We know we’re skating on thin ice with some of you when we say the sculptures of China’s Harbin Ice and Snow Festival rival Elsa’s in Frozen. But it’s true. This annual festival, a relative newbie on the ice festival scene, boasts magnificent ice sculptures more impressive than you could dream up. Some are bigger than two football fields and light the night sky with a rainbow of colours, while others, like a replica of the Great Wall of China, come complete with giant slides just waiting for you to have a go! Brave the sub-zero temperatures and get to Harbin for this truly breathtaking event.

Ice, ice baby

Each year, the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival brings the city to life amid a chilly, chilly winter as it showcases the world’s best snow sculptures and ice architecture in a truly elaborate fashion. Here you will see world-record breaking snow sculptures that span longer than two football fields; ice buildings, palaces and statues you can walk around on and explore; and others complete with slides you can play on.  Better still, the sculptures are brought to colourful life with LED computer lighting, adding a truly magical touch to this winter wonderland.

Student Flights can tailor individual or group trips to Harbin Ice and Snow Festival so you can enjoy this magical experience alongside, say a larger northern China trip, with your nearest and dearest minus the headache of arranging it all yourself. If you’re in China during the festival, which typically runs throughout January, it’s possible to take a day or overnight trip to the festival from places like Beijing. While you’re in Harbin, hit up ski resorts like Yabuli, Jihua and Erlongshang, which are said to be some of China’s absolute best snow fields. 


When is it?

05th January 2015 to 05th February 2015
05th January 2016 to 05th February 2016

Tips and tricks

  • Winter in China’s northernmost city, Harbin, is seriously cold with average daytime temperatures in January just -12 degrees Celsius. Make sure you pack clothing for sub-zero conditions.

  • Take a spare battery for your camera; the cooler temps reduce your battery life.

  • The event takes place at three areas: Sun Island for snow sculptures; The Ice and Snow World for ice sculptures; and Zhaolin Park for smaller-scale sculptures.

  • Tickets to Harbin Ice and Snow Festival are sold for am and pm each day - pm tickets cost more but you get nine hours of fun as opposed to three. If you’re under 1.2 metres, you get in for free.

  • To get there, you can fly from Beijing to Harbin, then take a three-hour taxi ride to the festival.

  • Get to festival sites via taxi and always check the driver turns the meter on! 

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