Heilongjiang is named after the ‘Black Dragon River’ that forms much of its eastern border with Russia. The province shares its harsh, cold winters with Russia too. It was part of the Korean Balhae Kingdom at the time of the Tang dynasty. This fell to the Jurchen Jin Dynasty but Heilongjiang only really became an integral part of China in the Qing (Manchu) dynasty. During the Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese set up a separate state of Manchuria under the last Qing emperor Puyi. It has rich oil and coal reserves including the famous Daqing oilfield. Harbin is one of Chinese biggest and most important industrial cities in China.
Popular Cities: Harbin, Jiamusi, Heihe, Yichun, Qiqihar, Mudanjiang
Average temperature: -32ºC to -17ºC (-25.6ºF to 1.4ºF) in January, 16ºC to 23ºC (60.8ºF to 73.4ºF) in July
Places to visit
Heilongjiang has impressive mountain scenery and its fringes are covered with dense pine forests.
1. Siberian Tiger Reserve is located near to Harbin. An area with important industrial history is the famous Daqing oilfield which was strategic during the Mao era.
2. Jingbo Lake, or literally the Mirror Lake, is the largest alpine barrier lake in China, and the second-largest of its kind in the world, with an altitude of 350 meters above sea level. The lake was formed 10,000 years ago when lava from volcanoes eruptions blocked the Mudan River. As one of 18 world geoparks in China certified by UNESCO, Jingbo Lake is a haven for scientists as well as travelers with an eye for natural wonders.
3. Qiqihar is an old industrial town while nearby is the Zhalong Nature Reserve that attracts many birds, particularly on migration, and is the home of rare red-crowned and white-naped cranes.
4. Wudalianchi meaning Five Inter-linked lakes, it is a precious heritage from volcanic activities in the Quaternary period. With the well-preserved volcanoes, the geopark has the most typical recent volcanic cluster in China. The natural scenery here is also attractive, with mountains, lakes, springs, large rocks and caves. It is also a great place to relax by bathing in a hot spring or strolling on the wooded slopes. Wudalianchi has been included in the lists of “Global Network of National Geoparks” and “World Biosphere Reserve” by UNESCO.
5. Established in 1999, the Harbin Ice and Snow World is by far the largest ice and snow art exhibition and amusement park in the world, which shows the unique charm of ice and snow culture and tourism. The ice carvings here are regarded as some of the world’s finest examples of ice art, where visitors are able to admire some of the largest and most majestic ice-sculpted masterpieces to be found anywhere. It is also a center for various forms of entertainment, such as ice rock-climbing, skating, skiing, sliding, snow fights, ice golf, and ice archery.
6. Established in 1981, the Xing’an Forest Park is an ecological park composed of a dozen attractions. It is located in northeast Heilongjiang’s Yichun City, which is nicknamed “forest capital” for its forest coverage. Covering a total area of 6,093 hectares, it has an average elevation of 420 meters, with the main peak reaching 653 meters high. The park features more than 40 species of precious trees and more than 20 species of wild animals.
7. North Pole Village can be found at the utmost northern part of China in Mohe County, Heilongjiang Province. Neighboring Russia with only a river between the two, North Pole Village is the only place to enjoy aurora borealis and polar day phenomenon in the country. Covering an area of 100.06 hectares, the village is the first village in China styled after Northern Europe. The Summer Solstice is the busiest time each year, with fascinating fire parties beside the river all night long.