The Sun Island Park (Taiyangdao gongyuan) consists of one big island and some smaller islands in the Songhua River, which meander through the north of Harbin.
This natural island is the biggest recreational center in Harbin and as such can be highly popular in the summer months and during the ice festival.
The island covers a total area of 3,800 hectares of leisure resources, including the interesting Siberian Tiger Park.
In summer, the island serves as a natural river beach swimming resort and sanatorium area. The island boasts several fine beaches on either bank, a profusion of lakes for boating, swimming pools, sunbathing facilities, a fairground, a water world and an arms museum, to name but a few. The middle and northern part of the island is composed of mainly forested areas and a large garden. Various different styled recreational buildings were built around the "Sun Lake" and the "Lotus Pond". With hidden paths winding throughout, the park is a nice area to stroll and try to get away from the crowds, lushly vegetated with trees and flowers. Barbecues and picnics can also be arranged in one of the meadows here.
During wintertime, when the island is gracefully covered with snow, the Sun Island is used as the playground for various winter sports. Skiing, Hockey, Ice-skating, and Sledding games are all organized here. More importantly, the renowned annual Snow Carving Festival is held here.
The Park also contains the Siberian Tiger Park at its northern tip, a good, but sometimes a little gruesome, way to see these rapidly dwindling species. There are apparently over twenty of these beautiful and powerful beasts here, being bred in the hope of being returned to the wild. If you are lucky, you may get to see a feeding session, where little hopping rabbits, live clucking chickens, prancing deer and fatty calves are "captured" and devoured. This is certainly not for the faint hearted. The park can be reached by either a 20 minute bus/minibus ride from the pier (RMB40) or a taxi from the north, over the Song Wan Jeung Gong Road Bridge (Song wan jeung gonglu daqiao). Entrance fees are RMB30 for a 30 minute tour.
How to get there: Take bus No.101 or 102 to the ferry in the north of Stalin Park. Take the ferry to the island, buying tickets at official counters in the Park. It is also possible to take a taxi across the river via the Songhua River Bridge. A recent cable car connection allows visitors to reach the island in the summer months for around RMB30 one way.
Opening hours: 8:20am-4:30pm.
Costs: RMB2 ferry ride, RMB5 entrance fee.
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The Yabuli Ski Resort (Yabuli huaxue chang) is located in Shangzhi city, a county city about 150km east of Harbin. As a subrange of the Changbai Mountain Range (Changbai shan), the resort is one of the best natural skiing resorts in China.
The area enjoys an average annual temperature of minus 1 degrees C., the freezing period of the region being often as long as six months, from October to April. The snow depth averages 39cm and gets up to 60cm in high altitude regions.
The Resort is currently not only the biggest but also the best established and facilitated skiing resort in China. The 3800m long main skiing trail here is located at an altitude of 1300m. Cable car lifts are available. The whole resort is surrounded by imposing mountain ranges lavishly covered with pine forests. Besides the spectacular view, wild animals are also frequent sights on the resort. In February 1996, the Yabuli Ski Resort hosted the third Asian Winter Sports Games, the biggest winter sports event ever held in China.
The Heilongjiang International Ski Festival takes place from December 5th to January 5th and at this time the resort is filled with skiiers and tourists. Get your skis on!
How to get there: There are a number of tourist trains daily to the resort from Harbin, taking about 3 hours. The return ticket costs RMB60. After arriving at the town, mini tourist buses will transfer you to the tourist resort.
Cost: Cost for the resort can vary greatly. It is generally a RMB300-500 for use of the resort (depending upon your skill level). It is then around RMB100 for ski and equipment rental. A standard double room in the resort will cost RMB540 (Windmill Villa, Tel: 0451-3455168). You may also be able to stay more cheaply in the Yabuli town. Hotels here range upwards from a lowest price of RMB70, although these will be hard to reserve prior to arrival and not all take foreigners. For more comprehensive information you can call CITS (Tel: 0451-2310308).
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Yuquan Hunting Ground (Yuquan shouliechang) is currently the biggest close hunting ground in China. It is located to the west of Harbin, on the sub range of the Changbai Mountain
With a total area of 3000 hectares, the hunting ground enjoys a forest coverage of 80 percent and has seventeen peaks all over 3000m.
Clean streams and rare plants can be found throughout the region, which is home to various specious of wildlife including goats, deer and rabbits.
Please remember to leave those Siberian Tigers alone. Besides hunting, the resort also provides lodging in its uniquely designed traditional hunter's wooden domes, skiing, barbecue and
This is perhaps not the nicest of activities that is to be had in China, although hunting is not the only thing that can be done here. It is also only to be considered for those with a bit of wealth on their hands, there are a few heavy expenses to be considered beyond travel, accommodation and food, most importantly a variable per animal fee.
How to get there: Take the No.207 tourist train to Yuquan town (62km west of Harbin), then take a taxi from the town to the resort.
Cost: Admission to the hunting ground is RMB30, but this is only the start. Gun lease is subject to charge and every bullet costs RMB5. All the prey will be charged according to species, from
RMB70/animal (Wild Turkey) to RMB10000/animal (Chinese Dotted Deer).
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