Every winter, millions of travelers flock to the northern Chinese city of Harbin to brave the bone-chilling cold weather and view more than 2,000 giant frozen replicas of heritage buildings. Participate in a swimming competition in the frozen lake and climb the ice castle. To quote one visitor, it’s like “Disneyland in winter.” On January 5, Harbin hosts one of the world’s largest winter festivals, called Harbin Ice Festival, two month long eventConsisting of four theme parks, the park covers an area of a staggering 750,000 square metres. It is considered one of the best snow and ice festivals in the world, along with Sapporo’s Snow Festival, Norway’s Ski Festival and Quebec’s City Carnival. Read on for information like Harbin Ice Festival dates and activities worth pursuing.
Harbin Ice Festival 2023
Harbin Ice Festival 2023 started with fireworks on the opening day i.e. 5th January. Like every year, the event included four theme parks, namely Harbin Ice and Snow World, Harbin Wanda Ice Lantern World, Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo and Zhaolin Park Ice Lantern Fair. The Harbin Ice Festival 2023 included impressive replicas of world-famous, sights such as the Colosseum in Rome and the Athenian Acropolis. The price of entry tickets was increased to Rs 3381/-. After sunset, the ice sculptures glow in myriad bright colors like neon green and pink. 34 teams of artists from 16 countries participated wholeheartedly in the 3-day sculpture competition. Along with their sculptures, you’ll also find several snow-themed restaurants inside the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival: Top 5 Highlights
A major attraction of the festival is the swimming competition. Even though the temperature drops to -1 °C in winter in China, people still dive into the river. Read on to know the top 5 highlights of this event:
1. Harbin: Marvel at thousands of snowmen
More than 2,023 snowmen were put on display on the frozen Songhua River at this year’s Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. Snowmen wear flags of different nations. Snowmen are huge in size. There are some ice sculptures in the program that can rival these snowmen in terms of size. You can take a walk among these snowmen or click pictures with the one holding your country’s flag.
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2. Harbin: Ride a snow bike
Visitors can ride ice bikes at the Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. The main ice sculpture on display stands at a height of 108 feet. If ice biking does not meet your needs, you can go for other activities like fishing, skiing, ice-sailing, ice hockey, ice football, painting, calligraphy, dance performance and speed skating.
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3. Harbin: Get married
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival holds a mass wedding ceremony every year. This year 47 couples tied the knot. The wedding ceremony takes place in a giant ice palace built for the occasion. If getting married in an ice castle has been your childhood dream, relive it by visiting the event with your partner and getting married.
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4. Harbin: Swimming in subpolar temperatures
Chinese citizens and tourists of all ages come together to participate in the swimming competition. Over a hundred people registered for the event this year, a huge jump from last year’s numbers. About 40% of them were 55 and older. They competed against each other in backstroke and breaststroke. Various visitors to China have been quoted as saying that they begin training for the event several months in advance.
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5. Harbin: Participate in an ice carving competition
The ice carving competition is held at the Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. Participants use shovels and sandpaper to carve animals, castles, and human faces from four million cubic feet of ice. This is one of the most popular events among children and young adults at the Harbin Ice Festival.
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Harbin Ice Festival Tours
Top Harbin Ice Festival tour packages are designed keeping in mind the general preferences of tourists. Most tours cover the Harbin Ice Festival in China such as Sun Island, St. Sophia Church, Ice and Snow World, and Central Street. You can choose a 3 day or a week package. It would be ideal to spend at least 6-7 days in Harbin. Make sure to book your flights early. Ask your tour guide if they include flights in their tour packages.
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Experience the Harbin Snow Festival in all its frozen glory on your trip to China in January. We suggest you book your travel early to avail exciting discounts and offers. Make sure you remain open to new experiences and embrace Chinese culture wholeheartedly. We also highly recommend you pack several thermal and waterproof clothes. Apart from taking a break from your everyday life, you will make memories at this celebration that will last a lifetime.
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