Harbin, China – The city of Ice

Ice City Harbin of China

Located in the northeast of China, the shape of Heilongjiang Province of the map looks like a flying swan. Harbin , the capital city of Province of Heilongjiang, is a pearl under the neck of the swan. The city is famous both for its architectural style and natural beauty. The Songhua River, like a colorful belt, winds gently through the northern city with huge dams and flush trees on both sides. The Sun Island is like a sparkling jewel carved on the north bank. The Flood Control Monument standing like a giant is a symbol of the heroic spirit of Harbin people. The many buildings of foreign styles earn Harbin the name Moscow in the East.

Having a long, cold, and snowy winter, and a short, cool summer, Harbin is a famous summer resort on the plain and has got a beautiful name–City of Ice.

In the depth of winter, the Songhua River is frozen. The city becomes a sparkling world of ice and snow. People can see whirling snow and the scene of “a drop of water becomes ice before touching the ground.” The natural conditions make it possible to have various sport events and to enjoy wonderful scenery of ice and snow. On the frozen river, one can not only enjoy sledding, sailing on ice, swimming, skating, sleighing and other interesting games, but also can admire the beautiful natural scenery, in which unique ice flowers seem to be carved in jade and silver. In Zhaolin Park, people can enjoy the excellent workmanship of ice carving and wonderful ice lanterns.

Sled, also called “toboggan”, is a recreational tool of sports particular in North China. Some high platforms are erected near the bank, and skating runways are paved along natural slpes. Sitting or lying on a sled, people coast whooping down to the bottom, getting much excitement and fun out of the experience.

The sailing boat on ice can freely slide under the manipulation of the sailor. On the frozen surface of the river, when admiring the scenery of the North China by sailing on ice, you can have different feelings compared with sailing on water.

Because of the city’s special geological location, one unique natural scenery, rime fog, is seen here in winter. In winter morning, the 10-mile quiet causeway of the Songhua River is usually veiled by cloud of fog and submerged in the misty smoke. As the fog clings to the weeping willows on the bank, their braches glisten with rime fog, and become multi-colorful under the sun. the rime fog attracts many tourists to appreciate the magic of nature in the North.

In the city of Shangzhi, which lies 240 km away from the city proper, is Yabuli Skiing Square. Surrounded by mountains which are covered with trees and snow, the slide here is 1,300 m above sea level, 3,050 m long and 40 m wide. The average slope degree is 20 in this undulating area. Every year from November to the next April, the accumulated snow here is over 1 m in depth. The National Skiing Match is held here.

Diligent and wise people in Harbin take ice and snow as unique natural advantages, and create the well-known art of ice and snow. The annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival originated in 1985. Later, the festival is held on January 5 every year. It is a regional festival, which has first taken the events concerning ice and snow as the main programs, with the characteristics of the northern cities. During this period of time, a variety of activities will be carried on, such as Ice Lantern Show, ice and snow sculpture competitions. The Ice Lantern Show stations in Zhaolin Park. People utilize natural ice and snow, with their wonderful workmanship of sculpture and gorgeous light modellings, to turn the whole park into a unique palace of ice and snow art. The ice sculpture is grand and magnificent, and the figures have all kinds of gestures, remarkable true to life. In the evening, ice lanterns radiate myriads of colorful rays, pure and noble, and the park is just like a dragon palace of ice and crystal. It is a really marvelous spectacle of North China.


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VIETNAM to rank 2nd in travel growth

VIETNAM is expected to enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 9.5 per cent between 2016 and 2021 for outbound travel among Asia Pacific’s emerging markets, according to the “Future of Outbound Travel in Asia Pacific 2016 to 2021” report by MasterCard.

In 2021, around 7.5 million Vietnamese will travel abroad, compared to 4.8 million in 2016, said the report.

Myanmar is expected to take the top position with a 10.6 per cent growth per year over the next five years. The rate is 8.6 per cent for Indonesia, 8.5 per cent for China and 8.2 for India.

Meanwhile, growth will be 6.1 per cent for Sri Lanka, 4.8 per cent for Thailand, 4.4 per cent for the Philippines and 3.8 per cent for Korea. Australia, Singapore and Malaysia are expected to each have 3.5 per cent growth.

Eric Schneider, senior vice president for Asia Pacific at MasterCard Advisors, said: “The burgeoning middle class is driving the growth of outbound travel in Asia Pacific, along with other trends such as the emergence of the Asian millennial traveler and on the other end of the spectrum the senior traveller, as well as new technology and infrastructure developments. Asia Pacific travelers will continue to fuel global tourism growth in years to come, providing vast opportunities for businesses to benefit through the development of products and solutions that seek to improve their overall travel experiences.”

According to the study, outbound travel is forecast to grow faster than real GDP. Outbound travel growth tends to be higher than real GDP growth for emerging markets compared to developed markets (except for Japan) where outbound travel growth is much closer to their forecasted real GDP growth.

