Situated in China’s northeast, Jilin Province is bordered by North Korea to the east. Its location gives Jilin an enjoyable climate. The region has a lengthy winter with snow that can last for seven months a year, causing people flock to this area for the Ice Lantern Festival and winter sports.
Jilin also has many natural and historical attractions, including the famous Mount Changbai and World Heritage site Koguryo Imperial City.
The following are the top 10 attractions in Jilin, and deserve a visit.
Located 24 kilometers southeast of Jilin City, Jilin Province, Songhua Lake is one of the most famous artificial lakes in China. It was created after the completion of the Fengman Hydropower Station in 1937.
Covering a total area of 550 square kilometers (55,000 hectares), the lake has a maximum water capacity of 10.8 billion square meters. The narrow lake, which looks like a string of pearls, is 200 kilometers (124.27 miles) in length, 10 kilometers (6.21 miles) at its widest point, and 75 meters at its deepest point. Equal to four Miyun Reservoirs in Beijing in size, the lake rivals the Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang Province.
As a key national scenic spots, the Songhua Lake consists of nine scenery zones, including Wuhu Island (Five Tiger Island), Wolong Pond (Crouching Dragon Pond), Fengwu Pond (Dancing Phoenix Pond), Shilong Wall (Stone Dragon Wall), Hailang Hill (Sea Wave Hill), Shuangfeng Ridge (Double Peak Ridge), Luotuo Peak (Camel Peak), Qingshan Hill (Green Hill), and North Heaven Gate. It is a perfect summer resort.
Admission:30 yuan (US$4.72)/person
9. Ula Ancient City（乌拉古城）
Ula Ancient City
Located in Ula Street Manchu town, 35 kilometers (21.75 miles) northwest of Jilin City, Jilin Province, Ula City is one of the old capitals built by Haixi Jurchens during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Haixi Jurchens were a grouping of the Jurchens who inhabited the region of Manchuria (present-day northeast China).
The city is near mountains on two sides and near a river on one side, and held a very important military position during ancient times. Covering about 900,000 square meters (90 hectares), the city was protected by three city walls and a moat. The city walls in the east and north sides have been well-preserved, but most of the walls in the south and west sides have been destroyed.
Follow the 34 steps in the center of the city, you would find a platform, where Princess Baihua, a character in a Chinese legend during the Yuan Dynasty, reviewed troops before battle.
Ula City is one of the major places of origin of Manchu. Visitors may taste Manchuria-styled food and experience local traditions here.
8.Changchun Film Theme Park（长影世纪城）
Changchun Film Theme Park
Located in Changchun, the capital of Jilin Province, the Changchun Film Theme Park is the first park of its kind in China that integrates film entertainment and tourism. It was designed after Hollywood’s Universal Studios and Disney World in the US.
Built in 2003, the park covers an area of 1 million square meters (100 hectares). It features a film technology exhibition, Chinese-and-western-style architecture, an ethnic group scenic area and entertainment area. Visitors may enjoy 4D movies in the luxury theaters, observe the film-shooting process, take rides to experience filming history, meet their favorite film stars and even get involved in film shooting.
Changchun is a city famous for its film industry. Changchun Film Studio, known as ‘the cradle of New China’s film industry’, was the first film factories established after the founding of the People’s Republic of China and is considered the cornerstone of the Chinese film industry.
Admission:240 yuan (US$37.75)/person
7.Jingyuetan National Forest Park（净月潭国家森林公园）
Jingyuetan National Forest Park
Located 12 kilometers (7.46 miles) southeast of central Changchun, Jilin Province, Jingyuetan National Forest Park is regarded as “a pure land in a big city.” It features a forest, water and mountains, and its natural beauty and fresh air attract a large number of tourists each year. It is called a “natural oxygen bar.”
Jingyuetan, or Pure Moon Lake, is named after its crescent-shaped lake. Covering an area of 430 hectares, the lake is 7 kilometers (4.35 miles) in length and 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) in width. The water is crystal clear, and the small fish swimming in the lake can be seen clearly from the water’s bank.
The park also features the largest artificial forest in Asia, with an area of 100 square kilometers (10,000 hectares). A complete ecosystem has formed, which contains 30 types of trees.
The park is an ideal place to go hiking in spring and ski in winter.
Admission:30 yuan (US$4.72)/person
6.Xianghai National Nature Reserve（向海国家自然保护区）
Xianghai National Nature Reserve
Xianghai National Nature Reserve is a major habitat for migratory birds in northeast China’s Jilin Province. Located in the Horqin Grassland, the reserve covers an area of 106,700 hectares, and 39 percent of its area is covered with marshland, water, reeds, or a secondary forest growth.
It features more than 20 types of trees and 200 types of plants, with three major rivers flowing through. As a paradise for birds, it is the home of 293 species of rare birds, including six breeds of cranes. It earned the reputation of “the hometown of cranes”, due to the large groups of cranes and the number of crane species. There are also some other wild animals living in the area including roes, Mongolian rabbits, wolves, and fishes.
