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How to Spend 1 Day in Harbin

How to Spend 1 Day in Harbin

Known for its annual Ice and Snow Festival, one of the largest in the world, the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin comes alive in January and February each year. The overwhelming majority of international travelers visit for the ice sculptures, but Harbin has more to offer. Here’s how to discover the city’s highlights in just one day.

Morning: City Strolling

Winter or summer, start the day by soaking up the highlights of downtown Harbin. Ride the cableway over the Songhua River; in winter, enjoy delights from ice slides and ice bikes to miniature tanks on its frozen surface, or try your hand at ice swimming. Next, discover Harbin’s Russian heritage as you peruse historic architecture on Zhongyang Street, the city’s longtime thoroughfare. Snack on wintry treats from candied hawthorn to Chinese-style ice cream as you wander. Finally, explore St. Sophia Cathedral, the Russian Orthodox edifice built in 1907, which towers surprisingly over this Chinese city.

Afternoon: Winter Wonderland

Afternoon and early evening are the times to enjoy Harbin’s signature experience, the Ice and Snow Festival. Wrap up warm, as temperatures can drop below -22°F (-30°C). Start with the Snow Sculpture Festival on Sun Island to view a wealth of intricate snow carvings best appreciated in daylight. Continue to the vast Ice and Snow World, and marvel as the brilliantly illuminated ice sculptures come to life when darkness falls. Enjoy drinks at ice bars, snacks from ice concession stands, plus ice slides, ice bikes, and even a ski run. During summer, the indoor ice-sculpture gallery on Sun Island provides a taster.

Night: Russian Flavor

The food scene in Harbin, a cosmopolitan city heavily influenced by both Russia and Korea, is one of China’s more diverse, with sausage and pickle firmly on the menu. Warm up for the evening over vodka at a Russian-themed eatery, such as Russia Coffee and Food, which serves up warming favorites from borscht to dumplings amid photos, portraits, and antiques salvaged from a Russian émigré’s estate. In winter, finish with a bracing stroll along the Songhua River, as the city’s illuminated sculptures come into their own. Don’t miss the opulent ice lantern display at Zhaolin Park.

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9 Tours and Activities

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Private Full Day Transfer Service to Harbin Top Winter Attractions

Private Full Day Transfer Service to Harbin Top Winter Attractions

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4
Utilize this 8-hour private transfer service to the most famous attractions in Harbin during this winter season. Your friendly driver will pick you up at your request time from your Harbin city hotel lobby. You visit Harbin Ice and Snow World, Sun Island Snow Sculpture Festival or Harbin polarland based on your interests.excluding entry ticket.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$128.00
per group
From
$128.00
per group

Harbin Group Day Tour:Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Harbin Group Day Tour:Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Experience why Harbin has a reputation as a winter wonderland on this seasonal full-day tour around some of its winter-time highlights. Unlike other group tours which force you to stay with the group, spend your time at each attraction—the Sun Island Snow Festival, Harbin Ice and Snow World—on your own terms, exploring what’s on offer without having to stay close to your tour guide.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$292.43
From
$292.43

Private Half Day City Tour including Russian Town and Harbin Ropeway Ride

Private Half Day City Tour including Russian Town and Harbin Ropeway Ride

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1
With a population of over 10 million, it takes time to orient yourself in Harbin. Speed up the process by booking this half-day door-to-door private tour that shows how it all fits together: Stalin Park, Central Street, the Harbin Flood Control Memorial Tower, and more. Ride the Harbin Ropeway cable car across the river to Sun Island and stroll the Russian village before your guide accompanies you to your hotel.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$94.00
Price varies by group size
From
$94.00
Price varies by group size

1-Day Harbin Private Tour

1-Day Harbin Private Tour

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15
If you’re a first-time visitor to Harbin, this full-day tour is a great way to get to know the city no matter the season. With your private guide by your side, visit landmarks and attractions like Russian Town, Zhongyang Street, and the indoor Ice and Snow World. Learn more about the city’s history, culture, and shopping and ask your guide for hints and tips about exploring the city further—you won’t be fighting for their attention on this private tour.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$73.11
Price varies by group size
From
$73.11
Price varies by group size

Harbin City Group Tour including Crossing Songhua River by Ropeway and Ice Swimming Show

Harbin City Group Tour including Crossing Songhua River by Ropeway and Ice Swimming Show

Though best known for its famous ice and snow festival, Harbin has plenty of other attractions to keep visitors entertained. This tour of Harbin is a fun way to get to know the city—watch an ice swimming show, admire views from the Harbin Ropeway, and visit top attractions such as the Sophia Church, all with the benefit of a guide to share information and take you around.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$187.99
From
$187.99

4-Hour Private Tour of the Largest Indoor Ice and Snow Paradise

4-Hour Private Tour of the Largest Indoor Ice and Snow Paradise

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This private tour of Harbin’s Ice and Snow World is perfect for adults and children alike. You won’t have to spend time waiting in long visitor lines as entrance fees are included. Exploring the park with a private guide means you won’t get lost or miss any important sculptures. You’ll see spectacular ice figurines, colorful lights, and lots of snow and ice surprises.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$135.78
Price varies by group size
From
$135.78
Price varies by group size

Private Half Day Tour to Unit 731 Museum in Harbin

Private Half Day Tour to Unit 731 Museum in Harbin

Learn about the tragic history of Unit 731 with a private half-day tour to its museum. Visit the site of a former biological and chemical warfare testing center and see indoor exhibits including maps and photographs. Hear stories about the prisoners who died at the hands of researchers. Private round-trip transportation from Harbin is included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$208.88
Price varies by group size
From
$208.88
Price varies by group size

Private Best of Harbin City Tour in Summer

Private Best of Harbin City Tour in Summer

See the best of Harbin in summer and fall on this private 8-hour sightseeing tour. While the city is famed for its wintertime Ice and Snow Festival, it offers many attractions outside winter. View the Russian-style St. Sophia Cathedral, see the Western-inspired buildings along Zhongyang Central Street, and admire the vast ice sculptures in the chilled Indoor Ice and Snow Art Gallery. Private transport, a Chinese lunch, and central hotel pickup and drop-off included.
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  • 8 to 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$260.06
Price varies by group size
From
$260.06
Price varies by group size

All Inclusive Private Harbin Day Tour including Sun Island, Snow and Ice World

All Inclusive Private Harbin Day Tour including Sun Island, Snow and Ice World

Go beyond the famous Sun Island snow sculptures on this guided tour of Harbin, China’s northernmost metropolitan area. Get a taste for the city’s distinct blend of Chinese and Russian culture as you visit Harbin’s top sights, including Sophia Church, Central Street, and Snow World, and learn about the city’s history from your guide as you go. This private tour provides all transportation from your Harbin hotel and the personalized attention only possible on a private tour.
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  • 6 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$404.70
Price varies by group size
From
$404.70
Price varies by group size