My 5: Harbin Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival, China.

Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival China

1. February 2010. My visit to Harbin’s incredible Ice Festival still stands as a major if not definitive highlight of all my travels around China. Anyone in the market for a trip during February’s Chinese New Year break would struggle to come up with a better plan than checking out this awe-inspiring winter wonderland.

2. February 2010. Held every winter from the final week of December to late February, the heart of the action takes place in the exclusively ice-constructed Snow World Park with its neon-lit pagodas, castles and towers. There are also remarkable recreations of iconic world monuments and pony rides that take you all the way around the complex.

3. February 2010. Many of the ice creations on show are designed by some of China’s most talented sculptors. And they mostly use blocks cut directly from Harbin’s Songhua River, along with deionized water when they need to cut more carefully for perfect clarity. Around ten thousand workers are employed each year just to transport the ice over to Snow World.

4. February 2010. Evening temperatures plummet as low as minus 25 during Chinese New Year, so I found myself regularly ducking into the numerous café tents to warm up over a coffee/beer/mulled wine/hot chocolate. But be warned, the food on offer is overpriced and crappy, so don’t count on Snow World to provide a hearty dinner.

5. February 2010. At six hundred thousand square meters, this is now the world’s biggest ice festival, attracting some ten to fifteen million visitors each year.

For more on this unique city, check out my other 5s from around Harbin, as well as my short story Sub Zero Adventures.

Like these? Then why not take a look at my zillion 5s from all around China.

And I’ve written a short story series called Challenged In China.

Leighton Literature travel reports short stories travel blogger

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Freelance travel writer, voice over and English teacher from London. Former music and film journalist, interviewer of the stars. Passionate about travel, film, music, football, Indian food.

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