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A Cheat Sheet to Harbin Ice and Snow Festival 2023-24

One of the most symbolic winter events in the world!

· 4 min read

As winter blankets the northeastern part of China in a frosty embrace, the city of Harbin transforms into a breathtaking spectacle of shimmering ice and snow. The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, one of the world's largest and most renowned winter festivals, takes center stage, captivating visitors with its enchanting displays and festive atmosphere.

Planning to visit the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival? Don't worry, we've got your back in this pocket guide!

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Source: Harbin Ice Snow

What is the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival?

The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is an annual event that takes place in Harbin every winter. It is one of the largest and most symbolic events of Harbin, attracting millions of tourists every year since its inauguration in 1999.

The entire festival ground transforms into a winter wonderland and a huge sensory delight. Festival-goers will get to see brightly illuminated ice and snow sculptures, and enjoy various cultural activities and winter sports.

In its 25th edition this year (2023-2024), the festival takes the theme of “龙腾冰雪 逐梦亚冬” (loosely translated to 'Dragon soaring over ice and snow, chasing dreams of the Asian Winter'). The theme melds the upcoming 2025 Asian Winter games with the local Longjiang culture, creating a ice and snow wonderland for visitors.

When is the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival?

The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival typically runs from the second half of December to end February/early March.

This year, in its 25th edition, the festival will run from 18 December 2023, 11.00am. The last date of the festival has not been announced yet as it is largely dependent on weather conditions, but we can expect this year's festival to also run until end February.

The festival runs from 11am to 9pm daily.

Highlights of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival 2023-24

From the enormous ice sculptures to ice lanterns and winter activities, there are many things to see and do at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. Here are some of the highlights that you can look forward to this year.

Dragon Soaring Light Show

Harbin Ice
Source: Harbin Ice Snow

2024 signifies the year of the dragon in the Chinese calendar, and it is no surprise that the dragon will take center stage of the show. The light show features a beautifully sculptured dragon, and combines 3D mapping and AR technology to present a magnificent show.

The Sky Dance Arena

Source: Harbin Ice Snow

The Sky Dance arena includes an ice restaurant, ice bar, and ice hotel. You can enjoy an ice-cold pint of beer in the ice bar, or enjoy a nice and warm hotpot in the restaurant!

Romantic Ripples at the Fairytale Kingdom

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Source: Harbin Ice Snow

To celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations between China and France, the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival has also taken inspiration from both the Chinese and French culture to design the 'Fairytale Kingdom' arena. One of the highlights of this year's exhibition is the use of sensory technology to create images of water ripples at the arena's exteriors.

Ice Piano

Source: Harbin Ice Snow

A giant ice piano will be featured in this year's exhibits. The ice will act as the piano's keyboards, and a beautiful melody will be formed as visitor's step through the various ice-made keys!

Ice Rides and Recreation

Source: Harbin Ice Snow

Aside from the exhibits, you can also enjoy various rides and recreational facilities. From the snowy ferris wheel to an ice slide or even ice karting, you can look forward to a day of fun and activities.

Stage performances

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Source: Harbin Ice Snow

You can also look forward to stage performances at the festival. You can expect to see dance performances featuring perfromers from 12 countries. And for more adrenaline, you can also catch the Ice Motorcar Ballet show, where you watch motorcars speed on ice and perform stunts straight out of an action movie. There will also be meet-and-greets with mascots that young children can enjoy!

Buying tickets for the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

You can get tickets to the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival on-site. Tickets are priced at 328CNY each, or 240CNY for visitors below 18.

Alternatively, you can also pre-purchase your tickets on Klook. If you purchase your ticket on Klook, you will receive a QR code that you will need for entry to the park. Prices are slightly higher on Klook than if you were to purchase it on-site, but it'll definitely save you the hassle of queuing and navigating around the ticketing procedures - especially if you can't speak the language.

Take note that there are some experiences which requires reservation, and you are limited to one reservation per experience per ticket. These experiences include:

  • The Ice Slide
  • The Ha-bing show
  • Ferris Wheel
  • Skiing experience
  • Ice MotorCar Ballet Show

After you purchase your tickets and enter the festival grounds, you will be able to scan a QR code to get you to the advanced reservation page. You will have to enter your ticket number and identity details to make an advanced reservation.

Source: Harbin Ice Snow

Getting to the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

If you are taking the public transport, you can take the local metro to the 哈尔滨冰雪大世界 ((Ice and Snow World) station on Line 2 of the Harbin Metro.

If you are taking the bus, the following buses can bring you to the Ice and Snow World: 29, 42, 43, 47, 80, 119, 125, 126, 127, 211, 212, 213, 215, 216, 219, 223, 225, 226, 346, 551, 552, S11.

Alternatively, you can consider taking a taxi or ride share, or engage a private tour that comes with private transport to the venue. These private tours typically also include a visit to the Snow Expo (focuses on Snow sculptures) or a tour around other highlights in the city, or you can speak to the guide to design a tour suited for your group.