Popularly known as the ‘Ice City’, Harbin is the capital of Heilongjiang Province in northeast China with a population of more than 10 million. Around 400 kilometers west of the Russian border, it is the ideal destination in China for those who love the cold and are seeking a winter wonderland – particularly during the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival held each year in January. Harbin has hosted the festival since 1963; it has developed over the years into a huge and impressive spectacle which includes an entire themed city made from ice blocks cut from the Songhua river, an international contest in which ice carvers from around the world compete for prizes and create an incredible sculpture garden in Zhaolin Park. Disney-like sights range from rainbow castles and snowy animal sculptures to brightly-hued bridges, icicle-adorned bushes, lifesize ice temples, fireworks, ice skating, dog-sledding and a host of other activities. Wrap up warm: this city can see average temperatures dip to minus-20 degrees Celsius; at the height of the festival in January, temperatures closer to minus 40 are not uncommon.