, but these are definitely best seen during the day. They are simply incredible, and once seen will never be forgotten. At Taiyangdao, it is not just the size and quality of the carving, but the artistic merit of the compositions. This is not just 5o foot high sculptures of Mickey Mouse or Mulan: the 200 foot long sculpture of King Neptune surrounded by nymphs, crashing waves and sea-animals was just astonishing.
well i wouldnt say a "must see", its worth a look if you are already up here in harbin
otherwise stay down south, its hotter!
the festival is a tourist rip off now, used to be much better, but everything costs money nowadays
10 yuan for this, 10 yuan for that
dont get me wrong, its still cheap, but it aint fun!
this year (2004/5) i noticed far less people there, thats the result of overcharging!
You should go to Zhaolin Park at about 3pm, before it turns dark. When sun sets, the entrance fee goes up 4 times, from 10Yuan to 40Yuan.
You can see the difference before and after the lights are lit up, bearing with the cold.
This famous festival takes place in Harbin from January to February, during the bitter chinese winter, and it is worth of a visit indeed, despite of the bitter cold.
The park is located near the banks of river Sanghua, where a variety of figures are constructed using only ice blocks.
Some of them are models of great chinese and western buildings, human figures, dragons and budas...
Simply amazing to visit it and to see with your very eyes what can be build using simply ice.
There are three main locations for the Snow and Ice Festival.
The most frozen-moon like is Bingxue Gong, on the North Bank of the Songhua River. It is extremely cold. With the bright lights, it is almost a near death experience.
This is where the largest ice structures are.
The lantern Festival is often billed as the major must see in harbin in Winter.
I don't have any photos as they didn't come out but you can see a lot on other pages.
I thought it was REALLY tacky !
Be warned, it's cold in there
There is one reason, and one reason only to travel to Harbin in the winter ... that is a most fantastic Ice sculpture festival. When I went it started on January 5th (2000)... be prepared: it's freezing (minus 20 - 30) so don't touch metal or you'll be stuck there till spring! You need to visit at night (it's illuminated) and during the day you can wander through the old streets which have amazing Russian domes.
There are 2 main areas where Ice carving festivals are held. They are at Zhaolin Park, and the other one is much bigger and located just across the river. Unfortunately, I do not know the name in English.
A carving of the Pyramid in Mexico.
lots people said that. It is definitely the first must see activity. The open time varies. We have to wait until the coldest time comes , right? Usually starts in January 5th and lasts till February. At night the sculptures are illuminated from inside with colorful lights. So the cleverest way is going there at late afternoon and stay in the park until the dark and lights on, in this way, you can see the Ice in two style : day time white style and night-colorful style.
The Ice Lantern Festival is the biggest event in the area. Look at the Magnatude of these Ice Buildings is what I have to call them.... They are massive.
The duplicate of the Great wall on the right was in fact a 300+ metre ice slide.
If you go to Harbin in December, before the Ice Lantern Festival in Jan/Feb, you'll get to watch as the sculptures come to life. Huge blocks of ice are transformed before your eyes into horses, dragons and the Olympic rings - just to mention a few.
By day the sculptures look impressive, with their size and detail. By night they truly come to life with the inner glow of the lights adding colour to what was a black and white picture.
Ice Lantern Festival
Also known as 'Ice City', Harbin is most famous in China for its winter scenery and bitterly cold temperatures that accompany the freezing environment. The average winter temperature here is as low as minus 20 to minus 30 degrees C. Make sure you come prepared with plenty of winter woolies!
The Harbinese however, really know how to exploit and make the most out of their situation and have a long tradition of using ice and snow in an amazingly creative and varied number of ways. Frozen lakes are used as natural skating grounds, ground snow is used instead of a refrigerator and even the frozen Songhua lake was once used as a highway.
Ice sculptures first came into being as a traditional Chinese art form during the early Qing dynasty some 350 years ago. Over time, various types and shapes of sculpture have been designed and developed, all enhancing the status of this somewhat unusual art form so that today the annual Ice Festival is televised nationwide, attracting millions of viewers.
Making the ice sculpture is a relatively straight forward process, especially in these freezing temperatures. When the idea first came into being, a colored lantern was placed inside a carved ice block, to make a lantern-like structure. Various techniques have been applied and developed over the years, making the lantern into a more intricate and interesting shape. Designs today include ice flowers, ice buildings (from the Taj Mahal to the Eiffel Tower), ice carvings and life-size figures.
Today, the annual Ice Lantern Festival is held in Harbin from the 5th of January to the end of February. During this time, thousands of ice lanterns,carvings and buildings are exhibited and paraded on huge floats through the city. This is a great experience and even the most cynical visitor cannot fail to be impressed by the sheer size and scale of work that goes into producing many of the sculptures.
I talked about it in the previous tip but ran out of room for the photographic evidence. Here it is. Be careful (not only for poo) about where you walk as the ground is very slippery.