Habin, China (Ice Festival Worth it?), Yunnan
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Sep 28, 2012 6:34 PM Last Post By: Nice_But__
Sep 22, 2012 7:13 PM
Habin, China (Ice Festival Worth it?), YunnanHello,
I've watched BBC's "Wild China" countless times. It has given me a really good idea of what i'd like to do/see. One of the portions of this video is Habin (hence the subject name ha). Anyways I was curious if the ice festival is worth it. The way they describe/show the ice festival it looks magical and very well done.
This being said though, i want to also want to visit the Yunnan province as well but it may not be warm, is there still things to do, is it still quite beautiful at this time of year. Any suggestions would be very helpful, as i am still in the preliminary stages of planning. btw i was also thinking of see mongolia as well which i understand would be quite cold then, but hey im from Canada lol (and please dont take offense to that i understand that im way comfier here).
Thanks for the responses!
Sep 22, 2012 7:33 PM
1...Well i meant to say Harbin. Sorry for incorrect spelling thanks
Sep 22, 2012 8:35 PM
2Are you talking about January? For Yunnan, yes it is cold at night, but during the day can be around 10 -15C (depending on the attitude). Weather is dry, skies are blue, and tourist numbers are lower. A good time to visit. And if you want somewhere warmer, head to Xishuangbanna in the south of the province.
Harbin and Mongolia - cannot help, but where you go also depends on how much time you have. Yunnan itself has lots to see and can easily take up 2 weeks or more.
Sep 22, 2012 8:40 PM
3The Ice Festival is worth a visit if you're up this way. But, much as I love Harbin (My Chinese home), it hasn't got that much more to captivate the tourist (A day wandering around Daoli/Zhongyang Dajie/Sophia, a night at the Ice Festival and I'm struggling to think of what to do next. I can't imagine that anyone would want to go back to the Ice Festival night after night. You may THINK you know what cold is. Harbin and the Ice Festival will redefine it for you). I think it depends on how long you plan to be in China. I've not been to Yunnan yet, so can't really give any insight. But I'd suggest that January wouldn't be too cold.
Sep 22, 2012 8:45 PM
4@drumbrake well that helps, thanks. I guess the reason i was wondering if it was worth it , was i didn't want to make a stop at Harbin (january) if it possibly ruined or made the the rest of china more undesirable to what it may be if i booked in lets say June. Also less tourists is far more appealing to me than not being able to move around.
Sep 22, 2012 8:55 PM
5@manchurianexlle thanks for the reply. I wouldn't plan on staying there long but it seemed like a neat experience so thanks for your input it is much appreciated. I love the idea of 10,000 people creating a mini ice world. Also being a Environmental Field Tech and working outside in Northern Alberta and parts of Manitoba (Churchill) im not sure it would really change my opinion on what cold is haha thanks!
Sep 22, 2012 9:04 PM
Sep 22, 2012 10:03 PM
7@SoloHobo haha well i have been to Costa Rica so i am with you on that one! But that is why a asked the question, because some things are worth seeing even if the temperatures are quite excruciating...
Sep 22, 2012 10:36 PM
8I think cold is something that is manageable, especially when it's not raining. If you have thermal underwear and some down jackets and pants, with good warm boots, you can still enjoy the outside. I'm off to Beijing in January and I love not having quite so many tourists about.
Sep 22, 2012 10:43 PM
Sep 23, 2012 1:03 AM
10In Yunnan, ordinary homes and businesses don't have heating or cooling. (The exception is some high end tourist hotels.)
In January you will be bundled up indoors as well as outside. I mean with hat, scarf, gloves and coat plus long underwear. While inside, you will still see your breath in front of your face.
It isn't bitterly cold here, but the houses are not built with thick walls, insulation or double glazed windows. No fireplaces. No central heating.
Well to the south of Kunming it gets better. (More like Northern Thailand as one approaches the Burma border.)
I live in Kunming, and would prefer to be somewhere else in January if it were possible.
Sep 23, 2012 1:57 AM
11Northern China tend to have (some) heating on during winter - more so than S China. For that reason you may actually be worse off in winter in S. China... But be prepared to dress up well - also indoor.
I have been to the Harbin Ice Festival once, and really liked it. However.. I am not sure, I would recommend making it a destination. Not because of the cold, but I don't think it may be worth the very long detour to get there. And like Manchurianexile says, there is little else of interest there. Unit 731 maybe.
Mongolia: I have not been there, but I definitely would not go there in winter.
Sep 23, 2012 4:34 AM
12In northern Yunnan it's warmer outside at day time than inside if it's sunny. Some hotels do have aircons for heating and practically all of them have electric blankets. Best season for mountain photography with clear blue skies.
Sep 23, 2012 8:36 AM
13Well it looks like the decision has been made (for myself in part). I want to be able to really enjoy this beautiful country, so i think spring to early summer would be best. Thank-you all for your response, i do really appreciate them.
And my dear friend @manchurianexlle i am not here for the pissing contest although you do realize that Northen Manitoba in January is average of -30 C (especially at night), also when they say average temp that does not include wind chill which can bring it easily to the minus 40+. So LOL at yourself. Both countries have there cold spots and you just have to learn to accept it LOL.
Here is a factual site for your weather concerns (http://www.accuweather.com/en/ca/churchill/r0b/month/49005?monyr=1/01/2011) look at the avg. historical temps and what they state. Harbin (http://www.travelchinaguide.com/climate/harbin.htm) (http://www.accuweather.com/en/cn/harbin/102669/month/102669?monyr=1/01/2011) quite similar in my books by accuweather (although gets colder as january rolls on in Churchill... If you are still quite distraught email my account here. Thanks
Sep 23, 2012 10:05 PM
14IMO, the Harbin Ice Festival has now priced itself out of value-for-money range. If you're already in the general region during the winter, maybe go to, but at this point I wouldn't advise a typical visitor to make a special trip up there.
Robbie, I don't think any slights were intended here. Understand that when it comes to Harbin, warnings about the ultra-cold weather are pretty much standard to all posters who are new to region. This is because the people on the forum with experience of this city/event in winter assume that very few posters live in places with a winter climate this extreme, and most will need to make special preparations with their clothing as well as their expectations. Clearly your location and experience makes you one of the few exceptions, as you would obviously be well-equipped for dealing with Harbin with a winter of this magnitude. Actually, if you are OK with Manitoba/Churchill in the winter, you'd find Harbin right up your alley, weather-wise.
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