The reserve was listed as an A-class wetland by the World Wildlife Fund International (World Wide Fund for Nature) in 1992 and was included in the People and Bio-sphere Protection Network in 1993.
Admission:Birds Park: 30 yuan (US$4.72)/person; Crane Island: 40 yuan (US$6.29)/person
Chagan Lake is located in Songyuan City, northwest of Jilin Province. The name “Chagan” comes from Mongolian, which means sacred, pure or white, so the lake is often referred to as Sacred Lake or Holy Water Lake by the locals.
Covering a total area of 420 square kilometers (42,000 hectares), the lake is one of the 10 largest fresh water lakes in China, the biggest in Jilin.
The lake is well-known for its traditional Mongolian-style winter fishing that dates back to prehistoric times. The annual Winter Fishing Festival is held to remember the old winter fishing tradition. It has been listed as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage of China. The lake set a Guinness World Record of a single net that yielded 104,500 kg fish in 2005, and broke its own record by 168,000 kg of fish in 2008.
The lake is also a paradise for more than 20 kinds of wild animals and 80 kinds of birds.
4. Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom（高句丽王城、王陵及贵族墓葬）
Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom
The Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom is a World Heritage Site located in Ji’an City, Jilin Province. The site contains archaeological remains of three cities (Wunv Mountain City, Guonei City, and Wandu Mountain City), and 40 identified tombs of Koguryo imperial and noble families.
Koguryo was an influential border ethnic group in northeast China during the Western Han Dynasty (202BC-9AD) and Tang Dynasty (618-907). Built on Wandu Mountain, Wandu Mountain City was one of the typical mountain cities in the early and medium stage of the Koguryo Kingdom. Wandu Mountain City and Guonei City formed the capital of the kingdom, which was a rare sight in ancient history.
Wunv Mountain City is only partly excavated. The remains of the stone city walls of Guonei City are still solid and magnificent. Wandu Mountain City contains many vestiges including a large palace, a watch platform, houses, gates and ponds.
Among the 40 identified tombs of Koguryo Kingdom, 14 are imperial and 26 of nobles. The tombs feature exquisite wall paintings from over 1,000 years ago, but they are still vivid and colorful.
Admission:100 yuan (US$15.73)/person
3.Rime in Jilin（雾凇）
Rime in Jilin
Rime, also known as “snow willow” or “tree hanging,” is a kind of phenomenon where winter fog condenses on tree branches and leaves to form individual white ice crystals. The freezing temperatures and warm water in the northern China city of Jilin contribute to the formation of the unique phenomenon.
The rime usually appears from late November to early March every year. It is mostly formed after 1:00 am and grows promptly in the latter half of the night. When the sun is up high at noon, the rime will disappear. The best time and place to enjoy this spectacular scene is in the morning along the Songhua River.
The rime in Jilin is one of the Four Natural Wonders of China, and the other three are the Mountains and Water of Guilin, Stone Forest of Yunnan and Three Gorges of the Yangtze River.
2.Puppet Manchurian Palace Museum（伪满皇宫博物院）
Puppet Manchurian Palace Museum
Located in Changchun, the capital city of Jilin Province, the Puppet Manchurian Palace Museum is a palace-relic museum built on the relics of the palace of Aisin Gioro Puyi , the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when he served as the puppet emperor of the Manchurian regime. It is one of the three great imperial palaces existing in China.
Because the regime was established by Japan to pursue colonial domination in northeast China, it was not recognized by Chinese government. This was why the word “puppet” was used.
The palace was divided into two parts: office area and living area. The architecture in the palace combines both western and Chinese styles. There are also a few gardens and a race-course in the palace. After the breakup of the regime in 1945, the buildings were destroyed, but later restored to their original appearance. The palace was open to the public in 1984.
Admission:80 yuan (US$12.58)/person
Located on the border between China and the DPRK, Mount Changbai is one of the most famous mountains in China. It belongs to Changbai Mountain Range, which extends from northeast China’s Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces to the DPRK’s Ryanggang and Chagang provinces.
Most peaks of the mountain exceed 2,000 meters above sea level, and its main peak, Baiyun (white clouds), rises 2,691 meters above sea level. Most of the peak is covered with white rocks and snow, which look like white clouds, and this is how it was named.
Mount Changbai is the source of the Songhua River. The dormant volcanoes in the Changbai Mountains present unique landforms. Tourists can enjoy the primeval forests, waterfalls, hot springs, mountain gullies and ice and snow scenes, which form a bright and charming scenic sight. The most well-known site of the mountain is Heaven Lake, a crater lake known for its beautiful scenery.
Changbaishan Nature Reserve was involved in the UNESCO’s “Man and Biosphere” program in 1980 and has become part of the world’s biosphere reserves.
Admission:125 yuan (US$19.66)/person