Travelogue: Haerbin City, Snow and Ice Capital of China

It was this time of the year last 2010 that we decided not to fly home for Christmas for two reasons; 1. A plane ticket to PH was annoyingly expensive and 2. Snow, snow, snow. For someone who spent 28 yrs in a very tropical country, one would die just too see a glimpse of this airy weightless substance falling out from the sky. So it was the 12th last December when the heavens pour out all the snow flakes, it was an unforgettable magical day for me.

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However we (I think it was I), who never got satisfied. You see when you get to watch most American films meant for Christmas season release, snow is often excessive; people building snow man, surviving in a knee deep snow, extreme blizzards and all. But that kind of snow can’t be found in Dalian. So like every adventurous couple I know, hubby and I trained up to the northern part of China to seek a little town named Haerbin; known for its beauty and coldness. Long before I got here in Dalian I heard about this place from watching Discovery’s Travel and Living channel. From there I knew and wrote it is as a must see, so we did.

Early morning at Harbin, Heilongjiang Province China

Going there was really exciting. We took the last schedule out at around 9 in the evening; travel took at least 9 hours in seriously cold weather. I remember seeing a hard frozen window pane hours before the train fully stopped. True enough, snow was profusely pouring when we arrived early morning of December 31st. Believe me it was not the most pleasant train ride ever, but seeing Haerbin in the whitest morning of my entire life is so worth it. I was astounded and overwhelmed.

So where did we stay? We booked at Yingu Hotel along the famous Zhongyang Street which right in the heart of the city. Not so far from the railway station, but felt a bit far because Haerbin is a small town; most of the roads are small and built in one way so it takes lots of left and right turn which was confusing and longer due to traffic. Location wise perfect, lots of near nearby restaurants, accessible to any form of transportation except city train (they don’t have one) and tourist spots are just a walk away. Budget wise pretty acceptable just paid 120RMB / night for a clean, decent and warm room inclusive buffet breakfast insanely cheaper compare to other nearby hotels.

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Stay tune for the next post, I’ll show you all the wonderful places we visited in our 3-day adventure.

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