Heilongjiang is the northernmost province in China.
Its name means “black dragon river”, because there’s a river that flows through the province, shaped like a dragon, and its water looks almost black.
But another legend has it that a black dragon used to live in the river.
Beiji Village, the northernmost village in China, 53 degrees north of the equator, 1,500 km to the Arctic Circle.
The lowest temperature recorded here is minus 52.3 degrees Celsius.
Winter and summer in the village are drastically different: desolate black versus lush green.
In summertime, the village receives as much as 17 hours of sunlight each day (not the best place for a night owl).
Heilongjiang, the “black dragon river”.
Rime ice near the Ku’erbin Reservoir.
A forest of ice trees.
An ideal locale for making fantasy dramas.
A Frozen world.
Yabuli Ski Resort, Harbin.
Skiing is a skill required of Harbin residents, and they have to start young. Otherwise they’ll end up like the poor kid here.
Harbin, being close to Russia, has adopted a similar lifestyle that’s plucky and sometimes bizarre. Like swimming in ice water.
They swim in waters with a temperature of minus twenty to thirty degrees Celsius.
The Songhua River
The frozen surface offers an almost limitless art supply.
Workers harvest ice cubes weighing more than 500 kg each.
The cubes are transported to Harbin Ice and Snow World.
Over ten thousand workers/artists spend a month turning these ice cubes into sculptures and castles.
The first Ice Festival was held in 1999, and was extremely popular.
Ice castles, plazas, slides, sleds . . . the theme of the festival changes every year.
It’s like Disneyland, ice version.
There’re professional ice sculptors,
then there’s the occasional folk artist.
The Snow Village, Mudanjiang
All rooftops are covered by a thick blanket of snow.
Here, snowploughs are more popular than cars.
Without them, you’ll wake up in the morning finding that you’ve been sealed in your house.
Siberian roe deer are a common sight in the village.
Unlike the roe deer, which mostly mooches off villagers’ food, huskies and reindeer earn their keep by pulling sleds.
Ice boat racing
If you are too lazy to walk, you can also travel across the frozen surface by lying back on a tyre, pulled by a tractor.
Or getting on a hovercraft.
Heilongjiang really is the best place to keep a husky as pet. If you have a husky in tropical places like Hainan, be prepared that your fridge will become the new dog bed.