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Ways to Experience Ice Festival Harbin
from $210.00
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Reviewed January 13, 2020

Our VET guide was wonderful! We spent 2 days experiencing Harbin including Tiger World, Snow and Ice Festival, Playing on the Songhuajang River and shopping in Zhongyang Pedestrian street.. It was amazing. I can't say enough about VET travel. No annoying your guide that talked all the time. You were able to relax and enjoy things at your leisure. Best your group to use by far.

Date of experience: January 2020
Thank jmahaffey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2020 via mobile

We had a fantastic day there today. I suggest you arrive at 3 to look around during the daylight ( a very different visual experience from the nighttime) and stay for 3-4 hours. Lifts start to come one about 3:30-3:45. There are plenty of places to warm up, eat and there are many reasonably clean restrooms inside as well. Bring with you hand warmers and foot warmers ( or you can buy them inside the bathroom at the parking lot, before entering the festival, all the locals are stripping down there and putting them on). Tickets are pricey, about $40 for a single visit or $65 for a two-visit ticket. Download DiDi app ( local Uber) before traveling to China: it’s the cheapest , easiest and nicest way to get around. DiDi takes international debit cards, use premium cars when ordering ( only a few cents more expensive but nice cars and drivers),very reliable, much better than US uber . Download a free VPN on your phone so that you can get your gmail, e-mails, news, Instagram, etc when in China. No one in Harbin speaks English, so use google translate

Date of experience: January 2020
Thank yulka73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2019

The Ice World is amazing. Take a look to the buildings from all over the world built by ice and lighten from inside. It looks sooo beautiful. Fantastic to see. This place is really magic.

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank hucky61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2019

I spent 9 days on a trip run by On the Go Tours including Beijing, Longman, Xian and the Harbin Ice Festival and then back to Beijing.
Go to these places, but I would advise you to avoid this tour operator like the proverbial plagues.
First, when I got to Beijing after 2 days of travel, there was no one at the airport with my name on a piece of paper.
That anxiety-producing fiasco took 3.5 hours of difficulty that would have been completely avoided if the guide had my name on a piece of paper. She later had the audacity to say that it was my fault because I should have recognized the flag she SAYS she was holding with the company logo on it. No flag, absurd excuse.

Next, since I was there early, I made friends with several couples on the other bus (of two). They and I wanted to travel together but I was not permitted to ride on the bus that had my new friends. The other guide, Fang, said that the other group voted and did not want me. That was an out and out lie according to all 6 of the other people involved. How insulting and inappropriate.

Next, although the guide for the other bus of travelers and her local guides were information rich, our guide was not. She preferred to speak on the phone, speak with the driver, speak with the local guide or simply tell us that we could "take a rest".
As it happened, our local guides were equally dismal, so much so, in fact, that I told the local guide in Xian after he babbled inconsequential nothings at us for more than an hour that I was not interested in whether his wife liked to cycle or not but I was very interested in the history, culture, architecture, folklore, cuisine and so on of this rich and historical area. I directly told him that neither he nor the national guide were giving us what we wanted and I was personally unhappy. Things got no better. But they were just as bad with the other local guides and our national guide was absolutely no help.

Next, the planning was terrible.

Harbin was -30 C. That is cold. We were dropped off at the Ice Festival for 4 hours and the meeting place had no place to sit down to wait. In fact, we were told its name in Chinese and it was not until I specifically asked to be taken to the spot, rather than told its name in another language that none of us spoke, did we get to see it and take a picture of it.

There were shows and events taking place indoors at the Festival. We were not told about any of them. Not only might we liked to have seen them but we might have found it useful to get out of the cold. No though, no consideration, no interest.

When some of us said that we would like to take a taxi back from the Festival to the hotel we were told that it was too much trouble for the bust to pick us up on the way to the Hot Pot although the bus would pass the Hotel, unless the group voted to pick us up. What????

This was our New Year's Eve Festive Dinner. Really? Too much trouble? I questioned that and was told that it was that way and would not change.

Next, we found our way to the Hot Pot Dinner down a very long, very slippery and very dangerous set of carpet-covered stairs. We got to the door of the restaurant and were told that we were in the wrong place. It was now night, dark, very cold and very upsetting. We were required to walk a long distance down a very dark and poorly maintained uneven walkway to an icy fire escape-type stair case which we then climbed to what appeared to be a back entrance to a corridor of hot pot rooms.
We were ushered into the rooms by about 10 people so we could not sit with our friends and there received the most awful service and terrible food I have had in recent memory.

I am still waiting for some hot tea. The water came as we were leaving.

The food was worse than dismal. None of us could eat it, or wanted to.
The dinner took hours because of the terrible service.
We were told that the signature must-have of this meal was preserved garlic. We asked for it and were told that there was none. That was just one tiny example of the whole dismal event.

That was the worst meal that we had, but the food we were served for lunch and dinner, for example, Christmas dinner, was horrible tourist food of the quality and type I would never eat at home.'
It was, in short, cheap and poorly prepared. I am appalled.

The breakfasts were generally quite nice because the hotels prepared them.
Shopping excursions were embarrassing: over priced tourist junk being passed off as great value and wonderful quality.

At no point did the guides acknowledge that they were receiving commissions, but we were asked to buy Chinese chops and books and photos and what not in a highly enthusiastic way. It would have been great if the enthusiasm to tell us things were anywhere near as high.

The time at Sun Island was similarly poorly planned. So was the time at the Longman Grottos.

The bike ride on the wall at Xian was rather pointless but those of us not riding expected that the guide would walk with us and give us information. We were sadly mistaken.

This pattern of poor planning and disinterest was, unfortunately, the unbroken rule throughout this whole dismal trip.

I will never recommend On the Go Tours to anyone and would, in fact, like half my money back.
I did stay in the hotels, ride the grain, fly on the plane and ride on the bus. But the rest of my experience was not worth paying for. spent 9 days on a tour from Beijing to Xian to Longman to Harbin and back to Beijing run by On the Go Tours.
The places are of great interest, but the commentary and information we got was virtually absent.

Date of experience: December 2018
3  Thank DrRima2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2019 via mobile

Beautiful to view as the sun goes down. Be in awe of the structures, enjoy the free activities - slides, ice skating etc it is truly a frosty version of Fairyland. Just ensure you are completely rugged up as it is very, very cold!

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank michellet76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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