Being famous both home and abroad, the Sun Island Scenic Area lies on the north bank of the Songhua River. This dainty area, surrounded by blue water, boasts crystal lakes, wooden rockeries, beautiful flowers and exotic buildings. In summer, the comfortable weather makes it the first choice to avoid summer heat, and in winter, the spot is a paradise for ice-snow travel. Every year, the Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo held here exhibits enthralling ice or snow sculptures and architectures, attracting thousands of visitors.
Covering an area of 3,800 hectares (9,390 acres), this scenic area consists of the Sun Island and some other small islands. The area, with more than twenty scenic spots, can be divided into three parts. Animals' world is located in the north and west. The centre of the garden is featured by flowers, lakes and ice-snow beauty. And in the south, ice and snow series, exotic Russian series, a gallery and a memorial garden can be found. The amazing Sun Gate is composed of five white ellipse gates, with four small gates on the sides and a big one in the center. In front of the gate lies the symbol of the scenery-a tremendous stone named the Sun Stone.
The Deer Garden, the Swan Lake and the Squirrel Island in the north and west make the zone an animal's world. The Deer Garden is like a natural painting: some spotted deer run or walk on the slope while the others drink water from the stream. Facilities like slides, swings and the labyrinth lead children to a wonderland. In the Squirrel Island, visitors can feed the lovely squirrels in person. Near the Squirrel Island, elegant black swans, whooper swans, tundra swans, mandarin ducks, swan geese and other aquatic birds are fostered in the Swan Lake. With a man-made karst cave, the flying Sun Waterfall is near the paradise of animals.
Interestingly, the Flower Garden near the Sun Gate is divided into twelve parts according to the signs of the zodiac. Walking clockwise from north to south, every visitor can find out his own constellation in the garden. Twelve breeds of cloves in the Clove Garden blossom from May to July, driving birds to sing for them.
The Ice Sculpture Garden recaptures many awarded works in the Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. With an area of 5,000 square meters (1.23 acres), the Ice and Snow Art Hall is the largest indoor one in the world. Exquisitely carved snow and ice works can be appreciated even in hot summer. Ice and Snow Culture Exhibition Hall provides detailed information for those who are fond of snow and ice.
The picturesque Cloud-water Gloriette is a must-see scenery spot. This gloriette relies on the Sun Lake and has two storeys on the water. In the gloriette, visitors get a whole view of the lake and the Sun Hill while breeze gently brushes their faces. In the center of the Sun Island, five lakes surround an isle and connect the Sun Hill. Weeping willows and the gloriette reflect in the clear water, making the area more charming. Near the Cloud-water Gloriette, visitors can enjoy the Japanese flavor in the Harbin-Niigata Friendship Garden. This garden is a typical Japanese courtyard featured by streams and a wooden bridge, blooming with flowers in spring and being quiet and graceful in summer.
Exotic Russian series are situated in the south of the Sun Island. Dining in the Russian restaurant, strolling on the Russian style streets and buying some craftworks are unexpected surprise for visitors. The Russian Artist Village shows Russian paintings while a gallery near the Ice and Snow Culture Exhibition Hall displays Chinese paintings. As the largest private collection exhibition hall in China, the Russian Art Exhibition Hall presents many pieces of Russian artworks. Visitors can watch Russian films and dances and listen to the Russian songs in the Russian Royal Golden Theater.