life through the lens
home destinations a-z the big trips about me world beers newspapers updates/links China travel store




Location - Asia; Capital - Beijing; Population - 1.3 billion; Currency - Yuan MORE CHINA

It's about 8 hours by train from the North Korea border to Harbin in the north-east of China, famous for its very grand snow and ice festivals - February 2011.

chinanote1Chairman Mao Zedong on the 5 Yuan note










china543It's amazing to think that this castle, likened to a Disney castle, is built entirely from blocks of ice - Harbin



china539And a few seconds later it changes colour - Harbin $600 Bonus


china546This is the 12th Ice & Snow World, held in Harbin every winter - Harbin














china530It officially opens at the beginning of January and closes mid-February, but preparations begin before Christmas and, provided temperatures allow, continue until the end of February - Harbin














china315A close up of the fluorescent tubes used to illuminate the ice structures - Harbin





china534This time it's a blue ice castle, with what was labelled the 'Dreamlike Stage' behind - Harbin



china508I'm not sure 'Dreamlike Stage' is its real name but it is the biggest - if not the tallest - structure at the festival - Harbin













china497Music is pumped through loudspeakers; fancy listening to Janet Jackson love songs on a 25 minute loop? Harbin














My YouTube video

china505Climb the steps to the stage area and marvel at the ice towers - Harbin



china525..And get a panoramic view of the ice temples - Harbin



china526There's plenty of slides to entertain the kids. And for adults to pretend it's for the kids - Harbin














china528The steps of one of the smaller ice castles - Harbin














Thomson Holidays - Click Here


china477Two fantastic Buddhist snow sculptures. Soothing music is played in this area, and prayer mats are available - Harbin



china511I first saw these glowing trees in Dandong, on the North Korea border - Harbin



china512Ice pagodas - Harbin















china514The Ice & Snow World is held across the Songhua River at Sun Island Park - Harbin














china517When I visited in February the temperature was around -20°C. Get those thermals on! Harbin



china520Behind the windmill are the cafés where you can warm up with a coffee and a hot meal (or Burger King?!) - Harbin


10 FREE Products for business or personal use!


china522Most of the tourists coming to the festival are Chinese, presumably enjoying their Spring Festival holidays - Harbin














china462The Ice and Snow World is busiest in the evening once the lights come on, but it's also worth going in the day to have a closer look at how the structures are built - Harbin














china464The ice is taken from the frozen river close by and then sawn into blocks - Harbin

My YouTube video


china466Buddhist temples have a bell tower, and the ice festival has one of its own, which you can pound with a log to your heart's desire - Harbin



china473The huge snow carving of Buddha was definitely a highlight - Harbin















china472Praying before Buddha - Harbin



















china483Horses and carriages ferry people around the Ice & Snow World complex - Harbin



china485At the top of these steps was a queue for a snow slalom using inflatable tyres - Harbin



china493The sun sets behind an ice tower - Harbin














china495When the sun sets the festival takes on a completely different look - Harbin














china496The ice castle lights are switched on ready for the night visuals - Harbin



china547Carriages await at the entrance to the Ice & Snow World - Harbin


china548 Outside the Ice & Snow World. Tickets cost Y280 (about 33 Euros) - Harbin













china386Also held in Sun Island Park, albeit another section, is the International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. Near the entrance is a reproduction of Mona Lisa - Harbin



china394In 2011 many of the sculptures had an Italian theme; this was one of my favourites - Harbin



china400Any ideas who this is? I'm guessing he's Italian - Harbin














china404Candied fruit outside one of the coffee shops - Harbin















china411Various artists from around the world are invited to contribute to the snow sculpture expo - Harbin



china412I don't know if this has anything to do with Italy but it's unbelievable - Harbin

My YouTube video


china414It's scale is huge - Harbin















china418There was a café close by to enjoy the view in (slightly) warmer surroundings - Harbin














china422Marco Polo and his adventures - Harbin



china423This Korean sculpture was entitled ' Dream car' - Harbin



china428I really like this one - 23rd International Snow Sculpture Art Expo, Harbin















china433And this one's superb. Awards were given to the various category winners - Harbin



















china434A horse and carriage passes in front of one of the larger snow sculptures - Harbin



china436Great characters in this one, a close up of the photo above - -Harbin



china443A ticket for this expo was Y150 in 2011 (about 18 Euros) - Harbin













china448Former Italian striker Roberto Baggio is immortalised in snow (until he melts) -Harbin



















china446The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an obvious Italian connection - Harbin


china293Back in the city itself is the Church of St Sophia, which looks great at night - Harbin















china295The square in front of the Church of St Sophia - Harbin















china297Also in the square is what looks like an open-air market - Harbin



china457And the same to you - Stalin Park, Harbin. This isn't made of snow by the way, it's permanent.


china352Another snow and ice exhibition is based at Zhaolin Park in central Harbin















china302Zhaolin Park hosted the original ice lantern festival many years ago, but those at Sun Island Park have taken over - Harbin















china312I guess this is a café when it's open - Harbin



china313Game of table tennis anyone? Harbin



china317A flower frozen in a block of ice - Harbin


















china318There's a few coloured ice carvings at Zhaolin Park - Harbin














china325Within the grounds of Zhaolin Park is International Ice Sculpture Exhibition - Harbin



china327This is an entry from Thailand - Harbin



china330There's some extremely intricate carvings - Harbin















china333An ice carving of a ballerina - Harbin















china341Zhaolin Park is a small park a few minutes walk from the Flood Control Monument - Harbin



china343If you're going to visit Zhaolin Park I'd say it's best to go before seeing the 2 bigger expos as you're expectations won't be so high - Harbin



china349Go in the late afternoon to see it during daylight and as darkness falls - Harbin















china350A pagoda at the end of an ice walkway - Harbin















china351Entrance to Zhaolin Park is also Y150 - Harbin



china354Zhaolin Park's indoor laser show was pretty impressive - Harbin

My YouTube video



china356While in Harbin I had to make a visit to an Ice Bar.
It was funny to check the temperature and realise it was warmer in the Ice Bar than outside! Harbin














china358Sampling a bottle of Harbin beer in my deerstalker hat - Harbin














china363The Ice Bar was a very foggy place to be - Harbin



china369A violinist carved from (you guessed it!) ice - Harbin



china368Tables and chairs are also made from blocks of ice - Harbin














china372The main shopping street Zhongyang Dajie is a hive of actiivity in the evening. It's full of shops, bars and restaurants - Harbin













china373I don't fancy being a stall owner in the winter - Harbin



china374At first I thought these fruits on a stick were encased in ice, but thankfully it's glazed sugar, more like a toffee apple - Harbin



china376One of the streets off Zhongyang Dajie, the main shopping street - Harbin















Website and content Copyright © 2008-2011 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.


LINKS  - lots of info about China - China tourist board


I am not responsible for the content of external websites.


countries a-z