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Last Of The Melting Snow at Harbin’s Ice Festival


The world’s largest ice festival in Harbin, China, is now drawing to a close for another year, with the statues and sculptures now starting to melt as the weather slowly becomes warmer.

Harbin is in the north-east of China, up near the border with Russia, and in the depths of winter is a snowy, ice bound city. Since 1985 the locals have revelled in the freezing temperatures, which regularly plummet to -30 degrees, building increasingly complex ice sculptures of animals, iconic buildings, and ice rides. Some of the sculptures are up to 50 metres high, and most are lit from the inside by sophisticated computer controlled LEDs, making for a spectacular night time display.

The festival is increasingly popular with Chinese visitors, so now is the time to start planning a trip for 2016’s festival. Harbin is an overnight train ride or short flight from Beijing. Beijing is likely to be similarly snowbound in December/January/February, though not as cold as Harbin. All sites will be open though, and if you can stand the cold, the days are generally clear and often sunny. The Great Wall looks spectacular with snow on it, and you’re likely to have it to yourself.

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