Walking - Five to seven minutes from Central Road (Zhongyang Dajie) five minutes from Zhaolin Park - Road many ice carvings, pedestrian mall, plenty of shops and constant music. Zhaolin Park ice carvings - unreal - both places worth visiting at night as all lit up. Five minute to Sophia Church - not much in the day apart from exhibition inside of history of Harbin - but beautifully lit at night.
Room 502 - window to look out of (to see if snowing before venturing out) clean, plentiful hot water for shower; fully functioning air conditioning; delightful housekeeping staff. Hotel basic but good. Reception staff very limited English but we managed. Tour guide in reception area all day. Hotel offers an adequate breakfast and lunch for a price
We went to the opening night of the Ice Festival - whilst five of us lost our tour guide on entry, we all had a great time - event brilliant and wonderous with fireworks thrown in - and got back to the bus on time.
In Harbin, food was CHEAP and I mean cheap in AUS dollars. Most of our meals were about $6 each and were more than adequate, fast and fresh. We ate in the same places the locals ate - all nothing fancy but clean and thankfully most of them had "food by pictures" so all good.
The hotel organised a taxi to take us to Sun Island and the Snow Sculptures - 200 Yuan - and he waited for us for two hours! Fantastic value.
Also as Songhua River was frozen, could walk across to Sun Island and in process stop and watch just some of the myriad of activities that occur on the frozen river.
Would advise 4 - 5 days adequate at this time of year unless you ski than you can travel further afield.
NB - good, clean toilets located downstairs near McDonalds in central city - for females - if you are not used to squatting - look for public toilets with a disabled unit which has a pedestal toilet. In 2016 China allocated 12.5B Yuan to upgrade public toilets across China - so look out for some of these.
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