Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Hey guys, so before you read this post, prepare yourself for the photo overload of our trip to Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. Looking back through our China experience so far, I realised I haven’t shared our trip to Harbin trip yet so I wanted to share our experience. I use this blog as a little diary to document our travels, I love having everything in one place to look back on.

This is the main shopping street in Harbin, which was so pretty and so different to Beijing. There is so much Russian influence in Harbin. There was also music playing from speakers attached to the lamp posts which I loved!

Along the main shopping street they sold hot Coca Cola, which was definitely needed because of the cold temperatures but it just feels a bit wrong for it to be hot! Also, how cool is the stall? It’s made completely of ice! They were all along the main street.

To get to Sun Island to see the snow sculptures we had to take the cable car over the river and the view was amazing! The whole river was completely frozen and you could see for miles!

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

When we moved to Beijing, visiting Harbin was definitely on our list of places to visit, especially during the Ice and Snow Festival. Harbin isn’t too far from Beijing, it’s either an overnight train trip or a short flight. We chose to fly as public transport in China can be a bit of a nightmare, sometimes I even find the flights a bit of a nightmare! I went expecting to only enjoy the ice sculptures and slides but I actually really loved Harbin itself. I think it would be great to visit at a different time of year too!

So we started off walking all the way along the main pedestrian street which was just around the corner from our hotel. It’s a really beautiful street, lined with trees, beautifully decorated shops and music playing from speakers attached to lamp posts all along the street. During winter, it’s the most random place! The temperature was around -28 degrees so it was absolutely freezing! All along the street there were random ice sculptures, slides and stalls made completely of ice.

Once we got to the bottom of the street we arrived at the Songhua River, which was completely frozen and had been converted into a space of fun! There were so many ice activities you couldn’t even imagine – sledding, slides, husky rides, donut dodgems, ice-karting and so much more! On the other side of the river is Sun Island which has a big ice and snow sculpture competition. The sculptures were best over there! The detailing was unbelievable! They were just bigger, better and more sophisticated than the others we saw in Harbin, but I guess that’s because it was a competition of the best in the world. The best ice slide was also on Sun Island!

On the night time we visited the main ice and snow festival. We arrange the trip with our hotel as they offered a shuttle service and we thought it would be easier – it wasn’t! We were really late leaving so we got less time in the park than we were promised, although it was FREEZING so it was probably enough time anyway. The sculptures are amazing, but it’s almost more touristy than the other places. The sculptures were mostly of famous landmarks and they were huge! Each sculpture was lit up so they were pretty breath-taking when you’re standing at the bottom of them. You could even walk inside some of the castles. They also had lots of ice-related activities – ice-skating, ice-karting, donut slides, etc.

The whole trip was so much fun! I feel a little sad that we’re not going back again this year as it’s probably somewhere we’ll never come to again once we leave China, but with only 5 months left there is so much we haven’t ¬†seen so at least I can say we have seen Harbin once. There was so much more to do in Harbin other than the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. Check back in a few days for my Harbin travel guide.

Have you ever visited the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival or been to a similar ice festival? Share your experiences below!



  1. February 7, 2017 / 3:06 am

    I’ve never visited Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. It looks like so much fun. Your pictures are so pretty.

    • nikki laidler
      February 11, 2017 / 5:26 am

      It was super fun! I really loved it! If you ever visit China you should make Harbin a stop on your trip! Nikki x

  2. February 7, 2017 / 4:42 am

    This place looks amazing. Surely a place I would love to visit. Your pictures are so amazing, Thanks for sharing!

    • nikki laidler
      February 11, 2017 / 5:27 am

      Thanks Keoshia, it was fun! X

  3. February 7, 2017 / 9:21 am

    The pictures tell the whole story of happiness. Your posts are educational and make me want to visit. I love the bright colors and the ice sculpture on Sun Island .

    • nikki laidler
      February 11, 2017 / 5:27 am

      Thanks Nichole, Sun Island was definitely my favourite part too x

  4. February 7, 2017 / 2:56 pm

    Those ice sculptures are amazing and I’ll bet they look even more breathtaking in person.

    • nikki laidler
      February 11, 2017 / 5:29 am

      They really do! Thanks for your comment!

  5. February 8, 2017 / 2:34 am

    These pictures are so beautiful looks like you had great time here.The ice sculptures are awesome very interesting!

    • nikki laidler
      February 11, 2017 / 5:29 am

      Thanks Ance! x

  6. February 8, 2017 / 3:23 am

    Wow this place looks so cool! Looks like you had a great time and the ice sculptures look amazing!!! I had no idea this place existed so it was really nice to read about it. Thanks for sharing about your experience with us!


    • nikki laidler
      February 11, 2017 / 5:31 am

      I saw it on TV a while ago and thought I nee to go there! It was one of those places I added to my bucket list and never really thought I might do, but then I also never thought I’d live in China! It was really fun x

  7. blair villanueva
    February 8, 2017 / 4:43 am

    I applaude the snow artists for creating such wonderful creations. The time and effort is unbelievable. I wonder what’s their feelings when these started to melt.

    • nikki laidler
      February 11, 2017 / 5:32 am

      I do too! They are so incredibly talented! x

  8. Chanelle
    February 8, 2017 / 6:03 pm

    Looks like you guys had so much fun!! I loved seeing all of the bright colors in the architecture

    • nikki laidler
      February 11, 2017 / 5:34 am

      Thanks Chantelle! The Chinese definitely have amazing architecture! x

  9. February 9, 2017 / 8:09 pm

    Never heard of snow festival before but it looks so fun. I love the picture of that colorful castle at night. I’d love to visit here!

    • nikki laidler
      February 11, 2017 / 5:35 am

      It was really fun Ana! I know you love to travel, you should add it onto your list for sure! x

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