One off our bucket list
Harbin was an item on our bucket list, well not exactly our but at least mine. Yat Thong and I disliked cold places and in all our travelling we avoided visiting places that went into “winter. This was our first winter trip and we thought if we could survive Harbin we could survive any other cold place.
Harbin was freaking cold and the trip was a “different” experience for us. Having visited once we would say we would not come back again. Not because the place was “bad” more like there was no “pull” to revisit.
Keeping warm was a tedious task
During our trip, the winter temperature was between -15 to -20°C. Contrary to our worries we found that it was possible to keep warm when we were outdoor. It was all about layers of the right materials. Woollen thermal layers, down jacket, ski gloves, woollen hats, neck gaiters, woollen socks, wool lined boots, heat pads.
Keeping warm was easy, just piled on the layers and stuffs. It was the putting on and taking off that was tedious. The outdoor temperature was -15 to -20°C while the indoor (building and bus) temperature was 30°C. So even for a short distance between bus and restaurant, bus and hotel or bus to any builidng we would be adding on layers and then taking them off soon.
Even with all these precautions Yat Thong and I still ended up catching a cold. My cold came on day 7 and Yat Thong’s on day 9.
Land Tour versus total DIY tour
We flew in and out of Harbin on our own. Then joined a land tour for 8 days and after the land tour extended our stay for three more days. Our land tour was not with a China tour agent but a Singapore tour agent, Dynasty Travel.
I guessed I was just being “lazy” so instead of doing more researches and online “shopping” for some reliable China tour agents I picked a Singapore Tour Agency that we were more familiar with. If Harbin did not have such extreme weather we would be more gamed and adventurous to just fly into Harbin, wandered about on our own and “shopped” around one or two lands tours.
This was our first winter trip to such extreme coldness and we seriously worried that we might hate. To lighten our concerns we decided to travel with a tour agency so as to be as “taken care” of as possible.
Getting Cold wears in Harbin
One of the best things Dynasty Travel did was to ship all us to a winter clothing store and got us to stock up on the “right” winter attires. We were pretty surprised when we were told that our Timberland winter boots (SGD299 a pair) would be useless when we visited some of the colder places like Harbin Snow town, ShiLi HuaLang and JingPo Lake. And the ugly plasticky/rubbery boots with woolly interior costing (￥220 or SGD44) would save our feet from freezing. Similarly for the hands ski gloves were recommended.
The store was stocked up with everything and the same items that were sold in Singapore were also sold at half the price in this Harbin store!
Highlights of our Harbin Trip
We did not just visit the sights of Harbin we travelled eastward to visit snow town and JingPo Lake.
|Diao Shui Lou Ice Waterfall|