2023 Road-trip North China | Road-trip Harbin Part 1

Cold day in Harbin
Roadtrip Harbin-Yabuli Ski Resort-Snow village. Always wanted to experience northern parts of China during winter time.

Arrival to Harbin

This is the first part of our Road-trip Harbin-Yabuli Ski Resort and Snow Village. Arrived in Harbin (Haerbin) with a lot of luggage filled with winter clothes. The wife booked an apartment hotel in the Zhengyanghe Residential district through CTRIP, the Chinese version of TRIP. This was close enough to the city centre, not walkable, but a short distance by taxi or Didi. The room had two double beds and a toilet. A water cooker, refrigerator, and toothbrushes were included, and the room was clean. Some long-term residents occupied some rooms in the building without an information desk. You will receive a room number and security code for the door lock. I was unhappy about the code; it was 123456, which is very unsafe! Asking the landlord what code this was, and he said they had changed it several times. I doubt that.

The apartment was about 6km from the city centre, and it was easy to catch a taxi.

The price was 590CNY/night, and we stayed for three nights.

Apartment location

Google maps

Baidu Maps

Cold in Harbin, no problem, just dress correctly

The next day, we took a taxi to the frozen Songhua River to have some fun on the ice. Plenty of activities, and kids tried almost everything. The temperature was around -20 °C, and the weather was crispy and fresh. As you can see, we are well-prepared and testing our new gear and have new shoes, pants, hats, and gloves.

Songhua Frozen River is close to the walking street.

We had a lot of fun at the frozen river, and it was easy to spend a day there. Cars pull the inflated sleds, skate, drive micro cars, and enjoy the sunny weather on the ice.

Santa is walking on the streets of Harbin.

I have been practising in the embassy of Finland as Santa and was thinking, why not take the Santa outfit with me to Harbin? I dressed up and took a walk on the city’s streets. So many people wanted to take pictures, and many of them wondered if this was for free. I could have made much money that evening, but this was just for fun. I wish Harbin a Merry Christmas. Indeed, at the same time, I mentioned that Santa is from Finland to make sure there is no misunderstanding.

Santa Claus in Harbin. Some fun and cosplay by me

Beautiful Santa fans in Harbin

Harbin Siberian Tiger Park

The Siberian Tiger Park is located on the north bank of the Songhua River to the northwest of Harbin, and in the 1980s, it was listed as one of China’s first-class national protected animal parks. The Siberian Tiger Park was built in 1996 to preserve this valuable species. I’m not fond of locked animals, but they seemed to have a vast area and were well cared for. I understood some of the Tigers are prepared for future introduction into the wild.

YouTube Channel

Wanted to rent an RV for the rest of the journey

The RV was not according to the picture and we were able to cancel the reservation

For the Road trip to Harbin-Yabuli Ski Resort and Snow Village, I would like to rent an RV and test it in the cold conditions. I have been pushing my wife to rent an RV for the rest of the trip. See how local brands will cope with the cold weather. Finally, she agreed and started to swipe the phone left and right to find a suitable one. I found a Maxus V100 in CTRIP, and the price was low, about 700CNY/day. Tried to call them several times with no answer. We booked it anyway, and they answered the phone immediately after booking. During the call, we discovered that V100 is only for two persons. It seems the CTRIP app has the wrong picture, but luckily, we made the correct questions during the call. We were able to cancel the RV booking and started to look for another vehicle.

Selfdrive in Harbin

If you want to drive in Harbin during wintertime, you must have some winter driving experience and a local driver’s license. It might get slippery and ice on the roads. Check the condition of winter tyres and keep a distance from the car in front. The excellent point in Harbin is that all the roads are well maintained, the snow is ploughed, and icy roads have a lot of sand. The road from the Snow Town (G333) was in mediocre condition but well maintained. The rental and travel agencies tend to show scary pictures of the road conditions, but they only want to sell you local drivers.

This is what we rented: TANK 300 SUV

I didn’t want more games. We rented the TANK 300 SUV and decided to live in hotels, motels, or guesthouses. 4WD and good winter tyres are recommended for the roads in winter. It took some time for me to get an idea of the automatic gear and automatic hand brake as I’m more of the old school.

But something that was not my liking was the 360 cameras coming on the screen immediately when turning on the turning signal. It can be disabled, but the menu was only in Chinese, and I would need more time to familiarise myself with the settings. It was a great car, taking us safely wherever we went. The only item to complain about is the rear door, which is sometimes difficult to open. It must be something with the heavy spare tyre and adjustment of the hinges. If I buy a car, I prefer the more oversized TANK H400 Hi4-T or HAVAL H9. I tested Haval H9 shortly earlier and liked that also. They have a towing capacity of 2500kg, which is important for me even though I cannot tow anything in China anymore (I lack a C6 driving license).

The price for the rental of TANK 300 was 356CNY/day with no limitations of km. A collateral of 7000CNY was required in Alipay if something happened to the car.

More to come from the road trip. Let’s go skiing as we are in the north.

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