Harbin, HOLIDAYS, Uncategorized HARBIN: FREEZING, MUCH? 2 February 2010

Harbin is often referred to as “Little Moscow”, as it’s China’s northernmost major city, bordering Russia. We were actually surprised at just how Russian-influenced it was – lots of Russian architecture, food, shops, and even many locals spoke Russian or had inter-race marriages with Russians. Very surreal!

We were here for a 3-day stint to check out the area, as well as the world famous Snow Sculpture Park and Ice Sculptures.

Oh, did I mention it was…….. -30 celcius?!??!?!

Have you experienced -30 degrees before? I certainly hadn’t, nowhere close. It’s far, far colder than Moscow, with a cold so frightfully biting that it HURTS. You can’t have any bit of skin exposed, because the air is so frigid it actually feels like your skin is burning. No matter how many layers you wear (I had 5), the cold still eats right in. I could survive a maximum of 1 hour outdoors before my toes BURNED so badly I wanted to cry, and had to go inside to warm them back up. It’s phenomenal and shocking just how bitter and freezing the weather is.

Yet, despite the cold, archaeological records show that prehistoric humans lived in the area around Harbin as long ago as 22,000 years ago (!). And the Harbin locals actually seem pretty comfortable – wrapped up, but they could tolerate being out in the open air for far longer. I was astounded at the people selling stuff on the streets, standing out at night in a chill that made me want to scream, yet they stood for hours selling stuff.

But IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!! I was really eager to experience what -30 degrees felt like, and now I know 😉 And Harbin is a beautiful place – EVERYTHING is white and made of snow and ice. A whole city, covered and carved out of ice. Really amazing. It was truly like being in a different world – seeing huge ice buildings and sculptures along the streets, and walking around amidst a blanket of snow.


Ice ice ice, everywhere

Stepping right out of the airport and we see this, made entirely out of ice blocks

Fish in big bowls hanging from the ceiling, in our hotel lobby

Icicles formed on our eyebrows, eyelashes, clothes, everywhere!

A hearty meal in a Russian cafe – so many of them around!

All cosied-up

Caviar, butter, baguette. Oh the simple pleasures….

Chris adored it. So did I!

Boneless chicken thigh and mushrooms. Looked terrible but tasted amazing!

Minced lamb kebabs with tomato salsa

Pate on crackers


46 Comments

  • good_lenchik posted on February 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I’m the first! Yahoo! How come there is nothing about topless Russian girls?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:06 am

      Cheeky 😛

      But I just made a post on em… no actual pics cos they got angry whenever I took out my digital camera, oops

      Reply
  • jzlyn posted on February 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    OMG! I am so not looking forward to the cold!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:07 am

      Bring layers and layers of socks, gloves, clothing.. omg,, you’ll need it!

      Reply
  • angelnotes posted on February 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Wow, that’s really cold! Must’ve been such an interesting experience. 🙂

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:17 am

      It was 60 degrees colder than SG.. which is such a weird thoughT!

      Reply
  • tiffanyx posted on February 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    its amazing how they carved that!!!!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:31 am

      It gets even more amazing… will post soon!

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on February 2, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Wow.

    I’ve been struggling to cope with -8 celsius here in the State – I honestly don’t think I could bring myself to leave indoors if I were somewhere where it was -30. Huge respect for you!!

    Also, that caviar looks so good. I really want some salmon roe sushi now 😀

    – Hannah

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:41 am

      Re: Wow.

      Yeah it is PAINFUL! but still worth a visit once in your life 😛

      Reply
  • emmakins888 posted on February 2, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    OMG that caviar looks amazing! I want!!!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:41 am

      it was SO GOOD we went back again for that… yummmm.. the soft butter and fluffy bread…

      Reply
  • desireless posted on February 2, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Just so you know, I went and looked up flights to Harbin right after I saw your post. It looks so neat and the architecture is amazing! And I’m from Canada so -30 happens at least once a winter.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:42 am

      Absolutely worth a trip! Esp if the cold is not too bad for you since you’re used to it, hehe 😛

      Reply
  • rollagirl9 posted on February 2, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Love the photo with Chris’ little eyes poking out of the cover-up!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:43 am

      Hehe his frozen lashes and brows.. we were like walking icicles!

