Harbin, also called as the ice city, is the capital of Heilongjiang province, a significant national manufacturing base and an important central city in northeast China. Located in northeast China and the center of northeast Asia, Harbin is the political, economic and cultural center of northeast China, which is also honored as “the pearl of Eurasian land bridge and the crucial hub of the first Eurasian land bridge and air corridor”. Harbin is also a famous national historical and cultural city, where it is the birthplace of the ancient Jin and Qing dynasties. Nowadays, it is a popular tourist city and an international ice and snow cultural city”, also known as “Oriental Moscow” and “Oriental Paris” for its rich tourism resource and beautiful scenery.
Geographic Position: in Northeast China (125°42′E―130°10′E, 44°04′N―46°40′N）
Nearby Airport: Harbin Taiping International Airport (HRB)
Nearby Train Station: Harbin Railway Station, Harbin West Railway Station, Harbin North Railway Station, Harbin East Railway Station
Chinese: 哈尔滨 hā ěr bīn Population: 9.5M Area: 20,490 sq miles Zip Code: 150000 Airport: HRB Time Zone: GMT+8
Here are some top things to do in Harbin for tourists, which may help tourists learn the culture of Harbin, taste the delicious food and have a great travel experience.
During the winter, visitors can visit places famous forice and snow culture, such as ice and snow world, ice and snow festival, Changbai mountain, China snow town and so on, where visitors can have a try to take interesting ice activities and have a fun in the dreamy snow world in the northeastern China.
By visiting the landmark of Harbin, such as Dragon tower, St.Sophia Cathedral, people can not only see the magnificent architecture and enjoy beautiful scenery, but also buy some souvenirs, taste authentic local food or have a relax.
If you want to have a deep theme trip about ice and snow and know about thelocal ice and snow culture, you can spend more days in Harbin and go to some scenic spots around Harbin, such as China snow town and Changbai Mountain.
What to Eat in Harbin
Smoked Red Sausages
Red sausage which tastes fresh and delicious is a kind of sausage originally produced in Russia and Lithuania. It is made of pork, starch, garlic and other materials and got its name from its red color. After the Middle East railway was built, it was introduced into China by the Russian and became a specialty of Harbin, Jiamusi, Qitaihe and Manzhouli in northeast China. It is one of the famous specialties in China and is sold all over the country.
Modern Popsicle is a special cold snack in central street of Harbin city, Heilongjiang province. Founded by French Jews in Harbin in 1906, it has a history of more than 100
years. The word “modern” in its name remained and unchanged from the Qing dynasty to now. It is one of the earliest ice cream enterprises in China,.
Shredded Chicken Stewed with Mushroom
Shredded chicken stewed with mushroom is a specialty in northeastern China. It is usually stewed with dried mushrooms, chicken and vermicelli, because mushroom can enhance the fresh fragrance of chicken. It tastes delicious and it is rich in nutritions.
Harbin Travel Guide
1) How to plan your Harbin tour?
There are various travel plan of Harbin depending on different travel needs such as time, budgets, interests and preferences, and tourists can choose the most appropriate one as their travel plan.
A. How many days will you spend in Harbin?
a. One day tour
If you only have one day in Harbin, you can visit some must-visit scenic spots inside the city, such as Harbin Ice and Snow World, St.Sophia Cathedral, Central Street, Ice Lantern Garden Party, Dragon tower, Jile Temple, Siberian Tiger Park and so on.
More Harbin tour planning guide
b. Two days tour
If you plan to spend two days in Harbin, you can not only go to the most representative and renowned attractions, but also go to some other unique attractions which are rich in ice and snow culture. For example, you can choose to visit the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, Sun Island Scenic Area and other attractions where people can have a chance to fully enjoy the dreamy ice and snow world in winter.
c. Three days tour
If you have three days in Harbin, you can not only visit scenic spots in Harbin, but also some popular scenic areas around Harbin, such as the Yabuli International Ski Resort, Changbai Mountain, China snow town and so on.
d. Four days and more days tour
If you have enough time in Harbin, we also offer the service of making a personal tour in Harbin according to you preferences and interests.
