This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Harbin. To help you make friends with Harbin before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Harbin, China, is the capital of Heliongjiang province, in the northeast of China, and is world famous for its Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival that starts in early January each year. The festival is the main draw for international travelers to China and is centred around two areas north of the city center on the northern banks of the Songhua River. "Sun Island" and "Ice And Snow World." Ice and Snow World features life-sized sculptures of buildings illuminated from the inside that take as many as fifteen thousand artisans working for sixteen days to create. The festival completely takes over the city, so there are many smaller exhibition areas scattered around Harbin.
Due to the festival, there is a huge amount of accommodation in Harbin. There are a handful of Harbin, China hostels for budget travelers, but it's important to book way ahead if you're planning on visiting during the Ice and snow Festival. Also, get directions to your Harbin, China hostel, as they are quite widely spread around the city. Most of the hostels in Harbin, China, are large and take mostly local youth and sports groups, but many have a section for international travelers. Whichever Harbin, China hostel you choose to stay in, they will have a list of events to keep you busy.
Harbin is also known as The Music City and hosts the Harbin Summer Music Concert every August on each even-numbered year, and which lasts for ten days. It was established in the mid-twentieth century, but was suspended during the cultural revolution until its re-emergence in the seventies, and has been held every other year for about the last twenty-five years.
As Harbin has seen a vibrant ethnic mix in its inhabitants since its founding in the very late nineteenth century, there is some very interesting architecture to be seen. This ranges from European Baroque and Byzantine facades, most prominent on and around Zhongyang Street, through the many Russian Orthodox churches (Saint Sophia Cathedral in Daoli district is the best example), to modern buildings like the recently completed Harbin Opera House.
It's a cold city in winter, so wrap up warmly. It is known as The Ice City; the average temperature during winter is minus-eighteen degrees Celsius! Summers can be as warm as twenty-five or thirty degrees Celsius, but this is also the rainy season. Harbin is also a center for winter sports; on the northeastern edge of the city is the Harbin Siberian Tiger Park.
Harbin is a little more than one thousand two hundred kilometers northeast of Beijing, and is linked by high-speed trains, taking seven to eight hours. The cheaper, slower overnight trains and the long distance buses can take as long as eighteen hours. Harbin is also just five hundred kilometers northwest of Vladivostok in Russia.
Written by local enthusiast for Harbin hostelsLondonroad