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FROM: R49,284 pp
Harbin Ice Festival - 11 days map

Discover China this Christmas to see the Great Wall, Beijing's Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an. Flying to Harbin, New Year's is a once-in-a-lifetime event, as we discover the extraordinary, inspiring, enchanting and often incredibly beautiful ice installations of the Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival.

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Hotels
Reviews

Trip Highlights

Harbin - Explore the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, including Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo, Harbin Ice and Snow World and Harbin Ice Lantern Show at Zhaolin Park
Huanghuacheng Great Wall - A section of the Great Wall of China, unique for its partially submerged and picturesque portion of the wall
Luoyang - Take a high-speed train to Luoyang, and enjoy a visit to the Longmen Caves, food hunt in Old City Shizi Street and watch Kung Fu at a Shaolin Monastery
Beijing - Visit the iconic Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, explore the Hutong area of Beijing, enjoy a Chinese Acrobatic Show and taste the famous peking duck
Xi'an - Experience the UNESCO listed Terracotta Warriors, Terracotta Warrior Factory, Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Muslim Quarter, City Wall and bike ride and savour a dumpling-making experience

Included

Daily breakfasts, 2 lunches and 5 dinners, inclusive of traditional Peking Duck dinner in Beijing, and dumpling-making experience in Xi'an
Economy Flight: Xi’an – Harbin
High speed train: Beijing - Luoyang and Luoyang - Xi'an (2nd class)
Chinese acrobatic performance in Beijing
Xi’an - bike ride on medieval City Wall
English speaking specialist guides at some sites
Beijing Capital Airport arrival transfer on day 1 and departure transfer day 11
9 nights 4 star hotels
1 overnight train: Harbin - Beijing (4-berth soft sleeper cabin)
Touring of Beijing, Great Wall area, Luoyang, Xi'an and Harbin Ice Festival
Visit to Shaolin Monastery
Escorted by an experienced English speaking Chinese Tour guide
All relevant transfers and transportation in private heated vehicles

Not Included

International flights and visa
Entrance Fees: USD$145-155pp, paid in local currency
Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$5 - 7 per day, per traveller as a tip for your guide. Tipping your guide and driver is an entirely personal gesture
Tipping Kitty: USD$110-120pp, paid in local currency

Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to Beijing

23 December. Huang ying, welcome to China and the start of your holiday! Upon your arrival at Beijing Capital Airport, you will be transferred to your hotel for check-in.

The day is yours to explore Beijing, the captivating capital of China, renowned for its blend of history, contemporary skyscrapers, and iconic cultural sites such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. In the evening, there will be a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby to kick off your exciting journey.
Overnight: Beijing

Day 2

The Forbidden City

After breakfast, our first stop today will be the iconic Tiananmen Square, where Chairman Mao’s tomb lies and various monuments to the people are located. While we won't enter the tomb, we will get to view the exterior.

Following this, we'll enter the *Forbidden City, a magnificent palace complex which served as the seat of power for Chinese emperors over five centuries. With over 800 buildings and 9,000 chambers, this is one of China's best preserved historical treasures. *Tickets to the Forbidden City are limited, see trip notes for more information.

In the afternoon, delve into Beijing's hutongs, a maze-like network of ancient alleyways that form the city's historical core. Wander through these charming lanes, where generations of families have lived, and discover traditional courtyards and compact houses. Afterward, you'll take a leisurely stroll along Wangfujing Pedestrian Street, a renowned shopping avenue at the heart of the city.

In the evening, enjoy a Beijing dining experience by savouring a Peking roast duck dinner, typically enjoyed wrapped in thin pancakes, with spring onions and hoisin sauce!
Overnight: Beijing  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3

Xmas at the Great Wall

Merry Christmas! Today, prepare for an exciting journey to the iconic Great Wall of China. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Great Wall stands as an enduring symbol of Chinese civilization and ingenuity. Initially constructed for defensive purposes, it snakes an impressive 6,700 kilometers across diverse terrains and towering mountains.

We'll be visiting the Huanghuacheng section of the Great Wall, known as the "Yellow Flower Great Wall." Its name originates from the vibrant yellow wildflowers that bloom along the wall during specific seasons. What sets Huanghuacheng apart is that a portion of the wall is partially submerged underwater. We'll embark on a scenic hike along the wall, offering breathtaking views and a deeper understanding of the structure's historical significance.

This evening promises an enchanting spectacle as we attend a Chinese acrobatic performance. These skilled artists will leave you spellbound with their gravity-defying feats.
Overnight: Beijing  |  Breakfast

Day 4

Luoyang & the Longmen Caves

Beijing - Luoyang. After breakfast this morning, we'll head to the railway station for a comfortable 2nd class high-speed train journey to Luoyang, which will take approximately 4-4.5 hours. Luoyang is one of the four ancient Chinese capitals, renowned for its magnificent peony blooms and the celestial Longmen Caves.

