Welcome to Harbin
Harbin is the capital city of China’s most northeastern Heilongjiang province. Famous for white winters and cool comfortable summers, the city is home to some famous universities and attractions. The Harbin people are friendly and speak standard Mandarin Chinese that makes it the perfect environment to learn Chinese in China.
Harbin’s winter is from December to February where temperature can be very cold and average from highs of -13 ℃ and lows of -25 ℃. Harbin is famous for it’s picturesque white winters. Even with such cold temperatures, the city is still bustling with people and many tourists. Harbin is very charming and exciting during the winter. Obviously you will need to dress up very warm when outside, but most places inside have perfect heating so dressing in layers is advised so you can comfortably peel them off when inside. Don’t worry if you don’t have all your winter type clothes as you can purchase them at the local mall or even Wal-Mart and usually they are very cheap compared to your own country.
Harbin’s spring time is from March to May and the weather starts to warm up pretty fast averaging from highs of -2 ℃ to highs of 21 ℃ by April. Summer time in Harbin is also popular with many tourists as the temperatures are warm, but much cooler than southern China with highs of 28 ℃. Harbin’s summer months are from June to August and the city hosts some very popular events. The autumn in Harbin is from September to November and experiences some big temperature differences. Averages highs go from 21 ℃ to 12 ℃ and then to -6 ℃. Again it is recommended to dress in layers during this period so you can comfortably adjust to the temperatures when inside and outside.
The Harbin Mandarin School is open all year round, 365 days a year including all Chinese and Western public holidays and many of our students study with us for long periods of time which sees them experience the change in seasons and weather. You can easily and cheaply purchase some winter clothing or shoes in larger sizes in Harbin if you need to.
Harbin Events & Sights
Harbin has a variety of events and attractions all year round that draws many domestic and international tourists to the city. The most famous would be the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival that usually runs from late December until the weather starts warming up a few months later. In the summer Harbin hosts the Harbin Beer Festival and the Harbin Music Festival every two years.
Harbin also has some famous places to visit with the top two being the Harbin Flood Control Monument and Zhong Yang Da Jie which the famous pedestrian shopping dating back to 1898. The cobblestone pedestrian street is lined with nice shops, bakeries, cafés and restaurants and leads to the flood control monument at the Songhua river. All year round people enjoy strolls and exercise along the Songhua river and at night the walk ways are light up with colourful lights, many of our students enjoy a stroll from their accommodation along the river to the flood control monument and the start of Zhong Yang Da Jie because we are located very conveniently close. Other popular places to visit include the Temple of Heavenly Bliss which also have a delicious and affordable vegetarian restaurant, the Siberian Tiger Preserve, Harbin’s Dragon TV Tower, Unit 731 Museum, the old architecture area and Saint Sophia Church which survived the chaotic period of the cultural revolution.
Harbin has many shopping options from big new western style malls filled with famous international brands and an array of restaurant choices to cheaper Chinese shops. Unique to Harbin are the old underground bomb shelters that have been converted into underground affordable shopping malls where you can pick up some good cheap bargains. Located in the immediate area of the school are many shopping options and also the famous pedestrian street is just a RMB 1 yuan five minute bus journey away. Other areas for bargains include the chap clothes malls by the universities which are also home to an enormous book store that our students like to visit because it has many Chinese textbooks and learning materials for sale.
Harbin has one airport called the Harbin Taiping International Airport and three railway stations, Harbin Railway Station, Harbin West Railway Station and Harbin East Railway Station. We offer airport or railway pick-up when you arrive, and we’ve even had some students arrive via the famous Trans-Siberian railway as the service terminates in Harbin. Harbin also has one line of its subway system up and running with more lines under construction and coming soon.
Outside the accommodation, you have access to the public bus which is super convenient and cheap with a one-way journey being just RMB 1 yuan. Grabbing a taxi in Harbin is also very easy and cheap compared with other areas of China with the average cost from your accommodation to the pedestrian street costing RMB 9 yuan.
Harbin Banks & Money
Obviously you will require Chinese currency when in China and Harbin. The school and accommodation are located close to many Chinese banks. Our students use the ATM machines of these Chinese banks to withdraw cash easily. Bank of China is located next to the school, we will show these to you when you arrive during your orientation tour.
Staying Safe in Harbin
Harbin is an incredibly safe and welcoming city, but just like in any international city do keep your eyes on your valuables, especially when squashed on busy public transport in case of a pickpocket. Our students always mention how safe and comfortable they feel in Harbin when compared to other major cities in China and abroad.