Ice and snow adventure on the Harbin-Mudanjiang high-speed train
Updated 11:27, 01-Feb-2019
Cui Xingyu

So far, the previous episodes of China Tours by High-speed Rail have taken you to the top attractions along Hangzhou-Huangshan High-speed Railway and Kunming-Dali-Lijiang High-speed Railway. With the Spring Festival holiday right around the corner, we invite you to embark on a winter adventure on China's northernmost high-speed railway that links Harbin and Mudanjiang in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

The new train – which started operations on Christmas 2018 – starts from Harbin and travels through 11 stations before arriving at Mudanjiang, connecting the renowned "Ice City" with the "Snow City."

Harbin Railway Station

Located in the south of Heilongjiang Province, Harbin is home to various popular tourist attractions. Each year, especially during the winter season, vast numbers of visitors flock to Harbin to experience the winter wonderland.

A night view of Harbin Railway Station in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. /VCG Photo

A night view of Harbin Railway Station in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. /VCG Photo

Saint Sophia Cathedral is one of the must-visit spots in Harbin. Built in 1907, it is the largest Eastern Orthodox Church in the Far East with its name Saint Sophia carrying the meaning, "God's Wisdom."

A complex history of various reconstructions and restorations has eventually turned the church into an architectural art gallery in 1997. The restorations have signified the civilization and culture of Harbin and the architecture gives Harbin an exotic touch. 

The opening hours of St. Sophia Cathedral are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with an entrance fee of 15 yuan (about 2.2 U.S. dollars).

St. Sophia Cathedral in Harbin. /VCG Photo

St. Sophia Cathedral in Harbin. /VCG Photo

St. Sophia Cathedral at night. /VCG Photo

St. Sophia Cathedral at night. /VCG Photo

First set up in 1999, Harbin Ice and Snow World is by far the largest ice and snow art exhibition in the world with abundant art attractions, jubilant night views and plenty of recreational activities. In its 20th year, now is the best time to visit and see its astonishing scale for yourself.

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Zhongyang Street, or Zhongyang Dajie in Chinese, is a bustling pedestrian street in Harbin that is characterized by its European style architecture and numerous foreign shops, hotels and bars. Stretching about 1,450 meters, Zhongyang Street receives thousands of visitors every year.

The entrance of Zhongyang Street in Harbin. /VCG Photo

The entrance of Zhongyang Street in Harbin. /VCG Photo

It is highly recommended that you enjoy an authentic Russian style meal on Zhongyang Street. You can also take a stroll along the street admiring the ice sculptures, and have a go at the ice cream or ice lollies in teeth-chattering weather.

Yabuli West Railway Station

Yabuli is an important stop in outdoor winter adventures and home to Yabuli Ski Resort, the biggest and best recognized ski resort in China. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the large resort was once the hunting ground for feudal lords.

Yabuli Ski Resort. /VCG Photo

Yabuli Ski Resort. /VCG Photo

Enjoying her ski at Yabuli Ski Resort. /VCG Photo

Enjoying her ski at Yabuli Ski Resort. /VCG Photo

A group of skiers at Yabuli Ski Resort. /VCG Photo

A group of skiers at Yabuli Ski Resort. /VCG Photo

A scene of a skier jumping at Yabuli Ski Resort. /VCG Photo

A scene of a skier jumping at Yabuli Ski Resort. /VCG Photo

The snow at the resort is neither too hard nor too powdery, offering a perfect place for ski-lovers and fun-chasers. There are also other entertainment facilities available at the resort such as the mini golf course, tennis court, turf courts, and hot-air balloons to satisfy different desires.

The best time to ski at Yabuli Ski Resort is from November to late March. The ticket prices differ depends on what type of skiing trail you choose and how long you spend there. 

Hengdaohezi East Railway Station

When the high-speed train arrives at Hengdaohezi in Hailin City, don't forget to pay a visit to the local Siberian Tiger Park, the world's largest breeding site for Siberian tigers. With the reputation of "China's Tiger Township," it has been open to the public since 1998. The park is currently home to about 400 Siberian tigers.

Tigers in Hengdaohezi Siberian Tiger Park. /VCG Photo

Tigers in Hengdaohezi Siberian Tiger Park. /VCG Photo

For those who fancy Chinese movies and TV dramas, the local movie studios at Hengdaohezi Town are on the recommendation list. The Chinese movie "The Taking of Tiger Mountain" (2014)directed by Vietnam-born Chinese director Tsui Hark, is said to have been shot there. 

The movie studios in Hengdaohezi Town. /VCG Photo

The movie studios in Hengdaohezi Town. /VCG Photo

The movie studios at Hengdaohezi Town. /VCG Photo

The movie studios at Hengdaohezi Town. /VCG Photo

Mudanjiang Railway Station

Finally, the last stop of our journey is Mudanjiang in southeastern Heilongjiang Province. Xuexiang, also known as Snow Town, is probably the No.1 tourist attraction in Mudanjiang during the winter season for its dream-like scenery. Snow falls every October to April in Snow Town. Visitors are welcome to enjoy snow activities such as ice sloping, ice boating and motorcycling. 

The Snow Town in Mudanjiang. /VCG Photo

The Snow Town in Mudanjiang. /VCG Photo

The snow town in the morning. /VCG Photo

The snow town in the morning. /VCG Photo

The night view of the houses in the Snow Town. /VCG Photo

The night view of the houses in the Snow Town. /VCG Photo

The Snow Town with decorations of Chinese lanterns. /VCG Photo

The Snow Town with decorations of Chinese lanterns. /VCG Photo

If you are interested, check out the recommended one-day tour in Xuexiang: A one-day itinerary for China's Snow Town

Jingpo Lake, located in a county-level city Ning'an in the southwestern Mudanjiang, features magnificent natural scenery of lakes, waterfalls and volcanic landforms as well as some profound historical and cultural attractions. Legend has it that Jingpo Lake is a mirror of a fairy that fell from heaven. 

A visitor takes photographs on the frozen Jingpo Lake. /VCG Photo

A visitor takes photographs on the frozen Jingpo Lake. /VCG Photo

A running competition held on the frozen Jingpo Lake in winter. /VCG Photo 

A running competition held on the frozen Jingpo Lake in winter. /VCG Photo 

It was recognized as one of the most important national-level scenic and historic interest areas in 1982 and was awarded the title of Jingpo Lake Global Geopark in 2006. Recently, over a thousand people participated in the running competition on the frozen lake.