Sun Island Scenic Area


Across the water from Stalin Park is Sun Island, a 38-sq-km recreational zone with landscaped gardens, a ‘water world’, a ‘Russian-style’ town, and various small galleries and museums. It’s a pleasant place to have a picnic, walk or cycle (¥60 per hour) in summer, though as usual you need to pay extra to get into many areas (most people find these too kitsch and not worth the money).

During the Ice & Snow Festival, Sun Island hosts a spectacular snow sculpture display (called the Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo; ¥240), which is worth seeing. Distinct from the Harbin Ice & Snow World (3km away), but no less ambitious, the building-sized sculptures here are carved of snow, not ice. A short walk from the cable-car station, most visitors come here during the day then head to the Ice & Snow World come nightfall.

Ferries to Sun Island depart from several docks northwest of the Flood Control Monument in Stalin Park in warmer months. During winter when the waters are frozen, catch the nearby cable car, or walk across.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Harbin attractions

1. Stalin Park

1.06 MILES

Best seen illuminated at night, this tree-lined promenade, dotted with statues, historic buildings, playgrounds and cafes, runs along part of the 42km…

2. Flood Control Monument

1.11 MILES

This monument from 1958, set within a popular plaza beside the Songhua River and Stalin Park, commemorates the thousands of people who died in years past…

3. Zhaolin Park

1.45 MILES

A pleasant green space in the heart of old Harbin, Zhaolin Park comes alive during the Harbin Ice & Snow Festival with its Ice Lantern Display. Tickets…

4. Zhongyang Dajie

1.51 MILES

The cobblestone avenue of Zhongyang Dajie is the most obvious legacy of Russia's involvement with Harbin. Now a pedestrian-only zone running from Jingwei…

5. Jewish Middle School


Attached to the Harbin Main Synagogue, this was the first Jewish middle school in the Far East, and has been immaculately restored and reopened as the…

6. Harbin Main Synagogue


The beautiful old Main Synagogue, built in 1909, has been refurbished as a concert venue. You can buy tickets on-site to a variety of musical performances…

7. Harbin New Synagogue

1.83 MILES

This synagogue was built in 1921 by the city's Jewish community, the vast majority of whom had emigrated from Russia. Beautifully restored and converted…

8. Church of St Sophia

1.98 MILES

The red-brick Russian Orthodox Church of St Sophia, with its distinctive green onion dome and roosting pigeons, is Harbin’s most famous landmark. Built in…