The winters are long and brutal up north so you do end up hibernating, involuntarily. However, you can find that there is loads to do besides bar hopping and drinking warm Harbin beer. I stumbled on a leaflet: Swan Lake (Russian Kremlin Theatre) was coming to town! I had never been to a ballet before so I thought, this is it!
I often take the bus because it’s cheaper. Not on this evening. I was Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman – I had to take a taxi! I treated myself to a sushi dinner before the show; yes, it was a splurge day! I arrived early so I could take some photos and enjoy a cup of coffee in the theatre foyer.
The architecture is magnificent! I stood in the foyer in silence in absolute awe; enjoying the general spleandor.
I hadn’t been excited in a while so this show could not have come at a better time. New experiences always replenish your enthusiasm and sense of adventure. Well, the ballet certainly did. Of course, I did not know what to expect except for the routines I had seen in Black Swan the night before.
A beautiful, well-executed show that was worth every penny! I could do it again and again!
So, there is more to Harbin than Bar Street and the Ice festival. You just need to search a little deeper.
Where to stay: Well, I live in Harbin but I would recommend Agoda to book hostels around China.
Transportation: The subway and bus combo is cheap and reliable. Taxis are also in abundance, just make sure the driver uses the meter. It should cost no more than CNY 50 from the Qiaonan Jie area. If you take the bus, take the bus 119 from XiDaQiao to SongBei on the other side of the river. You can walk from the final stop or you could take bus 35 from the SongBei stop.
How to purchase tickets: I use the official website to see what’s on but I purchase the tickets at the Grand Theatre ticket office. It is tricky to purchase the tickets online if you do not have an ID.
Tip: Do it!