Let’s face it, when you are traveling abroad, is there anything more fun than stumbling across a really good festival? Well, if you are planning on visiting China, mark your calendars for January 5th – February 5th, 2016 for the ultimate ice and snow festival ever! A winter China tour would be sadly lacking without a trip to the grandiose Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, labeled one of the biggest and best ice festivals in the world.
VISITING CHINA IN THE WINTER
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival is held annually in Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China where daytime temperatures are between minus 13-23 degrees Celcius. “Why in the world would I want to visit China when it is that cold?” you might be asking. Just think about it like this. Remember the James Bond movie, “Die Another Day,” where they stay in a dazzlingly beautiful ice hotel and race around in crazy ice sled vehicles? Just times that by 50 and you have the awesomeness that is the Ice and Snow Festival in China. It is completely worth the cold temperatures!
WHAT’S AT THE FESTIVAL?
The festival is spread over a number of locations, each of them themed or targeting a different audience that is visiting China. Some areas are only open during the day, some meant for kids, some open at night sporting colorful light shows, etc. There are 4 main theme parks and all in all, the exhibitions and activities cover about 750,000 square meters. Exhibitions include sculptures, entire ice buildings (e.g. replica of Iceland’s Hallgrimskirkja Church), famous landmarks (e.g. the Great Wall of China complete with ice slides), and more. Last festival there was even an ice maze you could explore at night with the ice backlit in different colors. Does traveling to China get cooler than that? I submit that it cannot! Add to all this that you have numerous competitions or activities happening as well. Due to the festival’s increasing popularity, ice sculpture competitions now include artists from all over the world. There is also the famous ice lantern show, trade fairs, sports competitions, and ice sailing, to name a few. Just image an entire city made of ice and teeming with talented people showing off their skills and mind-blowing exhibits.
PLANNING YOUR CHINA HOLIDAY
If you are interested in attending the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival during your China holiday in 2016, plan to spend a good 3 days in order to take in everything. If you want to elongate your visit to China, a custom China tour that includes the festival is highly recommended. Activities available around the area you can indulge in include ice skating, stays at ice hotels, dogsledding, sleigh rides, skiing, and Siberian Tiger watching. Traveling to China in the winter can actually be a lot of fun, so start planning your China holiday now and get ready to be blown away by the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. Photos from source: complete-india-asia.com, travelskyline.net, hindustantimes.com