After meeting our local guide and enjoying lunch at a local restaurant, prepare to be captivated by the Longmen Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site. These remarkable caves are perched densely along the cliffs lining the Yi River, and they house the world's most extensive collection of celestial art treasures, boasting the largest array of statues to be found anywhere on Earth. This enduring art form, etched into the stone, has not only withstood the test of time but has also borne witness to the reign of over 10 dynasties spanning more than 1,400 years.

In the evening, we'll take a stroll through Old City Shizi Steet, a renowned food street in old city Luoyang. Here, you'll have the chance to follow tantalizing aromas and sample a wide variety of local flavours.
Overnight: Luoyang  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5

Shaolin Monastery - Kung Fu Mastery

Today will begin with a visit to the vibrant Xiyuan Park. Here, residents gather to dance and sing, infusing the park with a lively burst of morning energy. It's an excellent opportunity to observe and perhaps even join in the joyful morning activities that reflect the spirit of the community.

Afterwards, brace yourself for an exhilarating adventure as we head to the legendary Shaolin Monastery, renowned as the reputed birthplace of Chinese martial arts. This sacred temple is not only a spiritual haven but also the epicenter of Kung Fu mastery. Witness a mesmerising performance that promises to entertain and awe. The skills and discipline of these martial artists are sure to leave a lasting impression.

As the day comes to an end, we'll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, allowing you to indulge in the flavours of Luoyang cuisine.
Overnight: Luoyang  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6

Xi'an's Towering City Wall

Luoyang - Xi'an. Rise and shine! Today, we'll catch an early morning train bound for Xi'an. Upon arriving, we'll start our day with a bike ride or a leisurely walk along the Xi'an City Wall, one of the oldest and best-preserved Chinese city walls. This remarkable structure offers stunning panoramic views over the city, blending ancient and modern architecture, and providing an unforgettable glimpse into the past.

Afterwards, get ready for the sensory delights of Xi'an's Muslim Quarter, a bustling neighbourhood in the heart of the city. Here, the air is thick with the mouthwatering aromas of sizzling lamb skewers and fragrant spices emanating from the food stalls that line the narrow alleys. Engage with the warm and welcoming locals, witness their skilled craftsmanship in action, and let the diverse flavours tantalize your taste buds.

Not far from the Muslim Quarter, discover the majestic courtyard of the Gao Family. Within these hallowed walls, a unique spectacle awaits—a 15-minute shadow puppetry show, an art form believed to originate from this province. These performances breathe life into simple yet vibrant leather or paper figures, spinning enchanting narratives that have captivated audiences for generations.

Then, pay your respects at the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, a serene contrast to the bustling Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Within this peaceful Buddhist complex, you'll discover intriguing exhibits in the Xi'an Museum.

Tonight, roll up your sleeves and try your hand at making dumplings, a local delicacy that is also a true form of culinary art. Enjoy the delicious dumplings you've created, accompanied by a cup of rice wine.
Overnight: Xi'an  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7

Terracotta Warriors

Our day begins with a visit to the awe-inspiring Terracotta Army and Warriors, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This remarkable collection of terracotta sculptures depicts the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. These life-sized figures were meticulously modeled after actual soldiers of the Qin Army, displaying incredible attention to detail. The army consists of an astounding 8,000 life-size soldiers, 100 chariots, and 600 horses, and each figure is unique. The purpose of this vast army was to guard the remains of Emperor Qin Shihuang, entombed within a massive mausoleum complex.

Next, you'll have the opportunity to visit a Terracotta Warrior Factory. Here, you can delve deeper into the intricate production process, which remains unchanged since the time of the Qin Dynasty. Gain insights into the techniques behind these captivating artworks, adding a layer of appreciation to these ancient treasures.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll return to the hotel. From here, enjoy time at leisure to explore Xi'an at your own pace.
Overnight: Xi'an  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

Harbin - 45.7 degrees North

Xi’an - Harbin. After breakfast at the hotel, we'll transfer to the airport for our flight to Harbin (either direct or via Beijing). Known as the "Ice City," Harbin is famous for its stunning ice and snow sculptures, particularly showcased during the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival—the highlight of your visit!

Upon arrival in Harbin, we'll head to the hotel, where you can settle in and relax amidst the city's unique blend of Russian and Chinese architecture.

