"I was 19 years old and, coming from Sydney, had never experienced minus 20 degrees Celsius before. I was freezing, just freezing. And then this little old bloke, with his burner strapped to the back of his pushie, offered me a freshly-roasted sweet potato. It was hot to hold and yet simply delicious. I still froze my fingers off in the process but...!"
Jeremy Clarke, January 1989
The severity of the northern winter sees the massive river running through Harbin, the Songhua River, freeze over. This doesn't stop the town, however, as the frozen expanse then provides the massive ice-blocks necessary for Harbin's famous Ice Sculpture Festival.
Given its proximity to Russia, Harbin has much history, interesting architecture and excellent restaurants to recommend it, but certainly the winter festival makes all of this doubly attractive.
For those willing to put up with some roasted sweet potatoes in the cold, or who wish to try a pot of tea in a Russian tea-room before gazing in delight at the amazing ice constructions, then Sino-Immersions Winter tour is for you.