Harbin railway station is not quite where the maps put it, being one block east.
The station is farily modern, having replaced a beautiful art-deco station in the 1980s.
There are a number of entrances, which can become chaotic with large numbers of travellers forcing their way through the doors and past the X-ray machine. Take great care with your bags to make sure that an opportunist doesn't disappear into the crowds with them!
The waiting rooms are upstairs, up the main escalators, then along a winding corridor. The soft class waiting room is on the right, just past the indoor ticket office.
No announcements are made in English, but the train number appears on an electronic noticeboard about 30 minutes before departure time, with the platfom number shown below it.
Harbin Airport is 50km south-west of Harbin city centre, along a fast highway. Unfortunately, poor construction techniques make this a very bumpy ride as the road as subsided in many places. Most of the route is very close to the Songhua river and the wet, low soils expand and contract dramatically during the seasons. This is one of the best rollercoaster rides in town.
The airport is heated, but many people head straight for the toilets on arrival to change into heavy-duty cold-weather clothing before even getting to the bus.
There is a regular bus service to the city centre, and plenty of taxis.
China Southern absorbed China Northern in 2004.
I flew from Beijing to Harbin on a MD-83. The flight was about 1 1/2 hour, but we were served lunch, and enjoyed the views of the Great Wall and frozen Heilongjiang.
I actually used the train to leave Harbin, on my way to Beijing.
The Soft Sleeper Waiting Room at the Harbin station was an absolute zoo, with the most piercing announcements you can imagine (in Chinese only, of course). But once on the train, everything was calm, soothing, lulling... next thing I knew we were in Beijing twelve hours later.
Of course Air China.
Their service is okay, but their flight technique is quite good. Their food is okay but they offer no milk only a lot of juice and some soft drinks.
You can buy ticket with travel agnecy at Beijing, Sometimes you can receive 50%~ 70% off. The tiny advert is offered in the city. For domestic route in China, passengers must also undergo identity check. Airport tax is bought inside airport. Domestic route price is RMB50. International route( including flights to Hong Kong and Macau) is RMB90.
If you are not familiar with the street in Harbin, i think it would be a good idea to take taxi. The prices per km of taxi are not the same. From RMB1~RMB1.9. For confort, i think it would be better to take RMB 1.9 per km!
ps The price starts from RMB 8, and no tips required.
I took the soft sleeper from Beijing and turned into a major tourist attraction myself! I was the only foreigner on the train... and a woman at that!
If you can get to sleep you wake up in the middle of the night, to the sound of clunking and clanking. The train moves forward very slowly. Then you realise that your carriage is hanging in mid-air.
All explained by the fact that the Chinese railway gague is different from the Russian one - I heard that this was done deliberately to stop raids into China.
As one of the largest cities in northeast China, Harbin enjoys an ideal geographic location convenient for all means of transportation to and from the city. What's more, Harbin is also one of China's gateways into vast Siberia, Russia and northeast Asia.
Besides convenient air connections with the majority of China's important cities, Harbin has regular flights to cities in Russia, South Korea, and Japan.There are shuttle buses to and from the airport available every twenty minutes at the CAAC office on 224 Zhongshan Lu.
Flights to and from Availability: (days of the week ie. Monday = 1) Flying Time Fare (approximate)
Beijing 1234567 2 hours 770
Shanghai 1234567 2.5 hours 1410
Guangzhou 1234567 4 hours 2030
Chengdu 13457 5.5 hours 1820
Qingdao 1234567 2 hours 760
Tianjin 1234567 3 hours 790
Seoul 135 3 hours
Nigata 15 3 hours
Khabarovsk 246 2.5 hours
Vladivostok 14 3 hours
Harbin is the second largest Railway hub in northeast China after Shenyang. Numerous trains depart and arrive at Harbin everyday. From Harbin, direct trains runs to Dalian, Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan, Changchun,Tianjin and Shenyang. There are also express trains to other provincial destinations in Heilongjiang such as Jiamusi, Qiqihar, Suihuan and Mudanjiang.
There are two major train stations in Harbin; Harbin Main Station and East Harbin Station. Most of the inter-provincial trains use Harbin Station in the northeast of the city on Tielu Jie.You should be able to get to the station in a taxi from most places in the city. The main train ticketing center is in the train station (Train information tel: 6420115). Harbin has a telephone reservation center(Tel:3602828),that you can call to book train tickets.
Into Siberia and Russia: From northern Heilongjiang there are crossing points into Siberia. From Harbin take train Y215 to Heihe (leaves 6.30 pm/12 hours). From here, you can get into Russia (with all the right paperwork).Train Y216 leaves Heihe and heads back to Harbin at 9pm daily. You can also take the train from Harbin to Suifenhe (departs 9.15 pm ) from where a ten hour bus journey will take you on to Vladivostok. Be warned that all these routes are difficult, in almost all aspects. Visas for Siberia and Russia should be arranged in Beijing, although some travelers report that they have managed to get them in Shenyang. To get the Visa, all accommodation in Russia must be prearranged so the whole thing can work out to be pretty costly.
The most straightforward way to get into Russia is on the Trans-Siberian express to Moscow. A trip on this train is a real experience (see Paul Theroux's novel, Riding the Iron Rooster). The train stops in Harbin every Friday morning.
Because of the remote location of Harbin,, it is not easy to travel to and from central China to Harbin by bus. However, regular buses link the city with other provincial capitals such as Changchun and Shenyang. There is also access by bus from here to Mudanjiang,Jiamusi, Daqing and Hegang.
Harbin boasts an established public transportation system. There are over one hundred public bus routes connecting all important spots across the city. The best way to travel by bus is to pick up a local map with all the updated bus routes and schedules as soon as you get to the city. The easiest way to get around is by taxi, there are thousands of taxis on the streets of Harbin,and it should not cost more than RMB20 to reach most destinations across the city.
If time is more important than money, one should definitely fly to Harbin. From Beijing, it took about 80 minutes. After the first temperature shock getting out of the airport, try to find one of those minibusses to get to downtown.
You can get there most easyly by airplane, but also by railway as Harbin is a railway center connecting China to Russia. Some of my contacts arived in Harbin after having taken the train from europe (took them 5 days!).
Taxi's are easy to get and affordable. 10 to 15 Yuan gets you anywhere in the city. The taxi's are equipped with taximeters so there's no discussion about the price. Taxi's are not used to getting tips and if you insist, they think you misundersood the price and give you back your change anyhow.
If you want to use busses, you realy need a local guide. People mostly don't speak english (russian is the second language in Harbin).
There are ferry's and a cablecar to get you to the north side of the river. Wach out for the little private ferry's. You have to negociate the price AND be shure you have a price going and back, else they will charge you again for comming back!
if you live pretty far away from china or harbin, i'd suggest you to take a flight,or if you perfer ships better, either one of them can take you to the land of wonder. or if there isn't any stright flights, you can stop by at begin first and than take another flight or just take a train.
i think the best way for travelers are to take taxis, buses are usually for citizens, or you can travel with tourists.
Harbin has an airport, train station, buses, taxi etc.
In Harbin you can haggle over cab fares. 10 yuan will get you most places