B. What are you interested in or what is your tour type?
a. Family Trip
If you want to have a family trip, we highly recommended that you can go to some attractions that are equipped with convenient public transportation and advanced tourist facilities, which are available for all ages tourists to visit, such as the Snow and Ice World, Harbin Snow and Ice Festival, Harbin Polarland, Siberian Tiger Park, St. Sophia Cathedral, Dragon Tower, Central Street, Yabuli International Ski Resort and so on.
b. Gourmet Food Trip
Harbin is not only famous for Northeastern Chinese cuisine such as Shredded Chicken Stewed with Mushroom, fried potato, green pepper and eggplant, barbecue chilled noodles or Smoked Red Sausages, but also some delicious and exotic snacks such as Modern popsicle ice-cream, Russian Bread and so on. If you want to taste such delicious specialty, you can go to Central Street or St. Sophia Cathedral Square to find some authentic restaurants. In addition, if you’d like to eat the local northeastern Chinese cuisine, you can visit to the China Snow Town and eat the fresh and delicious food in local family.
c. Historical Trip
Saint Sophia Cathedral, a Byzantine orthodox church built in 1907, is the landmark building of Harbin. There were many cathedrals in Harbin, but only a few remained because of the cultural revolution. Thus, Sophia cathedral becomes very precious and rare. It has become the largest eastern orthodox church in the east Asia. People can appreciate the elaborate architectures and profound culture. In addition, visiting China Snow Town also can learn the traditional lifestyle of local people, sleeping on the unique bed (Kang in chinese) and taste authentic and fresh northeast Chinese food.
d. Adventure Trip
It needs courage and skill to ski at Yabuli, or to experience some interesting ice activities in the ice and snow world. And climbing the changbai mountain to enjoy the magnificent and charming scenery is also a physically demanding activity. Get well-prepared and don’t go hiking alone.
e. Photographer Trip
If you are crazy about taking photos, there are many places for you to choose in Harbin. For example, you can go to ice and snow world to enjoy the beauty and charm of ice sculptures and arts, or pay a visit to Sun island scenic area, where it has distinct scenery in four seasons. In addition, China Snow town is also a good place for photograph, where it is a dreamy snow world and many photos took here have won the international photography awards. If you are interested in charming natural landscape, Changbai Mountain cannot be missed by you.
C. What is your travel budget?
a. If your trip is low- budget, we highly recommend that you can take part in any group tour and live Youth Hostel, which not only can help you save money, but will also help you make some new friends who havethe same
b. If you want to have a better travel experience, you can choose to rent a car and driver, make a personal travel plan and live ina luxury hotel during the days you stay in Dunhuang, which is more comfortable and free than taking part in a group tour.
2) Visa Policy
From August 1, 2015, Harbin Taiping international airport have launched a 72-hour transit visa-free policy for visitors, which allows visitors to stay in Harbin no more than 72 hours(three days). Visas are not required for people who come from the 53 countries, hold valid international travel documents and international flights tickets with confirmed dates and seats to a third country (region).
More Harbin Tour Visa Policy
The 53 countries are available for this policy in the following: the Republic of Austria, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Kingdom of Denmark, Republic of Estonia,the Republic of Finland, French Republic, The Federal Republic of Germany, The Hellenic Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Iceland, the Republic of Italy, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Malta, the Kingdom of Netherlands, the Republic of Poland, the Portuguese Republic, the Slovakia Republic, the Republic of Slovenia, the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Sweden, Swiss Confederation, Russia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland , Republic of Ireland, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, the Republic of Serbia, the Republic of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of North Macedonia, the Republic of Albania, the Principality of Monaco, Republic of Belarus, United States of America, Canada, The Federative Republic of Brazil,the United Mexican States, the Republic of Argentina, Republic of Chile, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Japan, Republic of Singapore, Negara Brunei Darussalam, United Arab Emirates and the State of Qatar.
Notes: Qualified people can stay for 72 hours in the Harbin.The most important thing is that the arrival fight and connected fight need to be international flight. It is crucial for foreigners who can stay in Guilin within 72 hours to obey the Chinese law, and if someone exceeds the permitted stay area or time limit, punishment will be given by the Exit and Entry Administration law of the People’s Republic of China.
