The pilot made the usual announcement before commencing landing. Fine weather at Harbin with a ground temperature of minus 20 degree celsius. People on the plane started to layer on clothes. Me too. Adding on base layers underneath my t-shirt and trekking pants. Then piling on a fleece jacket, down jacket and an outer shell (read further, on what I wore this winter).
The moment I stepped out of the airplane, I can feel the chill (yes, no aerobridge at Harbin Taiping International Airport). The wind was not strong, but somehow you can feel the chill, on my bare face. Oh… I should have packed my scarf in my carry-on.
So this is what minus 20 degree celsius is all about.
When we were in the cab to our hostel, the cab driver told us that this year seemed to be a warm winter. What? It was minus 20 degree celsius and you tell me this is warm? Well, he continued to say that it was January but there has not been much snowfall. Well, was this good news for us tropical people?
Solid Stone International Hostel 顽石旅舍
We thought we would be able to interact with fellow foreign travelers by booking a hostel, turn out that we did not see much of them but we interacted more with the cats at the hostel.
Hiding in a small street off Central Street （中央大街）, the lobby of this hostel looked very much in need of a massive clean-up. Maybe there were just too many animals living there (we saw at least 4 cats and 1 dog there). The owner was very friendly but does not speak English. We booked an en-suite double room which was clean but I wished the heater was warmer…
Central Street 中央大街
Staying near Central Street has its perks. All the happenings are there. Food, shopping, and tours, you can have it all here.
Walking down the cobblestone road in Central Steet, you will think that you are in Europe. This is a pedestrian-only street. Hop into any of the European style building and shop brands like Under Armour, Zara, Uniqlo and many more international brands to your heart content.
We found ourselves walking up and down this street almost every night. Not that the shops are interesting, but everyone was there! There were also ice sculptures dotting the whole street.
I was kind of disappointed. Where was the snow? I had envisioned snow-covered street just like what I had seen in the winter of Hokkaido.
During our 6 days in Harbin, we did not do much. Is it because it is winter so we hibernate? We can only manage 1 activity a day, but we find it very relaxing this way. 😜
We took a 2D1N tour to Snow Town （雪乡）, went to Harbin Ice and Snow World （冰雪大世界） and Sun Island （太阳岛）.
I will write more about them in my coming posts.
- Time of the trip: January 2019
- Number of days: 6 days
- Flight: Scoot
- Stay: Solid Stone International Hostel
- What I wore most of the days:
Upper body: 2 base layers (Decathlon or Uniqlo), fleece jacket, down jacket (Quechua) and outer shell (Montbell). If you have a thick winter jacket, you do not need the down jacket and outer shell.
Lower body: 2 base layers (Decathlon or Uniqlo), ski pants
Shoes: Snowshoes made in South Korea which I bought from Qoo10. Make sure it is water resistance and anti-slip. I wore it with a cheap wool sock from Decathlon and sometimes with Daiso heattech sock.
Others: Beanie /hat, scarf to cover your neck and best to cover your face too. Woolen or ski gloves. Wear sunglasses too!
Maybe it was really a warm winter? I felt fine with the above setup. When I was at Snow Town, I rented the oversize snow coat. Ugly but at least I was not freezing cold.