Let it snow! See the world's largest and most elaborate ice sculptures this New Year at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. Magical, other-worldly and with New Year's Eve spent exploring the brilliantly illuminated Ice Lantern Show in Zhaolin Park, this is a holiday like no other.
29 December. Welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Arrive Beijing Capital Airport and included transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day offers free time for you to explore. Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven are all located within the vicinity of our hotel.
Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass
This morning, we set off to see the UNESCO protected Great Wall of China at Juyongguan Pass. At one time perhaps nearly 9700 kms long, the wall was garrisoned by 1 million soldiers and featured over 1,000 fortified passes and 10,000 beacon towers.
Juyongguan is one of the three great mountain passes of the Great Wall. Built during the Ming Dynasty the fortified structure stands as the first line of defence for protecting Beijing. Big battles were fought here against Jurchens and Mongols. Genghis Khan also led his army to the pass in 1213. Juyongguan Pass offers a different perspective of the wall than that of Badaling. Aside from far less tourists visiting the area, Juangguan is incredibly scenic and offers picture perfect views of the ruinous wall zigzagging into the distance.
Overnight: Harbin | Breakfast
Today, we hit Sun Island Park for the Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. The festival is open to visitors from 20 Dec, (though the official festival opening occurs on 05 Jan). This is a wonderful time to visit as sculptors will still be adding final touches to their masterpieces.
This afternoon is filled with thrills and spills as we make our way to the dreamlike theme park known as Harbin Snow and Ice World today. Imagine sliding down a huge ice luge resembling the Great Wall of China or climbing to the top of a replica of the Emperor’s Summer Palace in Beijing, complete with towers, guard house, moat and seven arched bridge. You could also sail away on Empress Dowager Cixi’s ice marble boat. The creations of Snow and Ice World are beyond imagination, enchanting, inspiring, otherworldly and often a little bizarre. What will be on offer this year is anyone's guess.
This evening we include dinner at hotpot restaurant before returning to our hotel to take a position our hotel bar to ring in the New Year. With plenty of lights, ice and ‘Maitai firewater', (the local alcoholic spirit) we welcome in the coming year.
Overnight: Harbin | Breakfast, Dinner
Harbin - Beijing. Happy New Year! This morning offers free time before we visit Zhaolin Park to see the enchanting Ice Lantern Show, also known as the Ice Lantern Art Fair. The small and sometimes giant frozen displays (ice lanterns as they are known) change from year to year but often include both modern and ancient spectacles and supernatural creations. There is time to marvel at the magnificence of the beautifully illuminated ice sculptures, many incorporating Traditional Chinese lanterns and revel beneath the thousands of fairy lights adorning the park. This evening we bid farewell to Harbin boarding the express overnight sleeper train bound for Beijing.
Overnight: Soft Sleeper Train to Beijing | Breakfast
02 January. Arrival into Beijing we return to our holiday start hotel to enjoy a nice hot breakfast. You are welcome to leave your luggage at our hotel and head out head out to explore Beijing, returning prior to your included departure transfer to the airport arranged to coordinate with your international flight. Please ensure that flights departing Beijing are booked after 2pm, in case of delays. Post tour accommodation is also available if you require.
See the Terracotta Warriors
If you would like to see more of China on your holiday, opt for our Harbin Ice Festival - 11 day tour that includes touring of the Forbidden City and a rickshaw ride through the Hutongs of Beijing, the Great Wall at both Badaling and Juyongguan Pass, Luoyang - home to the giant Buddhist statues at Longmen's Caves and Xi'an - home to the UNESCO listed, famed Terracotta Warriors.
See our Harbin Ice Festival - 11 day itinerary for more info.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate, all other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. Prices shown are per person when 2 people share a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the per person price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same gender on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement. We welcome families with teens 12 years of age and over on this tour.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.
Holiday Inn Temple of Heaven, Beijing
The Beijing Holiday Inn Temple of Heaven is an elegant and comfortable hotel with well-furnished and spacious rooms. Practical in design, the guestrooms feature internet access and the hotel also boasts a range of restaurants and bars, as well as an indoor swimming pool. Located just a 10 minute walk from the Temple of Heaven, the hotel is the perfect base from which to explore this fascinating city.
Holiday Inn Express Beijing Minzuyuan, Beijing
Located just a stones throw from the Beitucheng Subway station, with access to Line 10 & Line 8, the Holiday Inn Express Beijing Minzuyuan is a perfect base to explore the many amazing highlights of Beijing. Within walking distance of the hotel you'll find the famous Birds Nest Olympic Stadium. The hotel boasts a stylish restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Songbei Shangri-la Hotel, Harbin
Ideally situated on the banks of the Songhua River, is the Songbei Shangri-la Hotel. The five-star property offers ample fine dining options as well as gourmet pub cuisine. Each guest room is fully equipped with LED TV, WiFi, mini bar, iron and ironing board and much more. Guests can enjoy a relaxing massage or dip in the indoor pool before sipping on a cocktail in the onsite bar.
Enhance your trip with these amazing added extras and add-ons