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“A must see if you are in China in January”

Harbin Ice and Snow World
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Private Day Tour: Harbin City and Ice and Snow...
Ranked #1 of 215 things to do in Harbin
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed January 5, 2013

When we moved to Shanghai, we knew that Harbin was on our must do list. We flew up in the morning, arriving around 12 noon. Taxi to the hotel was RMB 100, drove very carefully, even offered us a cigarette when he lit up, we had to laugh! Our hotel was central and they arranged for us to get a taxi to the Ice and Snow world. This was a process! The driver followed another taxi for some reason, we then stopped somewhere to "buy tickets". Once we arrived, we walked to the entrance and had to wait for the drivers' friend with the tickets - I was not impressed. Then the friend arrived and sent HER friend off to get the tickets. You can imagine my joy at this point, more than 30 minutes in the cold since we'd arrived. Then we had an absolute bun fight getting through the crowded "cattleyard" to gain entrance. It was ridiculous. Once we finally got in, she disappeared and we were free to explore - very bizarre. By now it was pitch black and so cold. We were in several layers of clothing but they were still not enough. We took lots of photos, but didn't go on the slides due to queues and cold bums! There are lots of places to go and get a warm drink and thaw out a little. The first two we went into were so crowded you did not have to buy anything to stay in there. The third place was less crowded so they took you to a table, seated you and gave you a menu. We ordered hot drinks and sat for a while. I didn't visit the bathrooms as I'd heard they weren't great. Our total visit including the wait outside was just on 2 hours, it really is just too cold to stay any longer. We would have preferred to go in the daytime and then stay a short while after it gets dark as another reviewer has said. We paid RMB 330 on New Years Day, its RMB 300 after that. Our taxi waited for us and the whole roundtrip cost RMB 150. I wouldn't do it that way again, as there were plenty of taxis waiting for fares. I would recommend going but we thought we'd dressed appropriately and we were freezing.

6  Thank Redjazz68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 4, 2013

Went here with my girlfriend and it was a good experience. It was 290 rmb when we went. We were told the price was going to be over 300 RMB after Jan 1st, we went on December 31st. If you go here is what to expect!

1) A lot of people.If you want to go on the slide, tube, bike, or anything you will wait. The tube being the longest.

2) It is COLD! About -30C. Dress warm! I wore 3 socks, 3 pants and 5 shirts!

3) It is beautiful! But things are expensive, so bring snacks or drinks if you are cheap!

4) Best time to go is at night since they light up all the ice! But honestly I would go at dusk as there is A LOT to see and do. I believe it closes at 9 so don't go to late. In addition to this it gets dark at about 4:30!

Overall good experience worth seeing if you are there!

4  Thank PresPJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

We went with tour, so we have limited time to really enjoy.
However, it is real~ too cold for me to stay out long to play with their slides or climb the icy stairs.

They have a few resting spots, so probably when you feel too cold, you can head there to warm up yourself.


Thank ESuz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

When to go: The ice festival officially opens on January 5th, but the parks actually open a bit earlier, while the final sculptures are being set up. We were there on New Years Eve, which was great. It felt like this was probably a little bit less busy than after the festival actually gets going in January (although New Years day is a holiday in China, which might make that weekend busier). Overall this felt like a great time to visit - most of the sculptures were finished and lit up, and it was interesting to see the final ones being made. A few features of the Ice and Snow World park weren't open yet (e.g. the theatre, ice bar etc.), but most of the main attractions were done, and the heated huts and cafes were all set up and open.

How long to stay: We stayed for 3 nights - arrived evening of Day 1, did sightseeing in the city and Zhaolin park on Day 2, Ice and Snow World on Day 3, and flew home morning of Day 4 - which was perfect for us and very relaxed. You could easily add in one or two more activities in that time, and/or stay for just 2 nights to see the main sights.

