Harbin Ice Festival: Snowy View of China

Every year thousands brave the nerve searing temperatures, the winds and the bright blue cold to flock and see the famous Harbin Ice festival in China. Whilst summers in China are all about blushing cherry blossom, shimmering green rice paddies and sparkling lakes, the winter takes on its own kind of wonderland,  With an eye for creativity and a penchant for light, the people sculpt an incredible fantasy, turning the glittering ice into a whole kingdom to ignite the imagination.

Harbin Ice Festival

As far as winter wonderlands go, this is one that frosts the cake, not only can you wander through some of the world’s most impressive ice sculptures but you can take romantic sleigh rides through the frozen hills, watch Siberian tigers roll in the snow, learn the art of lantern making and even sleep in the splendor of an ice hotel.

Harbin Ice Festival 1

Image Courtesy: flickr.com/Rincewind42

During the Harbin Ice festival the city uses blocks of ice pushed together and illuminated with a thousand and one lights to create a maze to wander through, you can run through castle walls sculpted from packed snow, see a life size train carved from ice and fall in love with the beautiful statues painstakingly crafted with pick and hands. Every piece is as impressive as the next; ice churches boast soaring spires, a mock Great Wall could be the real thing and tigers and dragons snarl with frightening realism.

Harbin Ice Festival 2

Image Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org/Lzy881114

Children laugh as they careen down the ice slides, hot street food sizzles and spits, everyone is wrapped up to the nines and still there is a flash of festivity that bites deep in your heart. Water from the Songhua River is turned into precious works of art all completely visionary, sophisticated and depicting a love for craftsmanship that you could never see anywhere else. As though a million dreams and fairytales have sprung to life, the Harbin ice festival is straight from the pages of Narnia.

Top Image Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org/LiYan

Jodie Oakes

Jodie Oakes

Jodie Oakes is a seasoned writer and an avid surfer with continuously itchy feet and a love of the finer things in life. After traveling through the continent with a touring band, living in Paris, Amsterdam and under the Auroras Borealis, she is now in Bulgaria where she attempts to piece together her first poetry collection.
Jodie Oakes