Thursday, February 2, 2012

Winter in China: Harbin Ice & Snow World


The famous ice sculptures that people visit Harbin to see is found at Ice & Snow World. Similar to Sun Island Park, it's located across the Song Hua River and is a 15 minute cab ride away. Ice & Snow World is the most expensive of the three parks costing 300 Reminbi per person. There also are various organized tours to Ice & Snow World offered by most hotels in Harbin that costs the same as an entrance ticket but includes transportation to and from the park. Unless you are concerned about transportation because of language, I would not recommend using the tours as they only spend about two hours at the park.


Ice & Snow World is recommended to be visited at night to see the colorful lights from the numerous sculptures that are lighted even though it is actually open for the whole day. They usually turn on the lights to the sculptures around four in the evening when it is about to get dark. We got to the park way early by two in the afternoon with the cab driver who took us was questioning our sanity for getting there so early.

Arriving early turned out to be a good idea for a number of reasons. First, the park was pretty empty when we arrive so we pretty much had most of the park to ourselves. Ice & Snow World also has some ice slides and rides and there were virtually no lines for this which was good.

The best part of the visit was seeing the ice sculptures right as the sun was setting and the lights were turned on. The sky was a beautiful purplish pink color and was a sight I'll never forget.

Sure enough, the crowds started to arrive when it got dark. We caught one of three available shows that was performing before heading back. We got lucky and manage to hop in a cab pretty quick as we found one who was dropping someone off.

Catching a show

Ice & Snow World made the freezing cold visit to Harbin worth it. Some final tips for those planning to visit:
  • Dress appropriately! It's freezing cold.
  • Don't bother with the organized tours.
  • Arrive around 2-3 pm so as to miss the crowds and to be able to see the sculptures during the day and especially during sun set.
  • There are plenty of cafes where you can hide out and get a rest if it gets too cold. Another option would be catching one of the shows at the park.
  • Leave Ice & Snow early preferably ~1-1.5 hours before closing so that you stand a better chance of quickly getting a cab. You don't want to be leaving the same time as everyone else!


  1. Hi. can i know when is the best month to visit Harbin in winter

  2. Hi.. thanks for the beautiful pictures and sharing.. may i know which month you went. i m planning on 1st Dec to 8th Dec.. not sure if there are anything to see..