Meet your private guide in your Harbin hotel lobby at 9am. It's a short drive to the impressive St. Sophia Cathedral, which combines Byzantine-style architecture with Russian folk architecture, and embodies Harbin's rich Russian heritage.
Not far from here is the heart of Harbin, Zhongyang Street, a pedestrian paved street lined with European-style buildings and studded with small ice sculptures. First renovated in 1996, this was one of China's first commercial pedestrian streets.
After a short stroll along Zhongyang Street, enjoy lunch at a local Chinese restaurant.
After lunch comes the highlight of the day, a visit to the world-famous Harbin Ice Festival. You'll head to the main display area, Ice and Snow World, which is home to a spectacular array of ice statues, ice castles, ice slides, and snow sculptures. After you've explored you can choose to take part in ice activities, from skating and skiing to riding ice bikes or drinking in an ice bar, or see Harbin winter swimming.
Every winter, swimming pools are hacked out of the ice on the frozen Songhua River, and locals brave temperatures often as low as -4 Fahrenheit (-20 Centigrade) to dive and swim in them, typically from ice steps. You'll be grateful for your warm winter wear as you watch!
At the end of the afternoon, you'll be transferred back to your Harbin hotel, arriving around 5pm.