Last Wednesday I left for China on a business trip. With lady luck watching over me, I made my way to Changchun. Good fortune allowed my work in China to finish on Saturday, and so on Sunday I had a day to explore before heading to Taiwan on Monday. My parents and family friends told me that while I was in the area, I should check out Harbin. There was a very famous festival for ice sculptures that would be remiss of me if I squandered this opportunity to go.
The nearby Songhua River provides the ice that Harbin uses to create these ice behemoths. The river usually freezes 1-2m thick in the winter. At night the ice is illuminated with lights of all colors. Unfortunately, I had an early flight to Taiwan at 7 AM so I could only enjoy the Ice Snow world during the day. I hope to return at another time to view these monuments in all their glory.
The place was enormous. It cost 330 RMB to get in (~$50USD), which at the time I thought was a bit steep – however, once I was inside I ended walking around for about 3 hours. With the understanding that I could’ve stayed there until the park closed, because the real show began at night, I re-evaluated my original thoughts on the entry fee.
A lot of the buildings are modeled after famous buildings in the world. This church looked like something that probably exists in Russia or Europe.
A lot of the stand-alone island structures had wooden stairs that you could climb to the platform on top.
Photoshop was giving me a lot of problems with the ice sculptures and the color/level balancing so I had to do it all by hand. Admittedly, I may have remembered everything a lot more blue than the cameras captured. You may have noticed the discrepancy between the videos and the pictures. Oops.
There were other things to do there as well. Ice skating, polar aquarium, tubing, and some ice shows. I just didn’t have time to partake.
There was a giant snow area that I thought was just some cool sculptures. After walking around for about 10 minutes, I realized that I was standing in the middle of a MOBA board. Which explained the “jungle” and why there were random ice sculptures within the snow. It’s for a very popular mobile MOBA game, 王者荣耀.
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is also home to an ice sculpture competition. Scattered throughout the area are ice sculptures with plaques denoting the name of the art and what team made it. It is also accompanied with a short description of what the team was trying to capture in their frozen masterpiece. Be sure to click on “View Full-Size Image” to get a better view of each sculpture.
With it being daylight and the ice being so translucent, I had to manually adjust a lot of the levels in photoshop to get the ice sculptures to come out so clearly, so try to ignore the strange colors/lighting.
There were SO many ice sculptures, probably 60+. I just presented to you my favorites. If you are curious to see the other ones, I’ll be happy to share them if you bring it up with me.
There was even a “Snow sculpture” area that I just didn’t have the time to see.
It was very surreal to be there. I didn’t expect the ice structures to be so enormous. I hope to go again when I can see them at night. If you ever get a chance to go, there are tour groups for non-native speakers, I highly recommend it.