The Harbin Ice Festival
Showcasing both the magnificent ice sculptures of local artists and those from around the world, the Harbin Ice Festival has now been running for over 20 years. Soaking up the vibrant and creative atmosphere of the festival we enjoy the amazing ice works, many built on an awe-inspiring scale, and watch the incredibly dexterous sculptors at work. Ice art subjects can include well-known buildings, animals, gardens and scenes from Chinese folklore. After dark, the sculptures come alive in a dazzling display of light and colour from the thousands of tiny lights lying hidden within.
Chinese New Year
New Year is the biggest event on the Chinese festival calendar and in Hong Kong people mark the occasion with a unique fusion of ancient customs and modern fun in the world's largest Chinese New Year celebration. Like many families in the city, we will enjoy a special celebratory Dim Sum lunch before heading out to enjoy the colourful spectacle of the New Year Parade where we have reserved seats. The following day we can join the crowds as they make a pilgrimage to local temples or the throngs flocking to the flower markets looking for an auspicious bloom or plant for the New Year. In the evening the waterside is the place to be as an exciting firework display lights up the whole of the Hong Kong's magnificent harbour.
What's it really like?
“ AMAZING - FANTASTIC - AWESOME - WOW!!! This is the best tour I've ever run - it has everything!!! !”
These were the excited exclamations from our expert China tour leader, Neil Kelsall on his return from leading Explore’s exclusive 2009 Harbin Ice Festival & Chinese New Year tour. An action packed adventure, it combines two very different and exciting festivals along with the chance to see China’s classic highlights - Beijing, the Great Wall and Xian’s Terracotta Army, and experience vibrant Hong Kong. And travelling to China in the winter brings other benefits, such as when Neil’s group found themselves to be the only people walking along an awesome stretch of China’s Great Wall which would be flocking with tourists in the summer.
Neil’s favourite part of the Harbin Ice festival was the Snow & Ice World attraction “ This covers an area the size of a small town and has full sized churches; pagodas; a model of the Birds Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing; etc. it's blow your mind stuff!!!” And our Explorer’s were thrilled when we secured front row seats to watch the Chinese New Year parade in Hong Kong – a never ending stream of highly decorated floats, dancers and dragons that has been rightly selected by the Lonely Planet 'Bluelist' as one of the world's “most fascinating attractions and celebrations”. The following night was equally exciting as the sky over Hong Kong’s magnificent harbour was lit up by an amazing firework display – a fitting finale to a truly memorable trip.
View the Harbin Ice Festival and Chinese New Year trip.
Interested in other Festivals? Check out our festival holidays page.