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2019 Harbin Ice and Snow World Tour

 2019-01-08    Donna    Tours    Harbin    1775  

To tick off my bucket list I finally got to visit the magical Harbin Ice and Snow World! Having been married to a native Harbin husband this is my first visit to the Ice and Snow World, however I have been to Harbin numerous times but timing has never been right to see the Ice and Snow Festival much to my disappointment.



The 20th Harbin Ice and Snow World had its official opening ceremony on January 5 2019. This year to mark the 20th anniversary of the Ice and Snow World the ice sculptures on show are a selection of award winning sculptures over the past 20 years. My husband and I actually had plans to visit on the day of the opening ceremony but were told that there would be far too many people and traffic would be mayhem so we visited on January 4 instead.



Once we purchased tickets and made our way into the world of ice the first thing that hit us is the freezing temperatures so I must emphasize the importance of warm clothing such as down jackets, snow boots, scarf, hat and even a balaclava. If not you’re not going to survive outdoors for too long! Gloves are also needed but when I constantly had to take them off to take photos they weren’t so useful but if you’re taking the kids they are essential.


Tour Guide

So to make sure I learnt more about the Ice and Snow World my husband hired me an Ice and Snow World Chinese tour guide at the entrance of so I could hear all about the details. While chatting to my guide Ying Ying I asked about English speaking tour guides at the Ice and Snow World there are in fact no English speaking tour guides at the Ice and Snow World to hire. Therefore, if you need an English speaking tour guide you’re going to have to make your own arrangements in advance.  


Ice Sculptures

Wandering around I was amazed and surrounded by colourful ice sculptures which included famous landmarks of China, towers,castle and a church which is used for the group wedding event. The Ice and Snow World is built in 15 days with the efforts of over 7,000 people but this year due to weather being warmer the number of ice sculptures on show was fewer in numbers.




I was expecting to see snow sculptures also but there were only a couple on show, if you’re interested in snow sculptures you have to visit the Snow Expo on Sun Island which is just across the road from the Ice and Snow World. You will have to purchase tickets separately and it’s best to visit during the day to see snow sculptures.  


One of the biggest highlights is the Century Light Tower (世纪光塔) which is 45 meters in height and a symbol of the 20th anniversary. There is also the wonderful ice sculpture of the Yuanming Palace which also had a fountain. Every year located in southern side is the Snow Buddha Sculpture (雪佛) which is always located in the same area every year and uses over 4,500 cubic meters of snow to create. There is also the 300 meter ice slide with a waiting time of 1 hour so we decided to give it a miss also those under the age of 16 are not allowed to go on the slide.



2019-Harbin-Ice-Snow-Festival-Snow-Buddha.jpgTips for Taking Photos

You’re definitely going to be taking photos and most of the time it’s going to be with your mobile phone so make sure it’s fully charged because with the cold weather the battery is not going to last as long.


For those who use an iPhone the bad news is it will literally be low battery in a matter of 15 minutes my husband’s iPhone was dead in 20 minutes into our visit. Also taking photos with the iPhone is not good any photos with people you will not be able to see their faces they come out like shadows tested and proven using my husband’s phone. I use a Samsung S8 and my photos turned out fine so for people who have iPhones I suggest taking a proper camera to get the best photos.



You can buy your tickets in advance online or you can purchase them when you arrive for local Harbin visitors tickets are 200 Yuan and for international visitors the tickets are 330 Yuan. I have heard that people find the tickets expensive but my guide explained that because it’s only once a year and it take a lot of people to make the magic happen it’s definitely worth the price.


Photo & Video Services

To keep for memories my husband and I had our photo taken by professional photographers located at the entrance, one photo costs 30 Yuan and you can either get a printed laminated copy or they can give you a digital copy via Wechat. For those who want a memory to last you can have a professional cameraman video your whole visit which costs 400 Yuan.  


Best Time to Visit

The Ice and Snow World usually begins its trial operation around Christmas time but there is still much building going on so we suggest visiting a couple of day before the opening ceremony is ideal as most of the building will be completed by then. Also the lights are turned on at 4:30PM so arriving at about 4:00PM to purchase tickets and queue to get in is about the best time because there are lots of people. 

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