China Discovery Tour
Harbin | China
31 Dec 2019 | New Year’s Eve | Tue
Day 04 of 18
Drive | Downtown Harbin to Hotel
A few things we noticed on our drive through Harbin (to get to our hotel). The most obvious one would be the brutal cold! In the dead of winter, when temperatures in Harbin, China can plummet to -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit). It was around -20 (-5 degrees Fahrenheit) when we arrived in the city.
The second thing we noticed (and were already aware of) was the horrendous air quality. We sometimes have to deal with bad air quality living in Bangkok, Thailand, but it did not come close to had bad it was here. We sometimes would have days when the AQI would be in the 150 to 190 range (55-131 PM2.5). However, during our stay in Harbin, the AQI averaged numbers in the 400-500 range (350-500 PM2.5)! We knew it would be bad, but WOW – it was so much worse than we expected! We even had days when air quality readings would be over the highest possible numbers on the charts. During our duration in Harbin, there was always a constant blanket of thick air pollution haze surrounding the city.
Driving through heavy traffic, it seemed that for many, getting around town by car was the best option – even if it means braving sub-zero temperatures and hazardous air quality.
The other thing we were not used to seeing was the incredible amount of giant condo/apartment buildings. With an estimated population of 1.4 billion people, it makes sense that China’s cities would be full of this type of housing. But the unbelievable amount and size of their multi-story housing complexes was quite eye-opening for us. We had not seen anything like this before – not on this scale!