Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Ice and snow sculptures
Ice Sculptures

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival Facts

Established in: 1985
Opening Time: early January – March
Venues: Sun Island, Ice and Snow World and Zhaolin Park

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is China's original and greatest ice artwork festival, attracting hundreds of thousands of local people and visitors from all over the world.

The 34th session of the festival was held from January 1, 2018 to March 2018. The commissioning period is from Dec. 22 to 31, 2017. The best collections of ice artworks were mainly exhibited in the following venues:
Sun Island Scenic Area
Ice and Snow World
Zhaolin Park
Ice Lantern Garden Party
Yabuli International Ski Resort 

 Harbin Ice Festival Tour: 4 Days

History of Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

The city's location in northeast China accounts for its arctic climate which provides abundant natural ice and snow. Subsequently, the 'Ice City' of Harbin is recognized as the cradle of ice and snow art in China and is famous for its exquisite and artistic ice and snow sculptures. The fabulous Ice Lantern Festival is the forerunner of the Ice and Snow Festival and is still the best loved part of the overall event in the opinion of all who go to that city each year.

The first Ice lanterns were a winter-time tradition in northeast China. During the Qing Dynasty(1644 - 1911), the local peasants and fishermen often made and used ice lanterns as jack-lights during the winter months. At that time these were made simply by pouring water into a bucket that was then put out in the open to freeze. It was then gently warmed before the water froze completely so that the bucket-shaped ice could be pulled out. A hole was chiseled in the top and the water remaining inside poured out creating a hollow vessel. A candle was then placed inside resulting in a windproof lantern that gained great popularity in the region around the city.

From then on, people made ice lanterns and put them outside their houses or gave them to children to play with during some of the traditional festivals. Thus the ice lantern began its long history of development. With novel changes and immense advancement in techniques, today we can marvel at the various delicate and artistic ice lanterns on display.

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Ice Festival
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Ice and Snow Festival in Zhaolin Park

Today's Ice Lantern

Nowadays, ice lantern in broad sense refers to a series of plastic arts using ice and snow as raw material combining ice artworks with colored lights and splendid music. The specific patterns of ice lantern include sculptures, ice flowers, ice architectures and so on.

Today, the Ice and Snow Festival is not only an exposition of ice and snow art, but also an annual cultural event for international exchange. Every year, there are many ice sculpture experts, artists and fans from America, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Russia, China, etc. gathering in this city to participate ice sculpting competitions and to communicate with each other in the ice and snow world. Also, Harbin ice lanterns have been exhibited in most of China's main cities as well as in many countries in Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and Oceania. For more than 40 years, the city's local natural resource of ice and snow has been fully explored to provide joy and fun for visitors to the city. Now during the festival, many sporting competitions are also popular including ice-skating, sledding and so on. Weddings, parties and other entertainments are now very much a feature of this ice world, adding their own contribution to the celebrations of this great festival of art, culture, sports and tourism.

Three Major Venues

1. Sun Island
It is the site of the Snow Sculpture Exposition displaying a wonderful snow world. It has the world's largest indoor ice and snow art museum and it opens to the public from November every year.

Admission Fee Snow Sculpture Exposition:
CNY 240 for adults
CNY 120 for children between 1.2-1.4m (3.9 and 4.6 feet)
Free for children under 1.2m

Other time: CNY 30 (just admission fee)
Expo Opening Time Dec. 20, 2017 to the end of Feb., 2018
Operating Hours during the Expo  08:30-18:30
Transportation 1. Take bus 29, 47, 80, 119, 125, 126, 127, 211, 212, 213, or 215, and get off at Taiyangdao Daokou (Sun Island Crossing) Station.
Harbin Bus Search
2. Take the cable car over the Songhua River directly to the scenic area.

2. Ice and Snow World
It came into being in 1999 and is one of the world's largest ice architecture parks. The inspiration for the ice and snow sculptures there usually is derived from traditional Chinese fairy tales or world famous architectures such as the Great Wall, the Egyptian Pyramids, etc.

Admission Fee CNY 330 for adults
CNY 200 for children between 1.2-1.4m
Free for children under 1.2m
Opening Time December 22, 2017 to early March 2018
Operating Hours 11:00-22:00 (The lights are on from 16:30 to 21:30)
Transportation Take bus 29, 47, 80, 119, 125, 126, or 127 to Bingxue Dashijie (Ice and Snow World) directly.
Harbin Bus Search

3. Zhaolin Park
It is a 'must see' during the Ice and Snow Festival because it has a traditional program that shows the most excellent ice lanterns. With water, lights and the natural ice from the Songhua River running through this city as the material, the ice lanterns are made by freezing water, piling up ice or snow, then carving, enchasing, decorating, etc. The Ice Lantern Garden Party has been held here annually since 1963. There are numerous pieces of ice artworks in the park arranged in groups according to different themes depicting Chinese classic masterworks, European folktales and customs and so on. A great variety of objects such as buildings, gardens, flowers, waterfalls, European-styled churches, lions, tigers, dragons are carved from ice. In the daytime, the ice sculptures are magnificent and verisimilitude. Moreover, with the interspersion of the sparkling colored lights embedded in the sculptures at night, the park becomes a glorious and amazing ice world.

