Do: Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival, until 28 February

When the weather's this bleak in the UK, Harbin (where the mercury touches -30º regularly) could be a hard sell. But, despite the risk of frostbite, it's a baffling temporary city of ice and snow sculptures over the first two months of the year for the annual ice festival. They're all created using ice from the Songhua River and usually lit up with crazy neon lights. Bored of the ice? Watch swimmers take a freezing dip in the river, or meet some Siberian tigers at the tiger park. Wendy Wu Tours runs a tour to Harbin – next year's leaves on 13 February.

Eat: Robot Restaurant, Xi Liu Dao

We've heard of ordering food on an iPad, but never through a robot. Naturally the Chinese got there first, which resulted in this robot restaurant in Harbin. Here, colourful androids take orders, cook meals and deliver them along fixed tracks in the floor. And if that weren't enough, a singing robot will entertain you while you eat. You wouldn't write home about the food (there are around 30 dishes on the menu though) but when you're being sung to by a robot, do you care?

Move: Dog sledding

While in Harbin itself, have a go at skating across the frozen Songhua River – just make sure the ice is thick enough. Outside of Harbin though, there's another mode of transport that's a whole lot more fun (and doesn't involve hyperthermia). Dog sledding is the best way to get about Harbin's Heilongjiang province, and is possible anywhere with lots of snow. It's fast, plus the huskies are super cute.