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Thursday, 3 March 2016

My Winter Vacation Part 5 - Shuangfeng Forest Farm/Snow Village (双峰林场又名雪乡)




Part 1 click HERE
Part 2 click HERE
Part 3 click HERE
Part 4 click HERE


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Destination:  HeiLongJiang (黑龙江), China

Duration: 23 - 30 Dec 2015 (8 days)

Mode of travel: Package with Chan Brothers Travel

Flight: Air China  (via Beijing)

Damage: S$1,878/pax, Tour Guide Tip: RMB200  Local Guide Tip: S$16, other compulsory/optional tours: RMB1,420 (slit throat + heart bleed)

Currency: RMB (we rough divide by 4.5 to convert to S$)

Time Difference:  Same as Singapore

Weather: -22 to -30°C


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26.12.2015



Seriously, after a mini ordeal aka 千辛万苦, we entered Snow Village (双峰林场又名雪乡), phew...

A little more information about Shuangfeng Forest Farm, beautifully nicked named as Snow Town, it's within Heilongjian Province, about 280km away from Harbin.  Coach ride is the only way to reach this place and it took us about 4 hours of ride from Yabuli.

1200 meters above sea level, Shuangfeng Forest Farm is nestled in a valley surrounded by forest where warm and cold air meets, resulting in nearly 7 months of snowing period in a year. 

This used to be a quiet village where villagers live a simple rural life by cut trees for a living.  Their thick and "sticky" snow was somehow "discovered" and it became a tourist attraction since year 2000.

We walked about 10mins along this main street before reaching the hotel.  Luckily, no snow fall, else would had to take even longer.  The day before, we were told to leave our heavy luggages in the coach, and packed a overnight bag to hand carry in case this path was covered with thick snow.

This little village is dreamland, omg.....

No skyscrapers, only little wooden houses;
No city lights, only red lanterns;
Hardly any cars, only sleighs;
And, plenty of SNOW!

Entrance of the boutique hotel.


Hotel lobby, no lifts, only 4 storeys high, we stayed at the 3rd floor.


Pics of our room.  Home-like toilet.
Floor was warm, was able to walk barefoot.  Hard as floor mattress, pillows and comforter were amazingly warm.

The last bed without covers was an "advertisement" on the mattress with some kind of coconut husk within that heats up when contact with body temperature.  Unfortunately Singapore don't need and can't use one lolxx...
After taking this pic, we let our luggage slept on it, old folks say it's not good to leave a bed empty in hotel room >.<

We had dinner in the hotel.




The above photos were taken quickly before my tour mates digged in, heehee....

After dinner we couldn't wait to explore the village.  Stepping out of the warm hotel was a painful joy though.  It was freaking cold (around -30 degrees).
The night was windy, we could see snow being sweep up from the ground.  The air we inhale in was freezing cold, breathing was never so conscious before I tell you....

Little wooden houses with roof tops covered with snow; red lanterns lighted up the street, the village was soooooooooo.... fairy tale!

Frozen fruits were sold in every few stalls.  

So were popsicles, that only melts in your mouth.  Seriously.

Another common thing sold on the street, lamb skewers.

Nobody could go without a thick fur hat.

Snowmen of all pattern could be seen everywhere.

My body was warm with this down jacket but my face and fingers were horribly numbed.

Went into a provision shop, found enormous green chilli lolxx....  Thawed ourselves slightly before heading out again.


The wind just got stronger and stronger, creating mini snow tornandos on the floor, but too difficult to capture by camera.
 We were not able to "sustain" more than 1 hour outdoor, need to "thaw" ourselves....

Went back to the hotel, took a hot shower, drink hot milo, snuggled in bed warmly, watched one of my fav variety TV programme.
ps.  couldn't find any teaspoon, so make do with hotel's new toothbrush to stir my milo, it worked pretty well without sacrificing hygiene, heehee....


27.12 2015

Morning, greeted by baby pine trees at our window ^.^

Breakfast in the hotel.
Nice ambience, lousy breakfast.

A plate of sliced cucumber, vinegar ginger, a few strands of stir fried veg, fermented tofu, cold tofu, stir fried shredded potatoes to go with porridge.  It was only slightly better than serving us plain porridge #@%*X
I want scramble eggs, sausages and bread toast T___T

After breakfast was free and easy, so we went out to the snow again.
I love this corridor which links from the hotel's lobby, it gives us time for our body to adjust to the temperature outside.  The glass panels were all frosted.  I had quite a few winter experience before but I had never seen anything like this.  The frost were so beautiful that I stood there to admire them for a long long time.

Close up, they looked like feathers.

We actually recognize our hotel by these red lanterns.

Morning was better than yesterday night, it's not so bitter without wind.


Pine trees dusted with snow as backdrop.

Despite of the cold, lots of tourists were already on the street, strolling, taking pictures etc...




Behind me was one massive load of wood, for burning I suppose.

Cutest post box ever!  And a not so perfect snowman, heehee....

We saw husky sleighs which I don't see what's the fun of sitting on it and make the dogs work so hard.  The entire street is less than 2km, you don't have legs to walk meh?

The doggies looked fine and healthy, but I would be happier if they can be pampered and kept indoors.

These "snow bicycles" are so much better for transport and fun, agree?

Sweet potatoes, potatoes, sweet corns and eggs were steamed in such big urns.  It's a shame that we didn't try any :(


The sun was shining brightly but not able to melt anything.

These were seen instead of prams or strollers for bringing children around.


Donkey sleigh for carrying goods.

