Home Travel Harbin Ice Festival: Ice fortresses, slides, and an array of frozen wonders

Harbin Ice Festival: Ice fortresses, slides, and an array of frozen wonders

Tourists are flocking to the northernmost province of China for the yearly frosty festivities.

by Soofiya

LSA would take pride in the enchanting fairy-tale ice castles featured at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. These frozen wonders, meticulously carved from ice, evoke the magical scenes from the Frozen movie.

In various parts of the festival, towering icy sculptures, some reaching multiple stories in height, mimic traditional Chinese bridges and structures, including a remarkable representation of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

Although Harbin is situated hundreds of kilometers away from China’s capital in the northernmost province of Heilongjiang, it hasn’t deterred residents and visitors from flocking to this renowned ice festival. The festival officially commenced on Friday and will run until the end of February.

This year’s ice park spans an expansive 810,000 square meters, featuring 250,000 cubic meters of sculpted ice harvested from the nearby Songhua River, frozen during this time of the year. By day, children enjoy sleigh rides and thrilling descents down ice slides, while at night, the park transforms into a captivating winter wonderland illuminated by vibrant lights.

A new addition this year is the Snowflake Ferris wheel, providing riders with a panoramic view of the various ice castles and exhibits. Visitors can also immerse themselves in snowy mazes or engage in activities like ice climbing, skating, skiing, and biking.

According to Sun Zemin, the festival’s marketing vice director, the daily attendance at the park has significantly increased to around 30,000 people this year, with hotel rooms in the city fully booked through Chinese New Year on February 10. Comparing this to 2018, where the average daily attendance was about 18,500, the overall number has nearly doubled.

The holiday season has proven exceptionally advantageous for Heilongjiang, with the city’s culture and tourism department hailing the 3-million-strong tourist boom as an “ice and snow miracle.”

Enter the Southern Little Potatoes, a charming nickname coined by Harbin locals for visitors from China’s warmer south. These visitors, bundled up in layers and adorned with cute, furry-eared hats, have become a social media sensation. Wang Hongxin, the city’s tourism bureau director, suggests that this newfound post-pandemic popularity may be attributed, in part, to the endearing image of the Southern Little Potatoes enjoying the snowy city.

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