Each year there are dozens of festivals and events world over that truly are worth attending, either as part of a larger visit to the destination that hosts them, or for the event itself. Officially every year on the 5th January, the Harbin Ice Festival begins, though in truth much of it is already on display before, and often well after the festival finishes. What though is the Harbin Ice Festival you ask! That is what we want to let you know about today.
Originally an Ice Lantern festival back in the 60’s it did lapse for a while and has since bloomed again into a massive international event, with Ice Sculptors from the world around descend on Harbin to prove themselves and display their skills with sculpting snow. In the frozen north a virtual city of ice arises, with sculptures ranging from icons to building, which of a night are lit up in a fantastic display. There are also Ski challenges, though these are less visited, the option of visiting Stalin Park, a chance to Ice Fishing, or Ice Swimming if you are as game as some of the locals. It is also a chance to visit the Siberian Tiger Park, a preserve dedicated to increasing the Siberian Tiger population, while not a draw-card in itself to get you to Harbin during the warmer months, during the winter it is a must see visit in connection with the Ice Festival. Harbin also boasts a Pole Aquarium, and is a fantastic chance to see Belugas, Polar Bears, Arctic Foxes and more.
This truly stunning event is limited to the winter season, for reasons that are obvious – Ice after all only lasts so long and under certain conditions – and is definitely the best time to visit the region. It is also a perfect time to combine Harbin with some of the more incredible sights of China, and encounter them in a way many won’t see, such as the Great Wall covered in snow. If this all sounds interesting just continue reading to see a suggested programme for the Harbin Ice Festival!