Head to the Harbin Ice Festival for an ultra-cool time.
Why should you go?
China’s tourism industry has been preparing for increased numbers of visitors for years; Beijing has already been awarded the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. The country’s getting ready to up its winter sports game, so if you’re a keen skier or snowboarder, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to sightsee and enjoy some fun snow activities.
Don’t miss the pistes at the world-famous Jihua Ski Resort - the slopes cater for beginners and more advanced skiers. When you’re having so much fun, it’s easy to be momentarily distracted - who hasn’t crossed their skis and toppled over? If that happens, rest assured, Columbus Direct’s ski and snowboarding insurance will be there to get you back on your feet!
When is it?
February 2017 - dates are yet to be confirmed.
Harbin City, China.
How much are the tours?
Prices vary for each individual tours, and the prices for 2017 tours have not been announced yet. However, you’re looking in the region of £450 for a three-day tours, and in excess of £600 for a five to six day tour. They’re great value for money - many of the tickets include private transfers, entrance fees, meals, a tour escort, accommodation and service charges.
The 5-Day Harbin Winter Adventure Tour is recommended for people who want to make the most of their time exploring the festival. You’ll be able to explore the beauty of Harbin City, see China's Snow Town and Snow Charm Avenue and explore Yangcaoshan Mountain.
By day four, you’ll have arrived in Sun Island, where the International Snow Sculpture Art Expo is held. This is where you’ll truly be wowed. Not only will you be able to marvel at massive snow and ice sculptures, you’ll also be able to enjoy a safari-style trip with Siberian tigers and explore the Snow and Ice World.
The latter is a frozen theme park, with illuminated ice buildings - remember your gloves and some thick boots, as there’s no escaping the cold. Mind you, with so much to see and do, you may not notice the chilly climate!
How are the ice blocks made?
You may wonder how the enormous blocks used to make the buildings are put together. It’s no easy feat; the ice is taken from the frozen surface of the Songhua River, then cut into chunks using swing saws. The pieces are then carved by ice sculptors, who use chisels, ice picks and special saws. The sculpting team work day and night in the run-up to the festival to ensure that everything looks great, and is ready for visitors.
Deionised water is used to create the transparent blocks; these are better able to reflect the multicoloured lights. The level of detail is a major talking point for visitors - in the past, sculptures have included animals, mythological creatures, ice slides and lanterns.
What are people saying about it?
@mayavision “We loved filming at Harbin Ice Festival for Chinese New Year. #thestoryofchina”
@HanDaviesxo “I need to go to the Harbin Ice Festival one year. It looks incredible! #cityofice”
@MehLeonRoss “Seeing the Harbin Ice Festival has to be something I need to do in my life.”