China winter - Harbin in Heilongjiang


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Mar 17, 2008
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#1
Hi,

Winter holidays in Northern China can be quite exciting.
There are a variety of things to see and experience.
Harbin is a city you should not miss. While it is freezing, but Harbin host many year end events like the Ice World, Snow Sculpture and others...

The right time to visit winter Harbin is end of Dec. Too early, the Song Hua River has not frozen deep enough for them to extract the ice to build the gigantic ice replica structures. Ice world is only visited at night because of the brilliance and colurful lighting of the ice blocks. Best time is January.

You get to see Russian tourists as well. But they are not sight seer but more like going to Harbin to shop. Many shops. I find the winter gear pretty good. The inner warm clothing are make for their weather so is more effective to keep you warm.

I sharing so that for those going there can get some ideas what to expect.


A young female photographer braving the freezing snow...


One of the ICE structure in the Ice World Exhibition


Snow sculpture in Taiyang Dao


Frozen rivers everywhere...


Frozen Song Hua River turns into a park...
 

Mar 17, 2008
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#2
Some more places...

Chongyang’s pedestrian mall for shopping. Building architecture mostly Russian style


If you thirsty can go for a cold beer in the ICE bar. Drink fast or it will turn to ice


If you run short of money, no problem. Just take a dip in this pool and they reward you with RMB 200. Need more money ... dip in a few more times


If you miss Ice Cream, no worry. They sell high quality ice cream even when snowing. Only problem is that it is rock hard.


Sophie Church...
 

Shen siung

Senior Member
May 21, 2008
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#4
If not wrong, the Ice world exhibition (ice sculpture) will only start 2nd or 3rd of Jan every year right?
 

albertsim

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Nov 4, 2009
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#5
Ice Sculpture Exhibition usually starts on 5 Jan. I will be there this year and will include places like 雪乡,松花江,长白山,牡丹江.
 

Mar 17, 2008
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#7
If not wrong, the Ice world exhibition (ice sculpture) will only start 2nd or 3rd of Jan every year right?
Ice Sculpture Exhibition usually starts on 5 Jan. I will be there this year and will include places like 雪乡,松花江,长白山,牡丹江.
Yes you are right. Officially always open in early January.
That is why I also mentioned best time is in Jan.

But Spore families has problem as holidays end on 31st Dec.
Not to cause worry for those already book their holidays I say end Dec.

The Exhibition still open for visit near the end of Dec except they not not get all the exhibits completed.

Regards,
 

Mar 17, 2008
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#9
So, erm, did you do this? :)
Ah..

After leaving the place I was thinking to myself that I should have tried it to see how it feel.

Wonder if we from the hot climate can withstand the coldness of the water. I afraid of muscle cramp. Wonder what is the secret preparation.

I tried showering in near zero water and got my body burn red when I ran out of the shower into a room of 24 deg air temp. I felt like I was on burning.

Regards,
 

clioboy

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May 25, 2008
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#10
going early Dec.. :) via Shanghai.

preparing to get my a** frozen off..

should be trying the cold water..then my B***s will be frozen too..:sweat:

what was ur itinerary like if u don't mind sharing.. TIA
 

trifusion

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Nov 26, 2005
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#11
going early Dec.. :) via Shanghai.

preparing to get my a** frozen off..

should be trying the cold water..then my B***s will be frozen too..:sweat:

what was ur itinerary like if u don't mind sharing.. TIA
Hey bro, I'm going there in early dec also. If you want, we can meet up there and get around abit? Or can share hotel room to cut cost. = )
 

Mar 17, 2008
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#12
going early Dec.. :) via Shanghai.

preparing to get my a** frozen off..

should be trying the cold water..then my B***s will be frozen too..:sweat:

what was ur itinerary like if u don't mind sharing.. TIA
Sorry, whose itinerary are you asking?

Anyway my visit breakdown for Harbin would be:

1 night to see the ICE Sculpture exhibition

1/2 day to go Taiyang Dao then 1/2 for Songhua river and winter swimming pool.

1/2 day to Sophie Church and photo shoot of gf/wife (if you bringing her )around square next to church. 1/2 days shopping/walk around in Chongyang. Nite time, go drinking.. or massage my tired leg (or body).

So 2 full days and two nights. However, need to factor in time loss due to arrival / departure timing.

There is a temple to visit if you like temple and sking if you like but some 3hr away from Harbin.

BTW sundown by 4.30 pm so not much of daylight.

Hope you have nice time there.

Regards,
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#13
Thanks bro.

How you find this brand?

Are you now in Spore or in Shanghai?

regards,
The brand is quite good. Some of the padding is a little softer than Lowepro but I still find them acceptable. Some models are knockoffs of famous brands we know. But the price is the key. It is dirt cheap.

This is the one that I own http://www.mywiner.com/proshow.asp?id=107. Bought it in Shanghai in early 2005. It can hold a body with medium sized lens straight down. With my D90 with tamron 17-50 hooded put in straight down, I still get around 3 cm of clearance at the bottom. On top of that it can fit another 3 lenses, a flash gun, and tons of other stuff. This bag have so much room.

