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Badaling Great Wall of China
Beijing Duck at QuanJuDe - 1
Beijing Duck at QuanJuDe - 2
Beijing Forbidden City - 1
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Beijing Forbidden City - 3
Beijing Hutong Tour
Beihai Park Tour
Ming Tombs Lunch
Ming Tombs Tour - 1
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Ming Dynasty Wax Muesum
Summer Palace Beijing - 1
Summer Palace Beijing - 2
Temple of Heaven Tour - 1
Temple of Heaven Tour - 2
Tiananmen Square China

Diecai Hill - Folded Brocade
Elephant Trunk Hill
Fubo Hill Tour
Guilin To Yangshuo Li River Cruise
Guilin Travel & Arrival
Li River Cruise - 1
Li River Cruise - 2
Liu Sa Jie Park
Ocean Aquarium Tour
Reed Flute Cave Tour
Seven Star Park
Solitary Beauty Peak & Princes City
Xiongsen Bear & Tiger Zoo - 1
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Yangshuo Big Banyan Tree
Yangshuo Ju Long Tan Cave

Haikou Evergreen Park
Haikou Hairui Tomb Tour
Haikou One Day Tour
Haikou Wugong Temple
Sanya City Impressions

Dragon Tower Tour
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Ice and Snow World
Impressions of Harbin City
Saint Sophia Church
Siberian Tiger Park Tour
Songhuajiang Gondola Ride
Stalin Park & Flood Prevention
Sun Island Snow Sculpture Festival

Banpo Village
Bell Tower Tour
Big Wild Goose Pagoda Tour
Drum Tower Tour
Forest of Stone Steles Museum - 1
Forest of Stone Steles Museum - 2
Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang
Shaanxi Province History Museum - 1
Shaanxi Province History Museum - 2
Shaanxi Province History Museum - 3
Small Wild Goose Pagoda
Tang Dynasty Cultural Park - 1
Tang Dynasty Cultural Park - 2
Terra Cotta Warrior & Solder - 1
Terra Cotta Warrior & Solder - 2
Terra Cotta Warrior & Solder - 3
Xian City Wall

Yunnan Dali China
Yunnan LiJiang Old Town
Yunnan Shilin Stone Forest

Suzhou Gardens
Tibet Potala Palace
Tibet Travel in China


Harbin City Impressions

Harbin Tour, China

My first impressions of Harbin city is that it's such an organized, and well planned city compared to most other cities I've been to in China. While it still has the distinct Chinese flavor of being an over crowded, noisy, and rather smoggy city, it was very clean, and what impressed me most was the traffic and road organization.

harbin city

Living in Canada and the US, most people take granted the safe and orderly roads we walk, bike, and drive on, but it's not so in China. Most cities you visit in China, can be described with a well known Chinese phrase that says: "Ren san ren hai" (direct translation: people mountain, people sea), but a better translation would be "the massive crowds of people are like mountains and oceans".

The roads and intersections are so crowded in China that if you're polite or try to follow the traffic lights while trying to cross an intersection, you can pretty much expect to stand there all day, and not be able to cross the road. Unlike in north america where (most) vehicles yield for pedestrians, cars, taxis, buses, bikes do not yield for pedestrians. So road crossings could be stressful for some tourists if they're not used to these types of environment, while it could be very exciting for others.

Although Harbin city's roads are crowded, it's traffic system seems much more developed than most other cities I've been to, with the exception of Beijing of course. Most intersections had traffic lights, and most of these intersections even had crossing lights for pedestrians - something I don't remember seeing in other cities in China! To my surprise, I even saw parking meters in busy areas of Harbin city! Although the glass on the parking meters are so dirty and blackened that you can't even read the meter, but at least this was the first time I noticed parking meters in China.

harbin park meter
Dirty parking meters in Harbin.

Harbin Weather

Harbin is located in the northern parts of China, very close to Russia. Winter in Harbin is very cold with average temperature ranging from -10c to -20c not factoring in wind chill. With wind chill, it’s probably around -25 to -30. This is very similar to the weather in Saskatchewan (central canada), where I lived for several years.

Because I do alot of walking in the cold, I wore 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of pants, a thick sweater, and a wool sweater underneathe, and a big, thick winter jacket. I probably need mits, since my leather gloves didn’t do its job keeping my hand warm.

I was surprised to see that so many Harbin people seem to not care much about the chilling winter. Some wear a thin sweater, with a thin jacket that’s not even zipped up! Most people don’t even use gloves to keep their hands warm. I even see some young kids eating popsicle outside in the freezing cold…

harbin china
Photo of Harbin city on top of the Harbin Dragon Tower.

Harbin Cleanliness

Harbin is also one of the cleanest cities I’ve been to. Every few blocks (at least around ZhongYang street), there is a road sweeper sweeping away the trash.

Although the city is very clean and organized, I have yet to see any hint of green anywhere – of course, it is winter here. But it probably can get depressing if you live here for long periods and not see any green at all. During my flight to Harbin from Chengdu, I sat beside 2 local Harbin residents. A lady and her daughter who just finished taking some university entrance examinations in Chengdu. During my chat with them, it didn't seem like they enjoy living in Harbin much, and many times, they made note of the fact that it gets depressing in winter, where you never see any green.

harbin night time
Harbin at night.

Harbin Polution

Harbin seems like a heavily polluted city. The SongHuaJiang river is one of China’s worst polluted rivers. There is a smog that covers the city (like most other cities in Chna), and while on top of the Dragon Tower (Longta, Harbin HeiLongJiang province broadcasting tower), all I see is the city swimming in a thick smog.

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