Located 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) northwest of Harbin City, Harbin Taiping International Airport (HRB) is currently the second largest airport in northeastern China. Formerly known as Yanjiagang Airport , Harbin Airport was first built in 1979, after which it underwent considerable expansion between 1994 and 1997. It achieved an international airport status in 1984 and serves as one of the most important transportation hubs for northeastern China. The airport is currently well equipped to handle 6 million passengers annually and has more than 50 air routes, covering over 40 domestic and overseas cities. These include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Changsha, Seoul, Osaka, Vladivostok and Los Angeles.
Harbin City Bus
The most convenient way of visiting in and around Harbin is via the extensive bus network with more than one hundred bus routes reaching all parts of the city. Usually, the starting time of these buses is between 05:00 and 06:30, and run until between 19:00 to 21:30. Most of the buses are self service, so you have to prepare enough small changes before boarding.
Additionally, two special tourist routes are operating between 07:00 to 19:00 daily. One departs from the Flood Control Monument and runs to Sun Island. The other passes several tourist spots in the downtown area, for example, the Flood Control Monument, St. Sofia Orthodox Church, Harbin Railway Station and Museum.
Taking a taxi is the best way to save time in your journey without time limit. Overall, the price of local taxis is a little higher and is according to the logo of the car. Usually, the taxi with a Xiali logo is CNY7 for the first three kilometers (about 1.86 miles) and then CNY1.6 for every additional kilometer. The flag-down rate of a taxi with the Jetta logo is CNY8 for the first three kilometers and CNY1.9 for each additional kilometer. The price of a taxi with the Chery logo is CNY7 for the first three kilometers and the distance surcharge is CNY1.9 per additional kilometer.
Harbin subway is China’s first subway system in rigid cold region. Started being built in 2008, the plan is to have ‘9 lines and 1 circle’, measuring 340 kilometers (about 211 miles) long. By 2018, line 1, phase 1 of line 2 and line 3 will be completed, forming the mainframe of a ‘+' plus a circle. All the 10 lines are scheduled to be finished in 20 years. At present, line 1 and 3 are under construction and line 2 will start to be built in the near future. In the latter half of 2013, the line 1 will be put into official service.
Famed as the 'Ice City', Harbin has four distinct seasons with long cold winters and short cool summers. The snow season can last as long as half a year.
January is the coldest with the lowest temperature dropping to -38 °C (-36 °F), while it is just 20 °C (68 °F) on average in summer. The city can be visited at any time, especially from July to September and from December to January, when it always receives tens of thousands of tourists as a summer resort and wonderland of ice and snow.
Spring & Summer
With little rainfall, the local temperature in spring (March-May) is changeable from month to month. Spring is also the windiest season of the year, accompanied by occasional sandstorms. Visitors have to wear sweaters and cotton-padded jackets, drink enough water and eat more fruit. Lip balm, hand cream and other moistening skin cream are also necessary.
The summer of this city from June to August is not as hot as the other cities of inland China, with plenty of rainfall. It is the rainiest season of the year, but with little storm. The highest temperature is just 23 °C (73 °F) on average, which occurs in July. Thus, it is an ideal place to escape the summer heat. Bring both summer clothes like shorts and skirts, a light overcoat for the morning and evening and an umbrella.
Autumn & Winter
During the transition from summer to winter, autumn (September to October) in that city has little rainfall and a fluctuating temperature. Meanwhile, the temperature differs a lot between day and night. Long-sleeve T-shirts, long pants and a jacket will be enough in September, but an additional sweater will be needed in middle and late October.
This city in winter (November to February) is the coldest city of China, yet it is also an ideal winter resort. Woollen sweater, trousers, hat, scarf and gloves, down coats and cotton boots become must for a winter trip to that city. Take cold medicine as well for the big temperature difference indoor and outdoor. The beautiful and startling snowy scenery will satisfy your desire without doubt.
Although it is not included in the Chinese Eight Cuisines, Harbin cuisine still has its own specialties thanks to its special geographical position and long history. Local cuisine of Manchu mixes with Shandong Cuisine and exotic Russian cuisine, to give the important components of the existent Harbin cuisine, even the Heilongjiang cuisine. Like the warm hearted and straightforward locals, the local dishes tend to feature hot and dense, strong flavors. Even then the original flavor is still maintained as few spices are used.
Red Sausage and Air-Dried Sausage
Ranking with Lie Ba as a typical Harbin snack, the Harbin red sausage and air-dried sausage are also regarded in great honor by locals. After enjoying this flavor, do not forget to take some with you as a present to your friends.
Lie Ba is a kind of large Russian bread. The weight of this round shaped bread can be as much as 2.5 kilograms. Its golden, crack crust and slightly sweet taste will definitely excite your appetite. The breads baked by Qiu Lin Shopping Mall and Huamei Western Food Restaurant are recognized to be the most delicious.
The ice and snow are Harbin's greatest attraction. Multicolored ice lanterns, vivid ice and snow carvings and exciting ice sports will be sure to bring you lots of fun.
Ice Lantern Garden Party is the other appealing destination in this city that is equally wonderful as the Ice Lantern Garden Party despite their different characteristics.
St. Sophia Church
St. Sophia Church, also called Harbin Construction Arts Gallery, is the largest Orthodox Church in the Far East. You can visit here from 8:30 to 17:30 every day by purchasing the entrance ticket of CNY20. Another pearl of this city is the Dragon Tower; actually, it is the Heilongjiang broadcast and TV tower, ranked as the first highest in Asia and second highest in the world. The No.7 buses go there and the entrance fee to the tower is CNY50 per person.
Siberian Tiger Park
Siberian Tiger Park which is adjacent to the Sun Island should be your next destination. The park rears more than five hundred beautiful but endangered purebred Siberian tigers. Vivacious little tigers and fierce fully grown tigers will introduce you to their fascinating world. It will take you about one hour to complete the trip; you will have to take a car to visit most of the viewing spots.
Admission fee: CNY90 for regular ticket and half for children.
All the local hospitals in Harbin are open to international students. Students with minor illness can go to schools' clinic for help. If you are badly ill, you can see a doctor in any of the local hospitals.
Tips for seeing a doctor in the local hospitals.
Bring your passport, then fill in a form in the hospital which contains your name (English name or Chinese name), date of birth and contact person in China (name and contact)