[GO Traveling] A Trip toward North – The Start and Destination of Harbin


When organizing some personal photos which have not been sorted, there are a lot memories of traveling to Harbin and Inner Mongolia in 2012 during my work in China just flooded back. Thus, I would like to share some moments of this trip with you.

In the early of October 2012, there was a long vacation for China National Day. My friends and I planned to have an expedition. Here was our plan – (1) Taking a plane to Harbin from Shanghai (2) Staying in Harbin for 2 days (3) Taking a long-distance train from Harbin to Hailar City of Hunlunbuir Inner Mongolia. Through this article, you could see the highlights of this trip from the start to the destination of Harbin.

As we knew about Harbin, she has been deeply influenced by Russia due to early historical experiencing and geographical location. During the sightseeing, you could see that there are a lot of Baroque architectures and China contemporary public housing, which are crossed and stood out in the street. You also could find some elements of Russia from the passerby and the vendors lively peddling in the street.

As a tourist, you would always visit the local famous spot. The hotel we stayed is not far from the Saint Sophia Cathedral. Dropping our luggage, we ate steamed stuffed bun and walked toward the church. Saint Sophia Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox church. As mentioned, Russia has far-reaching impact on the life of Harbin. Eastern Orthodoxy was preached in early 1920s. There were even more than 20 churches in 1930s. After WWII and the Cultural Revolution, there are only 10 Russian Orthodox churches left. Saint Sophia Cathedral we visited is the biggest Russian Orthodox church in mainland China.

Saint Sophia Cathedral is original from the meaning of holy wisdom, the scale of the building was spectacular. Although it has been changed to be a museum not for religious using now, there are still many historical trace left around. The church is open for everyone; however, it was crowed during long vacation. Since I didn’t like being jam-packed, I did not go inside to take a look. In the end of this journey, we were back to Harbin to stay one more night. We visited this church again, but it’s in nighttime. Not like the loud noise in daytime, Saint Sophia Cathedral is quite different under the moonlight of silent night.

After visiting some tourist spot, we kept walking besides of Songhua River to have some sightseeing. During our three days in Harbin, I think the riverside of Songhua River is a pretty cozy place to stay. It is worth walking along for few times.

Walking on the street, you could feel the laid-back lifestyle of north people. When we walked besides the river in the last day, we saw a man around 50 years old playing a skateboard. He carried a Walkman, played the traditional song loudly and hummed as he walked. Besides, there were two people playing chess in the street. Their chessboard was placed on a table consisted of plastic box. The pieces they set were just like the size of Orel cookies. Experiencing local life is quite interesting.

We had stayed in Harbin for three days. The expression of Harbin is different from Shanghai with fast-paced life. Harbin is a city full of history and exotic vibe.Here comes an end of the journey in Harbin. However, it’s not over yet. As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, we would visit Hunlunbuir of Inner Mongolia. It took us almost 13 hours to take a long-distance train to Hunlunbuir. I shall give you more detail in my next article! To be continued….


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