Later in the evening, we'll head to a local restaurant for dinner. One of the highlights on the menu is "Fried Pork in Scoop" (Guo Bao Rou), a beloved dish from northeastern Chinese cuisine. This dish features thinly sliced pork coated in a crispy batter and served with a delightful sweet and sour sauce. Enjoy this delicious introduction to Harbin's local tastes, as we kick off our journey in this vibrant city.
Overnight: Harbin  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9

Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival

We begin the last day of the year at the bustling Hongzhuan Local Market, celebrated for its diverse offerings and tasty local flavours.

Next, we venture to Sun Island Park for the China Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. While the official opening is on January 5th, the festival welcomes visitors from mid-December, offering a perfect opportunity to witness sculptors putting final touches on their masterpieces.

After breaking for lunch, our journey continues to the enchanting Harbin Snow and Ice World. Imagine gliding down a massive ice luge resembling the Great Wall of China or ascending a replica of the Emperor’s Summer Palace in Beijing, complete with towers, a guardhouse, and a moat with a seven-arched bridge. Here, you can even sail on Empress Dowager Cixi’s ice marble boat. The creations at Snow and Ice World defy imagination, enchanting, inspiring, and sometimes wonderfully bizarre—what surprises await this year are anyone’s guess!

Dinner awaits at a local restaurant with a specialty dish, "Northeastern Braised Chicken in Iron Pan," known for its hearty flavours. We'll end the day at our hotel bar, ringing in the New Year with festive lights and local 'Maitai firewater.' It's a perfect way to welcome the coming year in Harbin's enchanting atmosphere!
Overnight: Harbin  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10

Happy New Year - Harbin Ice Lantern Show

Harbin - Beijing (Overnight train). Happy New Year! Today, we begin with a visit to the Chinese Eastern Railway Bridge, a historic landmark that has defined Harbin's identity for a century. We'll then explore Stalin Park, a serene riverside park stretching 1,750 meters. Our tour also includes an exterior visit to the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Sophia, originally built in 1907 once the largest Orthodox church in the Far East.

A highlight of our day awaits at Zhaolin Park, the birthplace of the enchanting Ice Lanterns and host to the renowned Ice Lantern Art Fair. Here, we'll marvel at spectacular ice sculptures illuminated by traditional Chinese lanterns and neon lights. Since its first Ice Lantern party in 1963, the park has set seven Guinness World Records for its impressive creations.

Afterwards, we'll leisurely stroll along Central Street, celebrated for its historic charm and elegant architecture. At the Modern Hotel, a landmark dating back to the 1910s and often likened to the Palace of Versailles, we'll indulge in ice popsicles. Lunch will be at your leisure, followed by a drive through East and West Dazhi Street to admire old churches, such as the Eastern Orthodox church and the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

After returning to the hotel, enjoy the afternoon with a late check-out until 6:00 PM. Dinner will be at your leisure in downtown Harbin. Later, we'll transfer to the train station for our overnight journey back to Beijing.
Overnight: Soft Sleeper Train to Beijing  |  Breakfast

Day 11

Beijing departure

02 January. After arriving in Beijing by overnight train, you'll be greeted by a driver and a national guide who will escort you to a nearby hotel for breakfast. You can leave your luggage at the hotel and explore Beijing at your leisure, ensuring to return in time for your included departure transfer to the airport, scheduled to coincide with your international flight. Please ensure your flight departs from Beijing after 2 PM to accommodate any potential delays. If needed, post-tour accommodation can also be arranged.
Breakfast

Yungang Caves | Datong | China

Visit the caves of Datong

Prices & Dates

Departure dates marked with a 'G' are operating. All dates are guaranteed to operate when there are 4 persons booked on the tour. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to solo travellers or anyone wanting the privacy of a single room.

Read More
Guaranteed Departure
2024
Twin Share
Single Room
23 Dec - 02 Jan 30% off
R70,405
R49,284
R85,475
R59,833
2025
Twin Share
Single Room
23 Dec - 02 Jan 30% off
R70,405
R49,284
R85,475
R59,833

Extra Prices

Twin Share
Single Room

Hotels

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.

Dong Fang Hotel Beijing, Beijing

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Dong Fang Hotel Beijing, nestled in Beijing's Cultural Tourism District, offers a rich cultural experience with its proximity to historical attractions. Comprising of three distinct buildings from 1918, 1953, and 1985, this Republic of China-themed hotel seamlessly blends nostalgia with classic charm. Guests can savor traditional Shandong cuisine at the 'Flavor 1918 restaurant'.

New Friendship Hotel, Luoyang

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

The New Friendship is a modern hotel with a beautiful garden of bridges, brooks and peonies. The practical rooms are cosy and comfortable with modern amenities including internet access. The hotel is on Xiyuan Road, a few blocks from Wancheng Park and the museum. It is 15km from the airport and 7km from the railway station.

Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel, Xi'an

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Located a stone’s throw away from the Ancient City Wall and Islamic Mosque, is the Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel. The hotel offers modern comforts in the heart of the city. Each air-conditioned guestroom features WiFi, a minibar and satellite TV. There is an onsite restaurant which serves a daily buffet or a la carte breakfast as well as a variety of Asian and Western dishes. During free time, guests can enjoy a relaxing massage or work out in the fitness centre.

Harbin Nangang District Government Atour Hotel, Harbin

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

The Harbin Nangang District Government Atour Hotel is strategically situated for travelers eager to explore the city. Located just 2km from Binjiang Railway Station, it offers convenient access to transportation options. Within close proximity are attractions like the Temple of the Holy Virgin, Gogol Street, and The Russia Heyuan, ensuring plenty to see and do. After a day of exploring, guests can unwind in the hotel's comfortable accommodations. Renowned for its excellent facilities, the Harbin Nangang District Government Atour Hotel offers a restaurant, 24 hour lobby, and a fitness centre.

Reviews

Travellers have rated this tour as 4.5 out of 5 based on 20 recent reviews

1  |  2  |  3

We had an amazing time in China as part of this tour. Our tour guide and the local guides were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. We explored the parts of China that had been on our list and so much more! Very easy to book with On the Go through our personal travel agent.

• Submitted 17 Jan 2020
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Our guide Feng is incredible. I cannot say good enough words. Feng was knowledgable, kind, funny, patient, helpful and kept us safe. Thank you Feng!

• Submitted 07 Jan 2020
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• Submitted 07 Jan 2020
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Overall was an amazing tour which we throughly enjoyed. Thank you.

• Submitted 06 Jan 2020
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• Submitted 06 Jan 2020
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We would like to let you know that our guide (mrs) Feng was awesome. She went above and beyond for our 10yr old son, who was really worried about going on this trip. He was made to feel a real part of the group and he loved all of the historic facts that were given by both Feng and the local guides. We enjoyed all of the sights and joined in all of the activities, even riding the bike on the city wall. This is our 1st time travelling on a guided tour with him and we couldn't have asked for a better experience.

• Submitted 05 Jan 2020
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• Submitted 05 Jan 2020
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• Submitted 04 Jan 2020
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We both loved the tour. Well organised, good hotels, good amount of time at all the sites and Feng was an amazing tour guide. She made it all so easy and fun. Feng was the best tour guide we've had with On the Go so far and we have been on a few tours. The Great Wall was our highlight, but we enjoyed the cultural activities and other sites immensely.

• Submitted 20 Jan 2018
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The tour was fantastic - our group were all like minded and we got along very well! For the majority of us, it was a first time visit to China, so was great to experience everything together for the first time! All the hotels were in very good locations, were clean & comfortable, and the included breakfasts always had a wide variety of both western & Asian meal options. The coaches used in each city were clean and comfortable and offered plenty of space for our group of 20.Our guide Stefanie was truly amazing and she really made the trip all the more memorable!! She explained everything clearly and concisely, was always available to offer assistance and guidance on anything that was needed. This was a thoroughly enjoyable trip and one that I will remember for a long time! Thank you for an amazing experience!

• Submitted 09 Jan 2017
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1  |  2  |  3

At a Glance

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Beijing
Ends
Beijing
Departs
23 December
Group Size
Min 4 / Max 24
Hotel Rating
4 star
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Meals
Breakfast: 10, Lunch: 2, Dinner: 5
Countries
Minimum Age
12 yrs, accompanied by an adult
Arr. Transfer
Yes
Dep. Transfer
No - bookable for a supplement
Click to play videoTaihemen gate of the Supreme Harmony Imperial Palace at the Forbidden City in Beijing
Click to play videoGreat Wall Highlight
Click to play videoCarved rock statues of Buddha in Luoyang
Click to play videoCyclists on the old city walls in Xian
Snow sculpture
Snow sculpture
Snow sculpture

We had an amazing time in China as part of this tour. Our tour guide and the local guides were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. We explored the parts of China that had been on our list and so much more! Very easy to book with On the Go through our personal travel agent.

Daniel Hughes
OTG000368Harbin Ice Festival - 11 daysFar EastSignatureFar Eastfalse30Chinahttps://www.onthegotours.com/za/China/Harbin-Ice-Festival-11-dayshttps://www.onthegotours.com/repository/Harbin5-855581720590912_crop_flip_300_300_f2f2f2_center-center.jpgGroup_Tours