      Reply
  • good_lenchik posted on February 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I’m the first! Yahoo! How come there is nothing about topless Russian girls?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:06 am

      Cheeky 😛

      But I just made a post on em… no actual pics cos they got angry whenever I took out my digital camera, oops

      Reply
  • thefragrantelf posted on February 2, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Just…Wow! What an amazing experience.. All of it! I was thinking the same about the photo with Chris, excellent shot…looks like it’s from a documentary or something!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:46 am

      Oh true! I like that pic too.. it captures Harbin well 😉

      Reply
  • jzlyn posted on February 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    OMG! I am so not looking forward to the cold!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:07 am

      Bring layers and layers of socks, gloves, clothing.. omg,, you’ll need it!

      Reply
  • angelnotes posted on February 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Wow, that’s really cold! Must’ve been such an interesting experience. 🙂

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:17 am

      It was 60 degrees colder than SG.. which is such a weird thoughT!

      Reply
  • tiffanyx posted on February 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    its amazing how they carved that!!!!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:31 am

      It gets even more amazing… will post soon!

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on February 2, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Wow.

    I’ve been struggling to cope with -8 celsius here in the State – I honestly don’t think I could bring myself to leave indoors if I were somewhere where it was -30. Huge respect for you!!

    Also, that caviar looks so good. I really want some salmon roe sushi now 😀

    – Hannah

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:41 am

      Re: Wow.

      Yeah it is PAINFUL! but still worth a visit once in your life 😛

      Reply
  • starbucksweetie posted on February 3, 2010 at 2:47 am

    I’ve experienced -30 degrees celcius on a regular basis. Don’t come to Edmonton, Canada. Interestingly enough, Harbin is Edmonton’s sister city.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:47 am

      Ouchhh props to you for surviving that! i didn’t know Harbin’s the sister city, tres cool

      Reply
  • emmakins888 posted on February 2, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    OMG that caviar looks amazing! I want!!!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:41 am

      it was SO GOOD we went back again for that… yummmm.. the soft butter and fluffy bread…

      Reply
  • desireless posted on February 2, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Just so you know, I went and looked up flights to Harbin right after I saw your post. It looks so neat and the architecture is amazing! And I’m from Canada so -30 happens at least once a winter.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:42 am

      Absolutely worth a trip! Esp if the cold is not too bad for you since you’re used to it, hehe 😛

      Reply
  • rollagirl9 posted on February 2, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Love the photo with Chris’ little eyes poking out of the cover-up!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:43 am

      Hehe his frozen lashes and brows.. we were like walking icicles!

      Reply
  • cenedrah posted on February 3, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Ohhh the Russian food looks amazing! It’s so cool to see all the regional varieties in terms of cuisine around China.
    Did you get to try Manchu food considering you’re in their homeland?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 11:02 am

      yup, we definitely did – was yumm!

      Reply
  • thefragrantelf posted on February 2, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Just…Wow! What an amazing experience.. All of it! I was thinking the same about the photo with Chris, excellent shot…looks like it’s from a documentary or something!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:46 am

      Oh true! I like that pic too.. it captures Harbin well 😉

      Reply
  • starbucksweetie posted on February 3, 2010 at 2:47 am

    I’ve experienced -30 degrees celcius on a regular basis. Don’t come to Edmonton, Canada. Interestingly enough, Harbin is Edmonton’s sister city.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 3:47 am

      Ouchhh props to you for surviving that! i didn’t know Harbin’s the sister city, tres cool

      Reply
  • cenedrah posted on February 3, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Ohhh the Russian food looks amazing! It’s so cool to see all the regional varieties in terms of cuisine around China.
    Did you get to try Manchu food considering you’re in their homeland?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 3, 2010 at 11:02 am

      yup, we definitely did – was yumm!

      Reply
  • pinkelle posted on September 16, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Bev,

    Thanks so much for your tips! 🙂 Harbin is the next destination we’re planning after Hangzhou! Do you mind sharing please the hotel you stayed in and any numbers of the concierge/tour guide we may use while we’re there? Thanks so so much!

    Reply
    • Beverly! posted on September 17, 2011 at 11:30 am

      Eek I’m really sorry but I don’t remember as it was too long ago! Maybe I’ve mentioned the hotel name in one of my entries?

      It was the concierge guy at the hotel that arranged for a car and guide to take us around 🙂

      Reply

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