And guess what. It cost me 31 SGD buying it at a departmental store at HK gateway in Xujiahui. So cheap, i was giggling all the way to the cashier. Can probably get it cheaper in HuangLong or XingGuang.

I travel between SHA and SG. I am in SG now and have been here most of this year.
 

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Mar 17, 2008
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#14
Wow only S$31. You got it at a good bargain.
Since they have a web site, brand must be quite reputable.
Thank for directing to their web site.

Will check this brand out next time I go to Shanghai.
Padding not thick is Ok cause I bought few bags which are so rugged but it weighs like a brick.
It feel oK empty but after packing up it is a different story.
After walking a half day with it, the whole bag weighs like the SBO.

Oh, a light bag is most welcome. Camera gear weight is also a dread to me.

Regards,
 

limkopi

New Member
Aug 31, 2004
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flickr.com
#15
Hi enginecadet...

Care to share a bit on how's the daylight hours & camera performance (as in will it freeze / fog up easily) & batt life? :)
 

Mar 17, 2008
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#16
Hi enginecadet...

Care to share a bit on how's the daylight hours & camera performance (as in will it freeze / fog up easily) & batt life? :)
Daylight kind of short in Dec and January in the northern China.

In the morning, at 7 am you get some light but not that bright. Starting to become dark quickly at 4.30 pm. In the northern part sometime quite sunny although it is winter, unlike Shanghai which usually is gloomy in winter.

Yes, temperature in Dec is quite low, below minus 10 deg . Toward 2nd half of Dec easily can go up to minus 18 deg or lower.

Camera should able to perform. I use Nikon. To be safe carry two batteries and charge them full every night. There is one time my camera top LCD flashes continuously when I was out too long in something like minus 25 deg. However it still operate.

The problem I encounter is actually taking photo itself.
Firstly, it is so cold that the fingers are not responding well (very stiff).
Adding to it that you need to wear thick glove, it make the hand rather clumsy and difficulty in pressing the shutter. So I took it off to press the shutter.
Just few minutes in minus 20 deg the finger begin to hurt and become really painful.
Move a lot and faster can improve blood circulation and helps the fingers.

Another small problem is the frosting of the LCD screen by my breath when I look through the VF.

A more serious and irritating problem is condensation from change of atmosphere/temperature when your move from outdoor to indoor.
Change lens outdoor may aggravate the problem. A zoom lens is more practical.

There are advices on how to prevent condensation. Well, easier said than done.
Especially imagine you are walking on the street and suddenly stroll into a shop or shopping centre or you enter a building of interest with your camera hanging from your neck. In northern territory most interiors are well heated and pretty warm.

Taking photo in the very cold Winter is interesting, challenging and exciting.
Hope you will enjoy as much as I do.

Regards,
 

Mar 17, 2008
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#18
planning a trip there in the 2nd half of dec.

how much did you pay for food, accomodation and airfare anyway?
You can fly to Shanghai overnight and connect to Harbin.
I think it is the quickest route.
Normal fare RMB 1760 + 50 (now).
Schedule flight : 0820 hr, 0910 hr . . . from Pudong.
Flight time 2.5 hr

Or via Beijing – many flights.
Normal fare RMB 1010 + 50 (now).
Schedule flight : 7.40 hr, 755 hr..
Flight time 1.5 hr.

If you book few days in advance there is a fare discount. Above all one way.
If, last minutes change flight time you will pay according to the fare at that time you change.
You need to top up the difference. So plan your schedule with certainty to save some airfare $.

Discount will also depend on the season, whether peak or not.

Hotel room ranges from 250 to 400 ( reasonable room twin sharing, within city area).

KFC and Mac are cheaper than Spore. Rest food also cheaper, depend what you order.
Beer is definitely much cheaper and colder.


BTW, further to my earlier post, I wear two gloves in very cold weather.
An inner thinner fabric one and the outer is the puffy water proof type.
I will remove the outer one when I am pressing the shutter.

It may be wise to carry a compact camera in your bag in case the main camera develops some problems. Also better bring a fairly good compact if you going to very cold weather.
 

astroboy

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2005
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#19
I have a question, for the Ice Festival, entry fee is RMB200/pax, right?
If one were to spend a whole day inside, do they provide warm shelters or indoor rest areas to escape from the cold?

Thanks. :)
 

SK1968

Senior Member
Jun 20, 2009
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Changi
#20
I have a question, for the Ice Festival, entry fee is RMB200/pax, right?
If one were to spend a whole day inside, do they provide warm shelters or indoor rest areas to escape from the cold?

Thanks. :)
There is a cafe (heated of course) in the ice exhibition. Actually, since the exhibition is nice only when viewed after sunset when the lights are turned on, you are really looking at probably 1.5-2 or maybe 3 hrs there, and not a whole day. However, since it is freezing hell cold there, the cafe is definite a good shelter :)
 

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