North East China Tour

My partner, a Tour Leader was taking a group to NE China for holidays and invited me to joined her. I was reluctant as I hate tour groups until she mentioned a destination that changed my mind. One of the destination was Chang Bai Shan 長白山. This is one of the Top 10 China must see outdoor destination. It is a volcanic mountain with a lake in  it, located inbetween North Korea and NE China. 

The 9 days trip brought us to these cities and places.
  • Dalian 大連 
  • Shenyang 沈阳
  • Changchun 长春
  • Jilin 吉林
  • Changbai Mountain 長白山
  • Dunhua 敦化
  • Jingpo Lake  鏡泊湖
  • Mudanjiang 牡丹江
  • Harbin 哈尔滨
  • Changchun 长春

View Our Adventure Map in a larger map 

We departed from Kaoshing Airport on the morning of 9 Oct 2010 and arrived Dalian in the evening due to transit flights. We have to take a domestic flight from Hong Kong to Dalian. After arrival we were brought to a restaurant for our dinner and then to hotel where the real trip begins the next day.

The next day the tour guide took us around Dalian, places visited are Jiguan Fort where the Russian had been defending the Fort against the Chinese. Next to a Prison where it was formerly occupied by the Japanese and Russian. In the prison there were few disturbing displays such a man would be lowered into a tightly squeezed wooden bucket, sealed and left there till his last breath. Lastly was up 信號山 Xinhou Shan by Chairlift to view the area around Dalian. Did not get a good view as the day was foggy. After the tour around Dalian we headed to Shenyang to spend a night.

 A view from Prison Guard Post

 This was a display of a how a man was left to die in a bucket, bottom right is one such display which I refused to capture in my camera.


At Shenyang we visited Mansion of General Zhang and The Imperial Palace 故宮大政殿. There was not much interest at the Mansion however we did enjoy roaming around the Imperial Palace. Later part of the day it started to rain, most of our group decided to stop sightseeing and took shelter while we got our rain gears on and roamed around the palace.

From Shenyang the very same day we headed to Jilin. We arrived Jilin late in the evening and the weather started to turn cold. We stopped by Jilin Park, the temperature had dip till 10 deg. C

 Arabic and Chinese writings

Old City in a New City


Jilin Park


DAY 4 
This was the day I have been waiting for, Changbai Shan. We departed Jilin rather early around 7am, it was a very long drive and we arrived Changbai Shan around to 2pm. I thought going up Chagbai Shan would required some hiking, instead we were driven all the way to the top and hike less than 200metres before reaching the Summit. Even such a short distance hike, some of our group members started to complain. We were told that we were very lucky to see Changbai Shan in clear day, some have came here 4 times before they saw the view, normally it is very foggy.

After coming down from Changbai Shan, we drove to few other places around the park. At Julong Hot Spring I was told that there was a waterfall but needed sometime to get there. No one wanted to go, not even my partner as we were told the park would close at 5pm and we have another place to visit. I decided to take the challenge and ran under the well laid path way all the way just to get a view of Changbai Waterfall.

When I got back to the coach, everyone was staring at me for taking their time. The next destination they brought us to a small Tianchi and no one even bothered to visit, I was really pissed off. 

 I have been occupying this seat throughout the whole 9 days trip, best seat of the house is beside the driver.

 Deer penis, recently in the News there was another group did the same trip as us and the had made some Ginseng purchased from this same stop and found they had been cheated. 

 Finally got my ticket to the mountain.

 the coaches can only go this far, we had to change to smaller vehicle to head up the mountain.

 half of the lake belongs to North Korea, these are North Korean Mountains

 Julong Hotspring

 Changbai Waterfall

after been to Big Tainchi, no one was interested in small Tianchi

The night before we stayed in a hotel near Changbai Shan, the morning breakfast was unique, North Korean style. When the meal was served, the group sat on the table for less than 10mins and all of them took off with just a bun. Leaving me enjoying the dishes, Kimchee this and Kimchee that, simply amazing Kimchees and they were made by North Korean ladies who married to the locals.

Beside the hotel there was a wild life park, we were told one can be driven into the park with armour vehicle and watch the tigers or bear in their environment but it was not in the tour package. 

Our next journey will be Jingpo Lake via Dunhua City. Before we arrived at Jingpo Lake, we had stopped by a Deer Farm. At Jingpo Lake, we went on a cruise and I was pretty impressed. It look better comparing to our Sun Moon Lake, there were Palaces, floating hotels and expensive cruise. After Jingpo Lake, we headed to Mudanjiang City for a night. 
 Best Kimchee 

 Our Coach


 could make a camper bike out of it

 Dunhua City


 Jingpo Lake

 looks like our dog

DAY 6 
After Breakfast, we were brought to few places around Mudanjiang before heading down to Harbin. There is nothing really interesting in Mudanjiang but I was interested getting to Harbin to see the well known landmark, Russian Church. 

We had 2 days in Harbin and it was free and easy, we roamed around the streets buying snack food and watch how the Chinese past their time.
 Mudanjiang Sun Island Park

 Harbin Flood Control Monument 防洪纪念塔

 Streets of Harbin

 Russian Church

 Dumpling Dinner

We left Harbin and headed down to Changchun to visit the Last Emperor Puyi's Palace or Mansion where he was held captive by the Japanese. Personally I was not interested so I told my partner to take some pictures. While the group was inside the Palace, I took the liberty and wander round the streets observing the life around me.

After visiting around Changchun we checked into the hotel and had free time roaming round the streets of Changchun.
 Morning view of Harbin City

 Changchun Streets

This was one of the longest ride in the whole trip. From Changchun we spent 13 hours in the coach to Dalian. When arrived Dalian we had dinner and roamed around the streets.
 Streets of Dalian

This is our last day, the morning we were take to few parks around Dalian before boarding our flight at 1pm.

 Tiger Beach Park 老虎滩

My Thoughts
North East China is very well developed, the cities are well organized and kept very clean. I wish that there was more time spent on Changbai Shan, there are few others places to hike and view nature. Going on a group tour is not my cup of tea, spending more time in the coach than sight seeing. We actually ate more than we visited places. However I can't complain since this is a free trip, what my partner made on this trip paid for my trip. If I had to do it again, I will do the Backpacker style. No group tour.

Just alone in North East China, we were served with different kind of beers.

 I bought this for ourselves to past time in the evening


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