Sunday, 24 January 2016

Harbin Part 3: Ice And Snow World

From Sun Island where the International Snow Sculpture Expo was held, we moved on to Ice And Snow World. By then the sun has set and the weather was getting ridiculously cold. Because of this stinging cold, I was wondering whether I could make it through this ice park. But Ice And Snow World was supposed to be the epitome of this journey and one that I most looked forward to. In fact it was the one and only reason why I embarked on this wintry trip. That thought was motivating enough for me to bear the unbearable that evening.
Harbin's Ice And Snow World in China's Heilongjiang Province is the world's biggest ice sculpture festival covering an area of 600,000 square metres.  Unlike the snow sculpture park we saw earlier on in Sun Island, Ice And Snow World is best visited at night as the beauty is not only in the ice sculptures but the lighting that illuminates them.
And then came the jaw dropping moments. As soon as we entered the park we found ourselves surrounded by astounding masterpieces of ice sculptures that glittered and bedazzled against the pitch dark sky. It felt magical, as though we were walking through a fantasyland. 
Never have I seen such a brilliant display of ice sculptures. To think that all these were created from big blocks of ice cut out from the nearby Songhua River is even more mind boggling.
Many sculptures we saw are real size replicas of buildings towering many metres high. Thumbs up to the professional ice carvers and the 10,000 workers deployed to put up this spectacular display and within a short span of time too.
The weather was already cold as it was but standing on the ice floors of these surreal structures and walking through their walls of ice made it an even colder experience.
Computer controlled LEDs  were used alongside regular lightings to create an outstanding effect. The sculptures glowed with colours vibrant and psychedelic enough to get us mesmerised.

A few pieces created were interactive, for example this piece which allow visitors to climb up and have a fun slide down.
Interested visitors could also go for horse cart rides and husky sleigh rides within the park.
These crystals that hang from strings are actually chiseled from blocks of ice.
When it got too cold, we sought temporary reprieve in cafes over a cup of hot drink that cost more than purchased outside. These cafes were intermittently spaced around the park and were my life saver I have to admit.
Just like the snow sculptures we saw in Sun Island, come spring this surreal ice city will melt away. But as one fades another will emerge. That's how life goes on in Harbin.

Harbin Part 4: Winter Swimming
Harbin Part 5: Siberian Tiger Park
Harbin Part 6: Harbin City Attractions
Harbin Part 7: Ice Palace Restaurant, Harbin Shangri-La Hotel
Harbin Part 8: Food Oh Glorious Food Of Harbin
Harbin Part 9: Shangri-La Harbin

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