3) Harbin Transportation
Nowadays, as a famous tourism city, Harbin has been equipped more and more advanced and convenient public transportation, which is not only helpful for local people, but also conducive to the development of the tourism.
Harbin Taiping International Airport
Harbin Taiping international airport, put into use in 1979, is located in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, which is 33 kilometers away from Harbin city. The airport, located in the center of northeast Asia, is the hub airport of Heilongjiang province and the stopover point of the route from southeast Asia to North America. It is an international airport with the largest passenger throughput in northeast China. Up to December 2018, there are 47 airlines companies cooperating with Harbin Taiping International Airport, such as Air China, China Southern Airline, Asiana Airlines and so on, and there are domestic and international air routes 185 that can reach to 109 cities, which has been initially formed an air traffic network with Harbin as the center, radiating important cities in China, connecting Russia, Japan, South Korea and other neighboring countries, as well as major European and American countries.
Direct international flights:
Harbin Taiping International Airport-some Asian Countries:Japan, Republic of Korea,
Popular travel airlines: Harbin-Beijing, Harbin-Xi’an, Harbin-Chengdu, Harbin-Shanghai, Harbin-Shenzhen, Harbin-Sanya
4) Harbin Weather& What to wear& The Best Time to visit Harbin
Harbin is typical temperate Continental Monsoon Climate, which has four distinctive season. Long and cold in winter, and short and cool in summer. In addition, shorter period of spring and autumn are transition seasons with variable temperature. The average temperature in winter is -9 ℃~1℃，which is freezing cold, and the average temperature is 14℃~25℃ in summer, which is cool and pleasant.
Notes: The winter in Harbin is freezing cold with heavy snow, so it is necessary for visitors to keep warm and pay attention to the slippery ground.
When is the best time to visit?
We highly recommended that the best time to visit Harbin is Spring and Winter. During the winter, it is covered with thick white snow, which looks like a dreamy white world. People can pay a visits to many ice and snow theme scenic spots to experience the fun of the ice and snow culture in northeast China. And in Spring, weather is cool and scenery is beautiful. If you come to Harbin during these months, you may have a good travel experience and memory.
Tips: Visitors had better avoid the official holiday in China, because many Chinese citizens choose to travel on official holidays to ease the pressure of their work. As a result, many Chinese tourist attractions are overcrowded and traffic jams are common. Therefore, visiting China at this time will bring tourists a less pleasant travel experience.
Official Holidays in China
Chinese New Year
Around January or February
Summer vacation(for students)
5) Where to Stay in Harbin
Although the accommodation fee of each five-star hotel is higher, the convenient location and transportation, advanced facilities, great accommodation environment and professional services are advantages.
Shangri-La Hotel Harbin
Harbin Shangri-La hotel, located on Youyi road, is close to the central business district. Guests can easily visit the St.Sophia Cathedral and the Siberian tiger park, and take 10 minutes to drive to the famous Central Street. The hotel offers a variety of leisure facilities, an advanced fitness center, a large elegant banquet hall in the style of simple Europe, three dining venues and so on.
More Harbin hotels
Four – star hotel
Harbin Aimei hotel, located at the injunction of the Qianjin road and Tongda street, is adjacent to the central street, St. Sophia Cathedral, flood prevention monument, ice and snow world, the sun island. With the advantageous location and convenient public transportation, there are several banks, hospitals, snack food shops, buses around the hotel.
Yabuli Hot Spring International Holiday Center
Yabuli hot spring international holiday center is a comprehensive leisure resort integrating skiing tourism, hot spring health care, catering, meeting and leisure entertainment, which covers a total area of 31,380 square meters. The hot spring area consists of 36 hot spring pools with different functions, including indoor spa pool, outdoor hot spring pool, children’s pool, traditional Chinese medicine pool, fish pool, etc.
Xueyun’ge Hotel is located at the core area of China snow town–Xueyun street, and it is convenient to get to The Snow Town National Forest Park. The hotel offers more than 100 comfortable rooms and integrates catering, accommodation, entertainment and business into one.