As you can see on a map of China, Heilongjiang province in northeastern China is like a swan spreading its wings, while Harbin, its capital city, is akin to a glistening pearl around swan’s neck. With pigeons dancing, St. Sophia Church boasts solemn bells tolling; with the sun shining brightly, Sun Island evokes happy memories; with continental flavor, the European-style architecture of Central Street shows the charm of this remarkable city; with snowflakes fluttering, the Ice and Snow World appears like something out of a dream.
Located in China`s northernmost province, Harbin has long and bitterly cold winters and short, cool summers. Praised by many as “Ice City,” it is the ideal destination for snow lovers and anyone wanting to avoid the summer heat.
Harbin has the largest ski center in Asia: Yabuli International Ski Resort. Also, it has the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, you can fully enjoy ice lantern show and ice activities such as ice-sailing, sledging, ice hockey, ice football, and more.
Time-honored history and captivating scenery have made Harbin one of the best-known tourist destination of the Far East. Under the cover of darkness, Harbin is more like a fairy-tale world.
Stroll along Central street, view elegant European-style buildings and the grand orthodox church and taste incredible food to experience the charm of what is referred to as the “Oriental Moscow”.
Viewing the classical architectures, mainly concentrated on Central street and Guogeli street, is a highlight of any Harbin tour. But in the winter, you cannot miss Harbin’s ice and snow entertainment. Taking part in them is the best means of learning about this majestic city.
Harbin food is mainly influenced by neighboring Russia and Northeastern traditional cuisine, and here you can not only taste genuine Russian cuisine in Russian-style restaurants, but also try authentic Northeastern Chinese dishes such as sautéed potatoes with green pepper and eggplants (Di San Xian), Stewed Chicken with Mushroom (Xiao Ji Dun Mo Gu), Braised Pork with Vermicelli (Zhu Rou Dun Fen Tiao), and so on.
The entrees in most Harbin restaurants often have large portions, so tourists need to keep this in mind while ordering their meal.
the food in Harbin is widely distributed such that you can taste all kinds of specialties around Central Street and Hongbo Century Square. Central Street and its side-alleys are full of small restaurants and bakeries. Tongjiang street is also a great place to look for somewhere to eat and has an abundance of fruit stands.
Harbin is one of the biggest commercial cities of Northeast China. Local specialties and souvenirs can be divided into two categories: one is the food with the exotic flavors of Russia like candy stuffed with wine, Russian bread, chocolate and so on. Besides, you can also buy some tea, paintings or ornaments which are relatively inexpensive and quality-made in Russia or other eastern European countries.
The other type of souvenir available are the Northeastern Chinese specialties such as the Three Treasures of Northeast China, namely ginseng, pilose antler, and marten, but remember to buy them in reliable stores. In addition, Harbin red sausage and dried sausages are worth buying.