Jilin is a province in the Northeast of China that borders North Korea to the east. The area encompasses many cities including its well-known capital Changchun while having an overall population of over 27million. Its economy is growing at a fast pace with a fair amount of natural resources at its disposal including oil, coal, gas and an abundance of traditional medicine plants and herbs.
Jilin, meaning ‘Auspicious Forest’ is not a main tourist destination but perhaps should be. Not only does the province showcase several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it also has a thriving winter season full of festivals and snow activities.
If you are travelling during the warmer months you will want to see the heritage sites including General’s Tomb, the Tall White Mountain and the ancient tombs found at Longtou Mountain. The General’s Tomb is a granite pyramid structure amazingly built in the 4th Century. It is believed that a King of the Korean Kingdom of Goguryeo was buried here. The pyramid is about 75m in length making it approximately half the size of the pyramids of Egypt.
Next, head to the nature preserve at Changbaishan, also known as Tall White Mountain as it is often viewed in winter when snow blankets the terrain. Deer, tigers and bears are some of the animals you might be lucky (or unlucky) to see on the mountain slopes while at the top you can enjoy the incredible view of Heavenly Lake that sits encircled by the mountain range.
Another mountain worth visiting is Longtou Mountain where you can explore ancient tombs. The Mausoleum of Princess Zhenxiao is one such tomb. Alternatively check out the temples at Beishan Park. You can walk inside the park along the paths that wind past shrines and temples such as Guandi Temple and the Three King Temple. Fortune tellers are usually congregated around this area.
With Jilin’s lengthy winter period from October to April, head to Songhua Lake where there is a fantastically expensive ski resort where you can enjoy cross country adventures. Winter also is when the Ice Lantern Festival, a festival well worth staying for if you are around in mid January. Be sure to bring very warm clothes if travelling in winter as temperatures can drop to -20°C in January.
If you are travelling in summer, Songhua Lake is also a great place to come for boating and hiking with its gorgeous scenery. The lake is located just 34km from Jilin City and surrounded by picturesque peaks.
Getting to the Jilin Province is easy through either the Yanji Airport or Changchun Longjia International Airport.