In emerging markets outbound travel is expected to grow faster than real GDP, including Myanmar (10.6 per cent vs 7.7 per cent), Vietnam (9.5 per cent vs 6.2 per cent), Indonesia (8.6 per cent vs 5.7 per cent), Thailand (4.8 per cent vs 3.1 per cent) and China (8.5 per cent vs 6 per cent).

The report updates Asia Pacific’s regional outlook of outbound travel from 2016 to 2021 at various household income ranges, combined with a five-year forecast of household growth.

The data is taken from the 2011 to 2016 editions of the MasterCard Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities – Travel.

Data for outbound travel from 2013 to 2015 was taken from the national statistics boards of markets, and for 2015 and 2016, were calculated using estimates from the 2016 edition of the MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index. 

Source: TheNation

Thailand – Free period for Pattaya-Hua Hin ferry extended

The free ferry service across the Gulf of Thailand between Pattaya and Hua Hin will be available during the trial period until January 31.

The official ferry service, which was set to begin operations tomorrow, was delayed until the end of the month due to storms in the South. As a result, the ferry operator Royal Passenger Liner announced the change of plans.

Preecha Tantipura, chief executive office of Royal Passenger Liner, reported the period extension to the Marine Department and the postponement of the official launch of the ferry until February.

People who are interested in more details about the ferry service can visit the company’s Facebook page @RoyalPassengerLiner or call +66 38 488999.

Source: The Nation

Cambodia – Siem Reap Tour

Today we did a tour on the outer part of Angkor Archeological Complex, we woke up at 4.30 am and departed at 7 am. We went about 30 Km away from Angkor complex and see several temples, among them Preh Ko, Ba Kong, Lo Lei, Banteay Srey, and Pre Rup. Touring around those temples took […]

via Cambodia Day 8: Outer Siam Reap Tour

Thailand – First glimpse of frost at Doi Inthanon National Park

Tourists got their first glimpse of frost at Doi Inthanon National Park on Friday, while Kiew Mae Pan viewpoint continued to draw a large number of visitors to watch a picturesque sea of hill fog.

“The temperature at the summit of Doi Inthanon and at Kiew Mae Pan dropped to 4 degrees Celsius, while it is 8 degrees Celsius at the national park office.

“The sky is clear after persistent rains recently and there’s no wind, causing the temperature to drop below five degrees Celsius. It meant that tourists who climbed the mountain this morning as well as those camping overnight were able to see the first frost at Doi Inthanon.

“That really excited them, while the visitors also got a treat with a spectacular view of hill fog at Kiew Mae Pan Nature Trail,” said Roong Hiranwong, chief of the Doi Inthanon National Park.

Source: TheNation

What are the tourism trends in 2017?

In January begins the general orientation on the next holiday trips. Fairs help choose, trend watchers look in their crystal ball.

Just about any travel magazine and every holiday site sins on their crystal ball look: what destinations are hot in the New Year, the most attention the list of Lonely Planet, which publishes an annual top 10 countries list, cities and regions.

The top 10 countries

1/ Canada. The country exist 150 years. More importantly, it is full of natural beauty and friendly people.

2/ Colombia. Hooray, it is peace and everyone is welcome.

3 / Finland. Another anniversary. The 100th anniversary is celebrated with exhibitions, cooking feasts and, yes, sauna evenings.

4/ Dominica, Go before it’s too late: the ‘last unspoiled Caribbean island’ come in 2018 the first resorts.

5/ Nepal. Earthquakes have quite thrown back the country. Every tourist who comes, indirectly helping in the reconstruction efforts.

6/ Bermuda. Pink beaches appeal to the imagination, like the fact that the America’s Cup sailing race calling the British island in June.

7/ Mongolia. A new airport, better infrastructure and new hotels: Mongolia is gradually Tourism proof.

8/ Oman. Trump Arabia is becoming more accessible thanks to new hotels and attractions. Eye-catcher is the Musandam peninsula, with fjord-like inlets.

9/ Myanmar. The mysterious land of Southeast Asia has more temples than flats. Upcoming travel destination.

10/ Ethiopia. Exotic, overwhelming and now more accessible thanks to new flight connections.


Chiang Rai, Thailand

Oh look, another temple! Ken next took us to Wat Haus Pla Kung, a temple with a strong Chinese influence. There was an enormous statue of the (a?) goddess of mercy, visible well before we arrived at the temple. There was a new temple under construction, and we did go look at the old one, […]

Click on the link for more beautiful pictures
via Chiang Rai, Thailand

Ayutthaya, Thailand

Sweet, tropical Thailand…. It’s only been nine days since I left, and my heart aches to be back under your warm sun, eating your delicious food and (dare I say) back on your trains exploring… On our second day in Thailand, we walked around and found a restaurant. The owner was a young person who […]

via Ayutthaya, Thailand

Laos – Mekong River: A Journey of a Lifetime

Taking a long boat into Laos is about the cheapest way to get there from Thailand… its also two days long. A highlight of my trip in South East Asia. The natural beauty of the landscape and the culture of the people, make the two days seem like two hours.

via Mekong River: A Journey of a Lifetime