2013 Family Trip to the Northeast China (Part 1)

Written by Feb 8, 2013 01:42
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When the Ice and Snow Festival is held, the air ticket price from Hangzhou to Harbin will increase crazily. I have been dreaming to visiting Harbin for three years. However, considering of the expensive tickets, I haven’t made up my mind.

At the beginning of 2013, I occasionally noticed that Spring and Autumn Airlines launched a new course (Hangzhou to Shenyang). What’s more, passengers who booked air tickets during the Ice and Snow Festival could get great discount. If we flew from Hangzhou to Shenyang, we could take bullet train to Harbin. It just took 3 hours.

How clever I was! I told my parents about this good news. They said they were willing to see the ice and snow too. whereas, all my friends persuaded me not to take my parents with me. Why? The temperature was too low and they worried that my parents couldn’t resist the coldness.

After thinking twice, I decided to ask my parents if they made up their mind to go with me. They said ‘Yes’. Consequently, we booked our tickets and set off for Shenyang on January 6, 2013.

Our itinerary:
Jan.6 Hangzhou-Shenyang-Harbin
Jan 7 One-day tour in Harbin
Jan.8 Harbin-Dongsheng
Jan.9 Dongsheng-China Snow Town
Jan.10 China Snow Town-Changbai Mountain
Jan.11 Staying at Wanda International Resort
Jan.12 Northern slope of the Changbai Mountain
Jan.13 Changbai Moutain to Rime Island
Jan.14 Jilin-Shenyang-Hangzhou

Expenditure: 4682 yuan per person, including everything during my trip.

Jan. 6
The plane was late. We spent one hour more at the airport and then reached Shenyang at 14:00. The staff told me that there was no bus from the airport to the railway station. So we took a taxi. The driver charged us CNY 100.

Tip: Both Shenyang North and Shenyang Railway Stations have bullet trains to Harbin.

God blessed us with good luck! We bought bullet train tickets immediately and arrived at Harbin smoothly. According many travelogues, it is difficult to catch a taxi in Harbin. Well, we needn’t worry about this. The wife of my friend in Harbin picked up at the railway station and we had dinner together near the Central Avenue. After the dinner, we accommodated at Ibis Economical Hotel.

Jan. 7
My parents wanted to see the St. Sophia Church today. So we went out at 09:00. Each of us ate a bowl of wonton. I swore that I wouldn’t eat it again. It tasted very bad. We didn’t enter the church. Instead, we appreciated its architectural characteristics from its appearance.

Tip: The St. Sophia Church has already transformed into a museum, where tourists can understand Harbin architectural characteristics in different ages.

It’s very cold outside. After we appreciated the church, my parents suggested we should have lunch quickly. I guessed that they couldn’t stand the coldness so that they suggested finding a warm place.

My parents and I agreed to try some western dishes. Then we walked to the Huamei Western Restaurant. According to the locals, Huamei is probably the most famous western restaurant in Harbin. We just ordered some dishes highly recommended by other travelers on the internet. Well, the taste was ordinary.

Tip: The dishes we highly recommended are Shrimp or Beef Stew Pot and Borsch.

I paid the bill and went out with parents after we swept the table. On the other side of the road was a vendor who sold Modern popsicles and sugar coated haws on sticks. My dad loved haws very much. He took a stick of sugar coated haws and I bought two popsicles for my mom and me. Then we walk along the Central Avenue to the Songhua River.

An amusement park was temporarily built on the Songhua River. Many people had fun in the park but we didn’t. Instead, we walked to a quiet area and enjoyed the snowy Songhua River. My mom was worried that she might fall into the river. I comforted that it wouldn’t happen because the temperature was too low.

The night arrived too early in the Northeast China. It was almost dark after 16:00. I originally planned to shoot some pictures of the ice sculptures under the sunset. However, I didn’t seize the opportunity. Anyway, we didn’t want to miss the Ice and Snow World.

My friend’s wife bought the entrance tickets and accompanied us on the trip to the Ice and Snow World. As a girl from a city of Southern China, I never saw the magnificent ice and snow sculptures. So did my parents. We stayed there nearly 3 hours. When we ended our trip, my friend’s wife said she never thought that we could stay there for 3 hours. Who knows? Maybe, our excitement expelled the coldness.

Time to have dinner. My friend’s wife suggested we should try ‘Fish on the Hearth’. ‘Fish on the hearth? What is it?’, I asked myself. When we reached the restaurant, I finally figured it out. A hearth was set up on the kang. All of us sat around the hearth and ate together. After dinner, we got back to our hotel quickly and went to bed early. We had to reach Dongsheng tomorrow.

Jan 8
I already booked a room in Dongsheng and the hostel boss arranged a car to pick us up at our hotel. When we checked out, we heard the bleat of the horn. Yes, the driver arrived and waited us outside.

I should say that the drivers here are bold. The road was slippery but he never sped down even he met the log trucks. Never mind! We survived and reached Dongsheng at 13:30. The driver was kind. He drove us to the house we booked and helped us unload our baggage. The boss prepared us some dishes since we didn’t have lunch yet. We ate very quickly and then went out to visit the village.

We followed a kid to the ski resort. Unfortunately, we couldn’t ski. However, my parents did have some fun. They whipped tops on the ice. We went back around 17:00. It was totally dark.

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