Ice Festival Interesting, Expensive 

Written by Mr. DANEK Feb 12, 2011 22:36
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My wife and I recently toured the Ice Palace and snow sculptures at Harbin. These are my impressions:

Generally worth the expense and some discomfort. Transportation inside the snow sculpture area was good, used open tour cars, cost minimal. We took the cars going in to the park, walked back out to see sculptures close up.

I never knew that such magnificent works of art could be made with snow! We learned that artificial snow was used in the sculpture pieces, not natural snow. The difference is obvious when you pick up pieces of scrap snow left near the art pieces; the artificial stuff is is close to a hard plastic  consistency.

Lots of copying of international, traditional art pieces; Mona Lisa, for instance, and several Greek god pieces. I noted some lack of originality in concepts in the snow scultpting, but the work itself was magnificent and must have presented many challenges that were overcome.

At the Ice Palace, the shifting colored lights did a lot to set a festive mood for the show. The area covered by the Ice Palace display is huge, maybe 200 acres? I suggest that visitors  wear truely warm long underwear, snow boots, gloves, and a warm cap. Bring an extra pair of warm socks if you plan to be there for several hours; you may want to change sock mid-tour.
Hot coffee etc. is available at several locations in the Ice Palace area, cost $3 USA (20 RMB) per cup. Also instant noodles and some snack foods.

Taxis--Our cab driver "arranged" for us to stop at a tour agency, we gave him the money (330 RMB each) and he bought the tickets. I had some misgivings until we joined a group of 10 people near the gate and entered; it seems that the tour agencies split the entrance fee with the park, and the cab driver gets a cut of the agency's money.

I do feel that the 330 RMB admission fee for the Ice Palace is excessive; last year, I believe it was around 250 RMB.  Since there is little maintenance for the snow sculptures, I also think that 150 RMB is a lot. 
While students can get a 50 % reduction in admission fee, there is no allowance made for senior citizens. I would like to see that changed.
None of the park employees appeared able to speak English, although we did hear some tour guides apparemntly speaking Russian to their charges.
Possibly some sort of dispatching system should be arranged for sending taxis back to the city center and hotel areas away from the island / park.

Positive, and if you are in Northeast China during January-February, it's worth visiting. To me, it's something that you do once in a lifetime, not every year.

 More Harbin Travel Reviews
1. the ice festival experience in Harbin 2011 M from China Jan 31, 2011 06:47
2. Some Sites to Explore Harbin Ice and Snow Festival ROVER from Pakistan Dec 17, 2010 03:16
3. Wonderful, but Pricey MCBAIN from Canada Mar 10, 2010 21:42
Comments (1)


Jan 26, 2012 07:32 Reply

Mrs.KATHAY from Germany said:

Hi,Anyone going to Harbin during First Week of February 2012 to meet up for touring together?

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