Bordering Eastern Russia, over the centuries Heilongjiang has been influenced as much by Russia, as it has by its incumbent owners, China. China’s northern most province revels in one of the coldest climates in Asia by celebrating all things snow and ice. The Harbin Ice Festival attracts more and more tourists every year and Yabuli is one of the top resorts for skiing in China. One tip – bring lots of warm clothes!
Harbin sits at the most northwesterly part of China, with Inner Mongolia on the left and Russia to the right. It is the capital city of Heilongjiang Province and is located in the south of the province. Harbin was the birthplace of the Jin (1115-1234) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties, the latter of which had a very considerable influence on modern Chinese history. Located on the meandering Songhua River and in winter subject to severe low temperatures, Harbin boasts a unique ice and snow culture. From this, Harbin has been called the ‘Ice City’. Harbin is also known as the “Eastern Moscow”, as much Russian architecture can be found here.
With the very cold winters, Harbin has become a natural location for an annual ice festival. Held each year from the 5th January until the end of February, Harbin plays host to the Ice Lantern Festival. Here, many local and International sculptors create huge multi-coloured ice lanterns and vivid ice and snow carvings. There is also an abundance of ice-based sports played at this time.
Russia’s influence can be seen first-hand in the Daoliqu district of Harbin. The surrounding buildings, which were built in the early 1900’s, display strong characteristics of Russian architecture and include turrets, cupolas and spires.
Running along the Songhua River, Stalin Park is a popular place for locals and tourists to enjoy a stroll amongst the trees, statues and cafes.
Sun Island Park
On the other side of the river from Stalin Park, Sun Island covers nearly 4000 hectares and includes gardens, forests and a science and Technology Museum.
Siberian Tiger Park
Located adjacent to Sun Island you will find the Siberian Tiger Park. Here, the park has reared more than 500 of these beautiful and endangered pure-bred Siberian Tigers. There will be the opportunity to view many of the vivacious little tigers as well as some of the fierce fully grown tigers.
Discover the history of the Russian Jews who immigrated to Harbin in the early 1900’s.
Yabuli Ski Resort
Yabuli Ski Resort is the largest ski resort in China, with 11 runs and 9 lifts. Located 200kms south-east of Harbin, the ski season here lasts for approx 4 months, December to March.
Jingpo Hu (Mirror Lake) & Diaoshuilou Waterfall
Measuring nearly 50 kms in length, Jingpo Hu, or Mirror Lake, is an extremely popular attraction. Tourists can either take a tour of the lake by ferry or walk around its tree-lined foreshores. Diaoshuilou Waterfall is close to the lake and is 20m in height.
Growing in the craters of volcanoes that erupted 10,000 years ago, the Underground Forest provides more opportunities for hiking.
Zhalong Nature Reserve
Homer to over 250 species of birds, Zhalong Nature Reserve was one of China’s first nature reserves, set up in 1979.Thereserve is over 200,000 hectares in size and attracts birds including four crane species on the endangered list.