Gallery: Harbin Ice and Snow Festival 2011
The 27th annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in Heilongjiang province is on now and will last until the end of this month. For those whose idea of fun isn’t prancing around in minus 27 degrees Fahrenheit, here is a gallery of what's to see at one of the world’s biggest and most beautiful snow and ice festivals.
Grabbing headlines every year at the Harbin ice festival is the Ice and Snow World, an exhibition area displaying sculptures made from translucent ice blocks carved from the frozen surface of the nearby Songhua River.
The sculptures at this year’s Harbin Ice and Snow World are inspired by fairy tales. Folkloric castles, icy pagodas, and oriental palaces straight out of classical Chinese text "Journey to the West" are scattered over 603,000 square meters of frosty terrain, making this year’s exhibition the largest yet, according to the Harbin government website.
CCTV reported that this year’s festival organizers have teamed up with Disney to create sculptures resembling the aristocratic homes of Disney characters. Disney princess worshipers will no doubt have a hard time holding back squeals when coming across the castles of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Belle (from Beauty and the Beast), bizarrely juxtaposed right next to each other in subzero climes.
The festival also hosts an array of winter activities including ice swimming and hot-air ballooning, CNN reports. Tots will delight in sliding down the 230-meter ice slide at the Ice and Snow World.
For more activities to do in Harbin during winter, click here.
Click on for more pictures from the Harbin ice and Snow Festival 2011.
Another major tourist draw at the festival is the Snow Sculpture Expo at the Sun Island Scenic Area, which displays snow sculptures with an Italian theme. Exhibits include an icy Marco Polo memorial wall, a monument that's meant to represent the Silk Road, and another epitomizing friendly Sino-Italian relations. (Don’t ask us why.)
Those who've had enough of sightseeing might want to head up to the newly opened Club Med Yabuli, the first Club Med snow resort in China. The Yabuli ski resort has China's largest ski domain with powder-dusted ski slopes that add up to roughly 30 kilometers.
Click here for more about Yabuli and the top 10 ski resorts in Asia.
Travelers can fly in to Harbin from over a dozen domestic airports. There are also international flights to Harbin from Hong Kong, Russia, Niigata, Seoul, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok and Los Angeles.
The Ice and Snow World opens from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and the Snow Sculpture Expo opens from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
The festival started on January 5 and will last until February.