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Travel in Northeast China

Written by Ashley Kong (Classic Travel Intern, Fall 2014).

Magnificent natural landscape, enthusiastic local residents, traditional Chinese culture, characteristic local food- all your expectations for a trip can be realized in Northeast China.

Similar to Michigan’s weather, the best period for travelling is from May till October. You could spend one week in the three northeast provinces and enjoy an amazing trip in a different oriental culture.

Changbai Mountains, Jilin Province

The Changbai Mountain Range is a mountain range on the border between China and North Korea. It extends from the Northeast Chinese provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning to the North Korean provinces. It is the highest mountain range in northeast China at 2,000 meters in height and most of Changbai Mountain peaks exceed 2,000 meters in height.

Heaven Lake

If you could just pick one place, Heaven Lake must be your first choice. Heaven Lake ( in Chinese) is a crater lake on the border between China and North Korea. It lies within a caldera atop the volcanic Baekdu Mountain, a part of the Changbai mountain range in Jilin Province, northeastern China. Being alleged to be home to the Lake Tianchi Monster, Heaven Lake attracts millions of tourists every year to explore an unforgettable journey.

Hot Spring

As an active volcano in northeast China, Changbai Mountain is one of the great places for hot spring. Beautiful natural scenery and appropriate water temperature would dispel your tiredness during your whole trip and leave a wonderful memory about northeastern China.

Harbin, Heilongjiang Province

As the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang province, People’s Republic of China, Harbin is the eighth most populous Chinese city and the most populous city in Northeast China. With the most bitterly cold winters among major Chinese cities, Harbin is heralded as the Ice City for its well-known winter tourism and recreations. Being afraid of the cold weather, I arrived there for my memorable trip at the beginning of October, during the National Day Holiday in China.

Saint Sophia Cathedral

As a key political, economic, scientific, cultural, and communications hub in Northeast China, Harbin is also well known for its historical Russian legacy. The Russian Orthodox Church, Saint Sophia Cathedral, is one of the main representative architectures. Saint Sophia Cathedral is also located in the central district of Daoli and it was turned into a museum as a showcase of the history of Harbin city since 1997.

Zhongyang Street

As one of the main business streets in Harbin, Zhongyang Street is a remnant of the bustling international business activities at the turn of the 20th century. There you could enjoy a veritable museum of European architectural styles: Baroque and Byzantine façades, little Russian bakeries and French fashion houses, as well as non-European architectural styles, American eateries, and Japanese restaurants.

Food & Event

Since Russia had a strong influence on Harbin’s history, Harbin is renowned for its culinary tradition which consists of European flavor dishes and Northern Chinese flavor dishes mainly typified by heavy sauce and deep-frying. Guo Bao Rou, Harbin-style smoked savory red sausage, Russian-style large round bread Dalieba and Suancai (literally “sour vegetable”) are all famous food worth trying during your travel in Harbin.

Being notable for its beautiful ice sculpture festival in the winter, as one of the four largest ice and snow festivals in the world, the “Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival” is worth spending your time during the winter. If you, like me, hate the frozen season, summer would be another choice for you to travel in Harbin. Being named “The Music City”, as a national concert festival Harbin Summer Music Concert, it attracts worldwide music fans and tourists every year.

My trip in northeast China was so amazing and memorable. If you would like to try something new and have a different experience of Chinese culture, northeastern China would be your best choice for your Asian journey.