Ticket prices:

Ice and Snow World: On New Years Eve 2012, adult tickets were 290 RMB (which is the price for the "pre-opening", i.e. before the official opening on January 5th), and student tickets were 160 RMB. For student tickets you need to show a student ID both when purchasing the ticket and again when entering the park. I used my student ID from a Chinese university. The tour agency at our hotel tried to sell us tickets for 300 RMB, claiming that this was cheaper than the price of 330 RMB at the park, which turned out not to be true - although their price did include a shuttle bus to and from the hotel, so could still be a good deal for some.

Zhaolin park: 200 RMB for adults, 80 RMB for students

How to visit Ice and Snow World: Ice and Snow World (冰雪大世界) is the main attraction - if you only visit one park, this should be the one. It's on Sun Island (太阳岛, Taiyangdao), and difficult to get to by public transport, although apparently possible to get to by bus (check Google maps for routes). We wanted to get there early enough to see everything both by daylight and at night (it gets dark around 16.30). We took a taxi from central Harbin at around 14.00, entered the park 14.30pm, spent about an hour or so walking around and going on the slides (best to go on those during the day before the park gets too busy). As it started to get dark, we went into the main food building to warm up, and had a coffee and some dumplings (delicious!). Once it had gotten completely dark, we did another round of the park, and were done (too cold to take any more pictures) by around 17.30. We left at around the same time as the main rush of people arriving to the park, which meant that there were lots of taxis coming in - we still had to fight a bit to get one, but ended up getting a taxi (shared with another person) without major problems. If we had gone in the evening, the best way to do it would have been to go on a shuttle bus via the hotel travel agency, which was free if buying tickets via them. That would have left the hotel around 16.30 or 17.00, and picked us up around 21.00 (which is around when the park closed). Friends who left the park around 21.00 and tried to get a taxi said it took them almost 40 minutes to get one, so if going in the evening, having your transportation figured out ahead of time is a big plus.

Taxis in Harbin: Renowned for being difficult to flag down and likely to try to overcharge you. Our experience overall was good, largely because expectations had been set ahead of time. Taxi from the airport was good, went by the meter and drove slowly and safely - the ride cost us 130 into the city centre (including the extra 20 RMB toll that won't show up on the meter). He picked up one person on the way, who then continued on to her destination once we've been dropped off - common practice in Harbin. Taxi to Ice and Snow World was also fine, again went by the meter - 20 RMB from the city centre. Back from Ice and Snow World, we knew we'd have to fight for a taxi - ended up getting one almost right away that we shared with another girl. Taxi driver asked for 50 RMB, and we agreed - Chinese girl paid 50 RMB (was dropped off before us), and we paid 50 RMB. Back to airport, the hotel booked a cab for us, which showed up on time and again was good overall - we paid 150 RMB, which covered the metered fare (about 100 RMB), plus 20 RMB toll, plus extra for the booking.

Clothing: Definitely wear layers. If you're in China, Uniqlo is a good place to buy warm clothes. Temperatures when we were there were between -20 and -30 C, and I felt comfortable in: 2 layers of socks + Ugg boots (bought for 400 RMB on Taobao), 3 layers on legs (thermals, lounge bottoms + soft outer trousers), 5 layers on top (thermal top, long-sleeved shirt, thin fleece, thicker fleece, + thick winter jacket down to the waist), thick fleece gloves (ideal is thin gloves inside thick mittens so that you can take mittens off to take pictures), scarf, and warm hat (best kind are the ones with flaps that go over your ears and warm lining on the inside). Remember that there's ice everywhere, so the ground is slippery - Uggs were fine if walking carefully, but shoes with better grip might be even better.

11  Thank Maria T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 30, 2012

This is indeed the largest ice sculpture exhibition in the world, worth braving the -30 degree Celsius cold to see. The ice sculptures are mostly of life sized buildings and beautifully lit up. It was extremely cold though, so do go prepared with extra camera batteries, transport back to the hotel and keep warm!

2  Thank SingaporeSnow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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