The guide, Mr Walton Wang, was very accommodating to our requests to try certain restaurants. He also provided a lot of useful information such as where to buy the famous Harbin red sausage. In addition, he even provided us with the local specialities to try out like ma die-er ice cream and the bingtanghulu (iced fruits). The trip whirled past so quickly because both of my friend and I were having so much fun. The accommodation packaged by them was reasonably priced and Mr Tango Tan was responsive to phone calls. Our young driver , despite Chinese speaking, was a cheerful fellow. We had a fabulous time. They also worked late on the second day to accommodate our shopping time. So that was lovely of them.
One tip for those flying in from Hong Kong - if you are flying STRAIGHT from Hong Kong (via Shenzhen Airlines ZH9088 transiting through Yantai) , please make it clear to them that it is an international airport (Guo Ji dao da) . You will also most likely depart from the international airport (we did via ZH9087) - recheck the area before allowing your driver to leave. Make no mistake about that. Harbin has 2 airports - international and domestic - both being 2.5 km apart from each other. We were left waiting there because the driver was waiting at the domestic arrival (Guo nei dao da). It was not the fault of the poor chap because it does say on Harbin airport arrival board that it is Terminal B (domestic airport) but the bus took us to International Arrivals. We didn't get enough sleep and neither did the poor young driver/guide/Mr Tango Tan. So basically it was hard on both sides. The airport personnel were nice enough not to throw us out into the minus 20 degree weather - they waited for us to be found by our driver. It was nice of the personnel as they were due to leave home but stayed on for an extra 15 minutes to see us safely off.
In case you don't know what international arrival look like or have zero mandarin to help -
1. it only has Arrival 1 and 2 doors without any A or B
2. the next tell tail sign is the shuttle bus sign outside telling you when the international bus shuttle takes you to the domestic airport.
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