Where to go for an ice and snow festival?
If I have to choose between hot and cold weather-- I'll raise both my hands and feet, and say, HOT!!!
My body is made for the tropics. Thankyouverymuch! ;)
But on January 2013, I braced the coldest temperature my body can ever take-- -25'C! Weee!
I went to Harbin, China for their Ice and Snow Festival that takes place every Chinese Spring Holiday.
Since, I wasn't leaving the mainland for the Chinese Chunjie (New Year), I decided to go there.
www.ctrip.com-- probably has the best travel deals within China. And true enough, I paid CNY 1,800 for my round trip air flight and hotel accommodation to go to the Northeastern part of China.
I was able to convince my co-league slash housemate slash baker friend slash party organizer buddy, Wilbur.
Together, we explored the foreign city which is almost close to Russia!
St. Sophia Church is an edifice that says more about the Russian influence in this part of China.
Harbin is the capital city of Heilongjiang Province and this is China's original and greatest ice artwork festival, attracting hundreds of thousands of local people and visitors from all over the world.
I did not stand the cold in Harbin.
I kid you not, I was wearing five layers on top, three layers of pants, and four layers of socks! I had to beg Wil to get inside a store, or a coffee shop, or a mini restaurant just to get warm. I also brought a mini faux fur blanket just to keep my hands from the chill. (See pictures below.) Brrrr!
The main tourist attraction is the Ice and Snow World being one of the world's largest ice architecture parks.
It is open from 12:00- 21:00 and had an entrance fee of CNY 330. You need to visit it at night to see the multicolored lights that illuminate to each ice and snow sculptures.
The place was massive and each ice sculpture is humongous!
For photo ops, Wil and I are asking random strangers or taking turns just so we can capture the whole place!
There are two other ice parks to visit, but I couldn't take walking around, in the cold so we settled with Ice and Snow World. They are all accessible on foot or by bus: Ice and Lantern Garden Party (14:00-21:30 CNY 200) and Sun Island Scenic Area (8:00-17:30 CNY240). You can also go skiing to Yabuli International Ski Resort .
Another tourist attraction in Harbin is the Harbin Siberian Tiger Park. It is the largest natural park for wild Siberian tigers in the world at present.
We've seen wild tigers next to our caged vehicle and walking through a caged corridor, eating their poor prey-- live chickens!
Downtown Harbin (both day & night) looks a lot like this. Since, it's snowing almost every day, the snow ground is too slippery to walk on.
Oh, don't forget to try the Russian food while you're out there. It was my best paid Cream of Mushroom soup! Ever!