Harbin travel guide

Harbin Tourism | Harbin Guide

You're Going to Love Harbin

The city of Harbin in northeast China is famously home to the biggest ice sculpture festival in the world. Founded in 1897, Harbin is also one of China's newest cities and much of its Russian-style architecture dates from then. Harbin appeals to all ages, and there are lots of good reasons to plan a visit.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Harbin

1. That Famous Ice Festival

Harbin Ice Lantern Art Fair (December-January) attracts visitors from around the globe. However, you can see illuminated ice sculptures all year round at Sun Island Park.

2. The Wildlife

Visit the Manchurian tigers and other big cats at Siberian Tiger Park; you can buy strips of meat to feed them by hand.

3. The Beautiful Buildings

See the breathtaking Russian buildings on Zhongyang Dajie and the nearby St. Sophia Orthodox cathedral.

4. Delicious Food

Try any of the Russian restaurants along Zhongyang Dajie for Russian food with an Eastern twist.

5. The Nightlife

Harbin nightclubs mean low-priced drinks, floorshows, and lots of fun. Be sure to visit the Russky vodka ice bar that pops up each year if you're visiting in winter.

Where to Eat in Harbin

Visit the popular LaoChang ChunBing in Zhongyang Dajie for Chinese cuisine. Lunch in a basic restaurant is ¥44, while upmarket restaurants charge ¥450 for dinner for two with dessert and wine.

When to visit Harbin

Harbin in August
Estimated hotel price
1 night at 3-star hotel
Harbin in August
Estimated hotel price
1 night at 3-star hotel

Visit from December to January for the ice sculpture festival or plan a vacation in August for the Harbin International Beer Festival. Harbin is China's most northerly large city, and daytime temperatures of 10.4 degrees are average for January. Be sure to pack warm clothing.

Data provided by weatherbase
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Harbin


Fly from Los Angeles to Harbin Taiping International Airport (HRB), or catch a connecting flight from airports in Russia or Japan. The airport is 21 miles from the city center and taxis cost ¥100-120.


There are regular trains from many Chinese cities. Take a taxi from outside Harbin Railway Station to your destination in town.


Harbin is easy to reach by road, and drivers can take the China Highway 102 via Changchun.


Reach Harbin by bus from Jilin or Beijing, or take the daily service from Vladivostok in Russia. Changtu Keyun Zhan terminus is opposite the rail station.

Airports near Harbin

Airlines serving Harbin

United Airlines
Good (2,336 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,781 reviews)
Good (264 reviews)
Air France
Good (271 reviews)
Excellent (2,560 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (475 reviews)
Good (357 reviews)
Qantas Airways
Good (79 reviews)
Asiana Airlines
Excellent (41 reviews)
Air New Zealand
Excellent (32 reviews)
China Eastern
Excellent (10 reviews)
Jeju Air
Good (2 reviews)
China Southern
Excellent (7 reviews)
Air China
Okay (3 reviews)
Shanghai Airlines
Excellent (2 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Harbin

Book a stay in mid-range hotels like Hotel Ibis Harbin or Modern Hotel Harbin, or choose the upmarket Shangri-La Hotel for elegant rooms, a river view, and pool.

Popular neighbourhoods in Harbin

Daoli - you'll find the Cathedral of St. Sophia, now home to the Harbin Museum of Architecture, in this central district.

Sun Island - head to the Sun Island area for the Ice Lantern Festival and the Siberian Tiger Park.

Old Quarter - this Songhua River neighborhood is noted for its Baroque and Byzantine-style Russian architecture.

Most popular hotel in Harbin by neighbourhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Harbin

Most booked hotels in Harbin

Shangri-La Songbei, Harbin
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
Shangri-La Harbin
Excellent (8, Excellent reviews)
JW Marriott Hotel Harbin River North
Excellent (8, Excellent reviews)
Sofitel Harbin
Good (7.8, Good reviews)
Harbin Bremen Jewish Culture Theme Hotel
Poor (0, Poor reviews)
Holiday Inn Harbin City Centre
Poor (0, Poor reviews)
See all hotels

How to Get Around Harbin

Public Transportation

Over 100 bus routes offer visitors a convenient way to get around Harbin. Ticket prices are between ¥1-2.


Taxis are also cheap and plentiful. Be sure to check that your driver switches on the meter at the start of your journey. A 5-mile trip runs between ¥30-40.


Rent a car with a Chinese driver from ¥600-1,000 per day and see this vast city at your leisure.

The Cost of Living in Harbin

Shopping Streets

Shop in Zhongyang Dajie, the city's main shopping area, or explore Russian night markets and huge department stores like Lane Crawford, Parksons, and Euro Plaza at Guogeli Dajie.

Groceries and Other

Local supermarkets include Carrefour, Trust-Mart, and Metro. Expect to pay ¥11 for a quart of milk and ¥13 for a dozen eggs.

Cheap meal
A pair of jeans
Single public transport ticket