Snow Village is so out of the world, I couldn't believe I was here.

Ice on roof tops could be dangerous....

We kept a watch out and didn't stand below these.

We found a nice place to "thaw", a museum, admission free.




We saw this warmer at the provision shop last night.
Wood is burn behind the brick wall.  The warm top can be use as a bed or simply a place to sit and relax.

Other exhibits.

Can't let anybody exit without souvenir shops.  Gotten a fridge magnet at about S$2.

After some warmth in the museum, headed out again.
Purposely jumped into thick snow for the fun of it.

Survival Tip #8:  Get snow boots with high cut.  It's warmer and snow doesn't gets in easily.  Track shoes?  No, you can keep them in Singapore to Coney Island.  Keeping the feet warm will ensure your body is warm too.
Damn fun, I should had stay longer but hubby was making a lot of noise.

Snow so soft and fine, like talcum powder!
However, I had a hard time getting up.  I had to roll to the side a few times, very clumsy with thick outfits.  Gotten myself all covered with snow like pork chop covered with flour waahaahaa......  Hubby too busy helping up so no pics, but it's as hilarious as you could imagine lolxx...

After which we went back to our room to thaw before joining the rest to some mountain trekking which I'll blog in another post.

We came back to Snow Village for lunch in this home inn.  There are many families converting their homes into inns for tourists.  They no longer farm or cut woods to earn a living.

The place was only the size of a HDB living room, with 3 big tables for 10pax and 2 small tables against the wall.
I believe after dinner time, the family would keep the tables and sleep.  As you can see at the right side of this photo, there's a double deck bed with a heap of blankets and pillows lolxx...  

It was the best meal we had in the entire trip!
Not oily, not salty.

And this was the BEST POTATO CHIPS in the world!!!
All my life (perhaps yours also), I ate potato chips from packets, this time it's FRESH PIPPING HOT from the wok!  All my tour mates love this to the core, we ordered another plate.  Then we came back here for dinner and ordered this again, holy thin and crispy delicious to the heaven......

Another very comforting dish was chicken soup with black fungus ^.^


Despite of the cold weather, we still wanted our drinks and beer cold, so we opened the window and put the bottles into the snow, heehee.....

After lunch, went back to rest.  The trekking before the lunch was very tiring.  One needs a lot of stamina and energy to visit and enjoy China, so do it while young.....

About 3pm went to this part of the Snow Village called 梦幻家园, direct translation to English would be Dream/Fairy Tale Land.

I was standing behind a heap of snow.

It's being fenced up which means.....


Need to pay to get in which we already did.

Basically you get to climb up onto this viewing deck to see the village.  While it's even more dreamy and fairy-tale than the street, it's still a cough blood sum of money to pay.  I would say it's not exactly worth it if playing with the camera is not your interest.




Snow that looked like mash mellows.

I took thousand and shots here.

The forest of pine trees turned gold in color at sun set, very very beautiful in real.

Venue to thaw.

Some kongfu monk performed chopping metal plates with bare hands and break metal plates with his head.  Also his strong tummy let a few overweight person to stand on.
Lastly, they started to sell calligraphy painted by an elderly monk -___-

Had some fun with snow again, holding a snow ball which I couldn't bear to smash, so I walked around holding it for a while like an idiot lolxx...

This would make the most beautiful and perfect ice kacang.
But our guide had warned us not to consume snow, so we obeyed >.<

Jumping pic with the biggest red lantern we seen in Snow Village.

Behind the humongous red lantern were fat chickens....

Super cute white butt deer which the locals called them 傻狍子。

I did a bit of read up, these deers are so silly that it would bury it's head into the snow if felt threatened.  They also don't ran away from vehicles moving towards them, they will stare and stare curiously not knowing that they may be knock down, haahaahaa....
Never mind, still cute.

Making our way up to the viewing deck.


The view from half way.


The overall view from the viewing deck, couldn't capture everything into the lens.




Slides with tyres but we no energy already.  We had to conserve enough energy to walk back to the hotel.

We discovered a quieter spot for viewing and photo taking at the left side of the view deck.






We went down to a cafe to drink and thaw then climbed up again when the sun set.

Climbing up wooden plank stairs.

His face when being forced up the stairs lolxx...

Night view.


That Christmas feel.



Damn tired, dinner time at the same home inn we had lunch.

We were full but die die had to try lamb skewers which a tour mate highly recommened.






We walked pass this to their dining area.  Space constrained indeed, cooking pots on top of fridge.  Fridge beside a bed.  Suddenly felt very fortunate, we have such good living environment.


Almost the whole bus of us were here!  We were laughing and talking, making hell lots of noises when the other table of china tourists (from other province) were quiet and well behave >.<

Giant mutton satay, totally worth it, no regrets no matter calories!
Spicy and juicy, freaking yummy.  I never get to eat this in Singapore T___T

Spend another night in Snow Village before heading back to Harbin.

I am very fortunate 感恩 to have the opportunity to visit this place, it's gonna be the most unforgettable place I ever been to.

Need another few late nights to give birth to Part 6, heehee....



6 comments:

  1. I love reading your holiday blogs, v entertaining and you have a wonderfully unique sense of humour!cant wait for part 6! ^^

    -your faithful reader-

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love reading your blog too.....keep them coming!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much! Feels motivated already, heehee...

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  3. Wow, snow village is so beautiful!! Glad to see your photos, great post! :D

    Love,
    Cindy
    cindytjahjadi.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Cindy. It's indeed very very beautiful accompanied with -28 degree lolxx...

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