Admission Fee During the festival: CNY 150 per adult; free for children under 1.2m
Other time: Free
Ice Lantern Garden Opening Time Dec. 20, 2017 to Feb., 2018
Operating Hours during the Festival 10:00-21:00
Transportation Take bus 8, 23, 29, 52, 53, 83, 114, 132, 136, 201 or 206, and get off at Zhaolin Gongyuan (Zhaolin Park) Station.
Harbin Bus Search

The 34th Ice and Snow Festival Highlights (2018)

It started from January 1 to March 2018, covering three important Chinese festivals – New Year's Day, Chinese New Year and Lantern Festival. Based on the theme of "Bright Pearl of the Crown of Ice and Snow", a variety of activities about ice and snow, concerning tourism, culture, fashion, the economy and trade and sports, welcomed all tourists. People can enjoy beautiful ice sculptures and snow arts in the Sun Island Scenic Area, Ice and Snow World, Zhaolin Park and Central Street. In addition, St. Sophia Church, Harbin Polarland and Songhua River are also worth a visit during the festival.

☆ 2018 activities schedule for your reference:
Activity Dates Place
The 24th National Snow Sculpture Competition Dec. 19~22, 2017 Sun Island Snow Expo
The 5th Heilongjiang College Students Snow Sculpture Competition Dec. 4~7, 2017 Sun Island
The 10th International College Students Snow Sculpture Competition Jan. 4~7, 2018 Harbin Engineering University
The 32nd International Ice Sculpture Competition Jan. 6~8, 2018 Ice and Snow World
The 34th Group Wedding Ceremony on the Ice Jan. 6, 2018 Zhaolin Park
The 29th Hundred-Flower Dance Contest of senior people Jan. 13, 2018 People's Stadium
2018 New Year Concert Dec. 31, 2017 City Concert Hall
The 30th Sun Island Snow Sculpture Art Exposition Dec. 20, 2017 till the early Mar., 2018 Sun Island
The 24th International Snow Sculpture Competition Jan. 10~13, 2018 Sun Island
The 5th China and Russia Snow Sculpture Dual Meet Around late Jan. 2018 Sun Island Snow Expo
The 44th Ice Lantern Garden Party and the opening ceremony Dec. 26, 2017 till early Mar., 2018 Zhaolin Park
2018 Cold Zone Exposition Jan. 5~8, 2018 International Convention & Exhibition Center
International Amateur Ice Hockey Invitational Competition Jan. 5~8, 2018 Ice Hockey Gym
The 11th International Friendship Cities Badminton Invitational Competition Jan. 2018 Ice Training Base
The 18th International Winter Swimming Invitational Competition Jan. 5~6, 2018 Jiuzhan Park
Shuttlecock Invitational Competition

Jan. 2018

Ice Training Base
International Friendship Cities Tae Kwon Do Invitational Competition Jan. 2018 People’s Stadium
Winter Fishing Open Competition Jan. 2018 Dingxiang Island
National Ice Hockey League Jan. 2018 Ice Hockey Gym
National Cross-country Skiing Championship Feb. 2018 Wujimi Ski Resort
National Alpine Skiing Championship Mar. 2018 Wujimi Ski Resort
- Last modified on Nov. 07, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Asked by meanah Choo from MALAYSIA | Nov. 07, 2018 12:00Reply
Walk from Harbin Sun Garden hotel to Ice & Snow World
1. Is it possible to WALK from Sun Island Garden hotel to Ice & Snow World?
2. Does Sun island hotel provide shuttle service to Ice & Snow world?
3. How much is taxi fare to Ice World to sun island hotel?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mark from USA | Nov. 07, 2018 18:23

Yes, it is possible and it may be about 15-minute walk. There seems to be no shuttle bus. The taxi fee may be about CNY8 or CNY9.
Asked by Cassandra Ferreira from SOUTH AFRICA | Nov. 01, 2018 00:19Reply
I would just like to know if we could still visit the 3 major venues of Ice Snow Festival in Harbin?
from 2 to 4 January 2019
Answers (1)
Answered by Qahira from USA | Nov. 04, 2018 18:24

The official hasn't announce the date for opening up. So I'm not sure if you can see it. Generally, it may be opened on the early January.
Asked by devynn from CANADA | Oct. 31, 2018 01:23Reply
What is there to do on Decemeber 30th to Janurary 1st in Harbin?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mlian from SINGAPORE | Oct. 31, 2018 19:26

Ice and Snow World, Central Avenue, Hagia Sophia, the Snow Country... are great places to visit during your stay.
Asked by Mr lim from SINGAPORE | Jun. 25, 2018 05:31Reply
I will travel to harbin in dec 22...is it too early to visit ice and snow festival?
Answers (1)
Answered by Daniel from DENMARK | Jun. 26, 2018 02:17

Yes, the ice and snow festival will start from January 5th.
Asked by PRASAD_ACIT | Mar. 05, 2018 22:05Reply
what are the options available in Harbin
I am visiting from Mar 9th - Mar -12th (2018), what are the available attractions during this time?

Also please share the timings of each attraction if any recent change & the best time to visit (morning / afternoon / evening).
Answers (1)
Answered by Echo from SOUTH AFRICA | Mar. 06, 2018 01:00

Oh, all attractions will be open during your visit, but the ice and snow festival related sites may not be that fascinating, because the ice and sculptures may melt down due to the climbing temperature. Anyway, the recommended sites are Sun Island, Ice and Snow World, Zhaolin Park, Central Street and Polar Park. Central Street is suggested to roam around at night, and the others can be visited during the day.
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