1 week in China (Inc Harbin)
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Dec 9, 2012 11:42 PM Last Post By: jiejie
Dec 9, 2012 6:48 AM
1 week in China (Inc Harbin)HI guys, im flying into Beijing 12th Jan and out again on the 20th. Would really like to squeeze in Harbin into this travel to see the Ice Festival, Old Military Museum and the Siberian Tiger Park. I reckon i could see it all in 2 days. However, it leaves the question, do i return fly to Harbin, and spend rest of the time in Beijing area, or do i fly one way, neither way, etc and get over night train. Perks of train i was thinking is the possibility to stop at other locations on the way so i can take in more of North East China. However upon doing research there doesn't seem to be too much that can be done without taking very time consuming long detours (In-between Beijing and Harbin). Does anyone have any suggestions? Is there much to see/do above and beyond Harbin, or is that really the end of the tourist trail?
How long do you think you can do Beijing in? I.e see the important historical sites etc.
Perhaps if not much to see in NE China and Beijing can be done in a day or two then it'd be worth heading over to another part of the country for a few days?
Hmmm the posibilities, but all thoughts/suggestions welcome! I love historical sites, and also natural phenomena.
Dec 9, 2012 7:41 AM
Dec 9, 2012 10:21 AM
2Only do Beijing and Harbin. In winter, there's really nothing else adviseable up in NE China. For Harbin, you can do everything you want to do in 2 days or slightly less. I recommend the overnight train service and/or high speed service in at least one direction, probably northbound to Harbin. I've actually done the Snow and Ice parks by taking an overnight standard train up, doing Sun Park (snow sculptures in the morning, lunch and town walkabout in afternoon, Ice Park late aft and early evening, overnight train back to Beijing that same night. However, with the Tiger park and War Museum, you'll need an overnight in Harbin, then depart for Beijing in the afternoon or evening the next day.
To maximize your useable time in Beijing and Harbin, I'd advocate the following trains:
Northbound: Z1, Z15, or T17. These are standard trains, overnight, each leaving in the 21:00-21:30 range and arriving Harbin main station in center of city, between 07:00 and 08:30 the next morning. Hard sleeper around RMB 280, Soft around RMB 420.
Southbound: T18, Z16, Z2, or T48 back to Beijing main. These all leave in the 21:00-22:00 range. However, I think you will be actually be finished up in Harbin by early afternoon of that 2nd day, so I'd just fly back, which given the fares aren't too expensive, is what I'd do. The high speed train that leaves around 14:30 in the afternoon from Harbin West station, will get you to Beijing around 22:20 that 2nd night, but since the cost of the seat (no sleeper) is not that much cheaper than the plane, I'd save myself the hours and get back to Beijing in the afternoon.
Ice Festival is popular with Beijingers, especially on weekends and sleepers sell out. So if you can, arrange your Harbin excursion on two weekdays. I think I bought my tickets a few days in advance of travel so do it as soon as you get to Beijing--availability might determine the exact day you go. How the Beijing time is split before and after the Harbin excursion doesn't matter, as long as the total is enough, I'd say the balance of your 5 days. (discounting the 12th and the 20th, you have total of 7 days).
Dec 9, 2012 8:48 PM
3What military museum in Harbin? Do you mean the 731 base?
There is the Qing Imperial Palace (Mini Forbidden City) in Shenyang that isn't very difficult to get to but I'm not sure it'd be worth wasting a day of your limited time to see when you can visit the real thing in Beijing and Shenyang is a triple A rated dump as well.
Dec 9, 2012 10:58 PM
4"do i return fly to Harbin, and spend rest of the time in Beijing area, or do i fly one way, neither way, etc and get over night train. "
---Since a week is at your disposal, besides visiting Harbin Ice Festival, a visit to Beijing is highly recommended, both because of its short distance to Beijing and must-visit historical sites.
Also, i think you need 3 days for the Ice Festival in ordfer to cover all the highlight of it. For Beijing, 3 days is enough.
To make your trip time-efficient and wallet friendly, an overnight sleeping train (Harbin-Beijing) is suggested.
For what to see, the following draft plan is offered for referrence.
Day1:Arrival in Harbin
Day2: Sunisland Snow Sculpture, St. Sofia Orthodox Church, Centre Street, Ice Lantern in Zhaolin Park
Day3: Provincial Museum, Dragon Tower, Siberian Tiger Park, Grand World of Snow, then overnight sleeping train to Beijing
Day4: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace
Day5: Great Wall, Bird's Nest, Water Cube, Beijing Zoo
Day6: Hutong, 798 Art Zone
For the left two days, you could discover this ancient city on your own.
Hope it helps.
Dec 9, 2012 11:42 PM
5I think he means the 731 base.
I wouldn't stop in Shenyang. While I don't share exile's dire pronouncements on Shenyang at all, it's not worth spending time there on such as short trip to China.
Trust me, you can do everything you want in Harbin in one full day and one partial. Do not waste any more time up there. Spend 2-3 hours at the Snow Sculpture place (Sun Park), , 2-3 hours in the downtown pedestrian area seeing the Russian architecture, church, etc., 2-3 hours at the Ice World after the sun goes down. In between each segment taking a long break indoors in warmth. Tiger Park and 731 complex the next morning. I'd skip Zhaolin Park--that's the smaller park in center of city--once a decent venue but now more lackluster. There's only so much snow and ice one can take, before it starts to get repetitive so you might as well hit the biggies. Note that the entrance fees to the Snow and Ice World venues are now ridiculously priced. IMO, no longer worth it to make a special trip up there, but I doubt that will dissuade you. Frankly, I think that besides 5 days in Beijing, the other 2 days are better spent in Xi'an vs Harbin if looking for a second city.
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