Jilin is part of ‘Manchuria’ the north-eastern region of China. The name ‘Jilin’ comes from the Manchu word for the Songhua River ‘Jilinwula’. It was part of the ancient Korean kingdom of Goguryeo before Jilin was conquered during the Chinese Han dynasty. The long border with North Korea to the South East has many mountains and forests. To the North West Jilin Province merges into the north China plain and Mongolia. The northerly location brings long cold winters and it boasts some ski resorts.
Popular Cities: Changchun, Jilin, Ji’an, Baishan, Liaoyuan, Yanbian
Average temperature: -20ºC to -14ºC (-4ºF to 6.8ºF) in January, 16ºC to 24ºC (60.8ºF to 75.2ºF) in July.
Places to visit
1. Changchun, Jilin‘s the largest industrial city, is famous for its car and truck factories. It has the former palace of the last Qing emperor Puyi who was set up as Manchuguo‘s ruler; at this time Changchun was known as ‘Xinjing’ (New Capital). There is the site of the Wenmiao Confucian The ski resort at Songhua Lake attests to the cold winter weather in the province. It is also renowned for the frost covered trees which are produced when ice droplets form from the mist created by a nearby hydro-electric plant.
2. Lake Tianchi (Heavenly Lake) is a scenic spot in the far south. It is an old volcanic crater lake and straddles the border of Jilin with North Korea. Tianchi is within the Changbai (forever white) Mountain range which has thick snow cover in winter. The mountainous terrain and forests are still home to snow leopards and tigers. This area produces considerable quantities of the medicinal herb ginseng. 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.
3. Xianghai National Nature Reserve is a major habitat for migratory birds in Jilin Province. 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. 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. The reserve was listed as an A-class wetland by the World Wildlife Fund International in 1992 and was included in the People and Bio-sphere Protection Network in 1993.
4. In Tonghua, there is the Tomb of General Yang Jingyu. There are the Donggou Ancient Tombs; the General Mausoleum known as the “oriental pyramid” and the stone tablet of King Haotai. Furthermore, there is the Liao Pagoda in Nong’an and the group of volcanoes at Yitong.
5. 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”. The park also features the largest artificial forest in Asia, with an area of 100 square kilometers (10,000 hectares). The park is an ideal place to go hiking in spring and ski in winter.
6. The Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom is a World Heritage Site located in Ji’an City. The site contains archaeological remains of three cities, 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). The tombs feature exquisite wall paintings from over 1,000 years ago, but they are still vivid and colorful.
7. 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 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.