a VirtualTourist member from Bellingham
Hi! Will eating be a problem for me in Harbin since I am a vegetarian (I do eat dairy and seafood)? Are there many western style restaurants? Also, how many days are recommended to see the Ice Festival? Are 3-4 days enough? Thanks for any info! We are thinking of coming to Harbin during Chinese New Year. I hope it will not be too crowded????
Yes, there're 2 vegetarian restaurants in Harbin, both in Nangang district. If you'll email me at [email] (put "VirtualTourist" and your own username in the subject line), I'll send you the restaurant names and addresses in Chinese characters.
Western fast-food restaurants, certainly. :P I know there was at least a McDonald's on Zhongyang Dajie! Otherwise, Harbin is renowned within mainland China for its Russian food. I would recommend that you try Russia 1914 on Zhongyang Dajie ([original VT link]; the food as well as the ambience was a hit with us! :)
I would spend around half a day at the snow sculptures, then an evening at the Zhaolin Park ice sculptures. On my 1st visit to Harbin I did just about all there is to see in Harbin, except Yabuli skiing and the Siberian Tiger Park as I wasn't interested in those. I finished everything in about 4 days and spent the 5th day just strolling around with my friend.
I would bet that Harbin would be pretty crowded during Chinese New Year.
If you haven't already, you might want to check out my Harbin travel page for more tips and photos: [original VT link]
You can order vege dishes in Chinese restaurants. Western style are basically pizza, burger and russian. Which are not vege at all. 3-4 days are good enough if you are not going to ski. I'd say 3 is definitely more than enough.
I'm going back to Harbin around New Year from the US, so kindly let me know if you needed more help.