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Every winter, millions of travelers rush to the city of Harbin in North China and brave bone-chilling cold weather to look at over 2,000 giant frozen replicas of heritage buildings, participate in a frozen lake swimming contest and climb ice castles. To quote a visitor, it’s like “Disneyland in winter”. On the 5th of January, Harbin hosts one of the world’s largest winter celebrations, called the Harbin Ice Festival. The two-month long event, featuring four theme parks, covers a staggering area of 750,000 square meters. It is considered one of the best snow and ice festivals in the world, along with Sapporo’s Snow Festival, Norway’s Ski Festival, and Quebec’s City Carnival. For information like the Harbin Ice Festival dates and activities worth pursuing, read on.

Harbin Ice Festival 2023

Pic Credit: Collater.al

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The Harbin Ice Festival 2023 kickstarted with fireworks on the opening day i.e. 5th of January. Like every year, the event constituted of four theme parks, namely the Harbin Ice and Snow World, Harbin Wanda Ice Lantern World, Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo, and Zhaolin Park Ice Lantern Fair. The Harbin Ice Festival 2023 included impressive replicas of world-famous, sights like the Colosseum in Rome and the Athenian Acropolis. The price of the entry tickets was hiked to INR 3381/-. After sunset, the ice sculptures were lit up in a myriad of bright colors, like neon green and pink. 34 teams of artists from 16 countries participated wholeheartedly in a 3-day sculpting competition. Along with their sculptures, you’ll find multiple iced-themed restaurants inside Harbin Ice and Snow festival too.

Harbin Ice And Snow Festival: Top 5 Highlights

One of the festival’s major highlights is a swimming competition. Even though the temperature in China in winter can plummet to as low as -1 degree Celsius, people dive into the river. Read ahead to find top 5 highlights of this event:

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1. Harbin: Gaze in awe at thousands of snowmen

Gaze in awe at thousands of snowmen

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More than 2023 snowmen were put on display on the frozen Songhua river at the Harbin Ice and Snow festival this year. The snowmen don flags from different nations. The snowmen are gigantic in size. There are few snow sculptures at the event that can beat these snowmen when it comes to size. You can take a stroll amidst these snowmen or click pictures with the one bearing the flag of your country.

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2. Harbin: Ride an ice bike

Ride an ice bike

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The tourists can ride ice bikes in the Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. The main snow sculpture on display is placed at a height of 108 feet. If riding an ice bike does not cater to your needs, you can go for other activities such as fishing, skiing, ice-sailing, ice hockey, ice football, painting, calligraphy, dance performance, and speed skating.

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3. Harbin: Get married

Get married

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The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival host a mass wedding ceremony every year. This year, 47 couples tied the knot. The marriage ceremony takes place in a colossal snow castle built for the occasion. If getting married in a snow castle has been your childhood dream, relive it by heading to the event with your partner and getting hitched.

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4. Harbin: Swim in subpolar temperature

Swim in subpolar temperature

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Chinese citizens and tourists of all ages come together to participate in the swimming competition. Over a hundred people registered for the event this year, which is a big jump from the numbers of last year. Around 40% of them were of the ages 55 and above. They competed with each other in backstroke and breaststroke. Various visitors in China have been quoted as saying that they start training for the event many months prior.

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5. Harbin: Take part in the snow carving competition

Take part in the snow carving competition

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The snow carving competition is held in the Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. The participants use shovels and sandpaper to carve animals, palaces, and human faces out of four million cubic feet of snow. It is one of the most popular events among kids and young adults at the Harbin Ice Festival.

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Harbin Ice Festival Tours

beautiful ice sculptures in Harbin

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Top Harbin Ice Festival tour packages are designed while keeping in mind the general preferences of tourists. Most of the tours cover Harbin Ice Festival in China highlights like Sun Island, St. Sofia Church, Ice and Snow World, and Central Street. You can choose for a 3-day or a week-long package. It would be ideal to spend at least 6-7 days in Harbin. Make sure to book your flights early. Ask your tour guide if they include flights in their tour package.

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Experience the Harbin Ice festival in its frozen glory on your trip to China in January. We would suggest you book your trip early to avail exciting discounts and offers. Make sure to be open to new experiences and embrace Chinese culture wholeheartedly. We also highly recommend you to pack multiple thermals and waterproof clothes. Apart from catching a break from your daily routine life, you’ll make memories at this fest that will last you a lifetime.

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Category: China, Events And Festivals, Festival

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