Northeastern China, close to the Russian border, gets a lot of snowfall. The enterprising people of Harbin have turned this into an advantage and developed an ice sculpture festival that has become world-famous over the years. The Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival starts on January 5, 2015 – if you haven’t thought of a leisure visit to China beyond Beijing and Shanghai, this is the chance to see something truly extraordinary. Vast cities appear to rise out of the snow, illuminated at night like magic kingdoms. The festival runs for several weeks with a mega opening ceremony, fireworks display, ice snow sculpture expo and competition, ice lantern show, skiing, swimming, sledding and winter carnival activities.