China Guide

Harbin Festivals – Guide to Harbin Ice Festival

Harbin Festivals

Winter is a great time to visit Harbin as there are incredible snow and ice related activities to keep you entertained.

Because of Harbin’s intensely cold winters, the city has honed in on its natural resources and runs many ice and snow festivals, parties and resorts to make the most of the sub zero temperatures.

Each year Zhaolin Park transforms into a wonderland of fantastically lit sculptures as it is the main location for the winter Harbin festivals. Sculptures inundate the land from small statues to life size buildings and temples for the famous Ice Festival. To catch the festival in all its splendour, time your visit to include the dates in between January 5th and February 25th.

The best ice artwork exhibitions can be seen at the Harbin Ice and Snow World, during the Ice Lantern Garden Party and on Sun Island.

The Harbin Ice and Snow World is the world’s largest ice and snow exhibition by a long shot. Each year a new theme is conjured up meaning the festival is constantly evolving and displaying different artworks meaning each year provides a unique experience even for those that return year after year. Make sure you return to Ice and Snow World in the evening when the sculptures are brilliantly lit up creating a charming colourful dimension to the exhibition. The ice is not all that will keep you entertained, with themed performances on show throughout the event that usually takes place in December or January.

The Ice Lantern Garden Party is another event not to miss as it is the largest exhibition of its kind in the world. Again held at Zhaolin Park, well over a thousand ice lanterns are on show. Seven Guinness World Records have already been created here, perhaps one of the reasons why more than 30million visitors have come to view the Ice Lantern Party over the years.

Each year, walking or go carting across the river to Sun Island you can see the Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. You can further experience the wonderful art of ice with some incredibly artistic exhibits especially within the Ice and Snow Art Hall.

If you want to be in the snow rather than observing it, head to Yabuli International Ski Resort. This resort is China’s biggest and considered one of the best also, hosting many professional competitions. There are two ski areas on the resort, a place for the professionals and a place for those just seeking a leisurely ski. Alternatively there is a slide that takes you from the top of the mountain to the base, a very enjoyable activity for the whole family. The best time to head to the resort is between November and March when the snow is at its best.

Harbin is probably one of the best places to be during winter with the festivals and ice parties as well as all the other activities associated with snow. Try your hand at ice rock climbing or ice archery or even participate in a friendly snow fight! The whole city turns into a winter wonderland with ice sculptures lining the streets and ice artists from around the world who come here to compete for the best sculpture.