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Jilin a hot spot for cold fun

Updated: 2013-02-21 09:41
By Li Fusheng ( China Daily)
Jilin a hot spot for cold fun

Tourists participate in a sledding competition. Riding a sled is a traditional pastime in rural areas of Northeast China. Liu Bo / for China Daily

Jilin a hot spot for cold fun

The snow-capped Changbai Mountains roll out like a giant traditional Chinese ink-wash painting. Provided to China Daily

Jilin a hot spot for cold fun

Locals and tourists marvel at the soft rime on tree branches in Jilin, hailed as one of China's top natural wonders. Liu Bo / for China Daily

While many consider vacations to be an affair for the summer, visitors to Jilin province are finding that winter can be just as fun.

The northeastern province is home to the Changbai Mountains, where tourists can savor what is said to be the country's most magnificent snow spectacle.

Viewed from the foothills, the snow-clad ranges seem to roll out like a giant traditional Chinese ink-wash painting. The vast white expanse is dotted with peaks, ponds, and forests that are not fully covered in snow.

On a trek up the mountains surrounded by freshly fallen snow as far as the eye can see, it feels as if one is embarking on a soul-purifying journey, leaving behind earthly worries.

When hikers come back at nightfall, they can soothe tired muscles in one of the many hot springs that are found throughout the mountains, which are dormant volcanoes.

Some springs can be found near the Tianchi Lake, a crater lake at an altitude of some 2,200 meters, while others may lie several hundred kilometers away, making it convenient to enjoy.

The springs have constant temperatures, flows and water quality, and they are rich in healthy minerals. They are also said to have therapeutic effects on arthritis and dermatitis.

Another thing the province is known for is its soft rime, which is hailed as one of China's top natural wonders. Rime is ice crystals that condense on tree branches when the water vapor from warmer rivers meets the cold air.

The most beautiful soft rime is found along the Songhua River in downtown Jilin city because water in the section rarely freezes throughout the winter.

The province's long snow season also makes it a prime spot for skiing.

The snowy period can stretch for some 150 days, with the first snow usually falling in late October and the last in early April.

The province has built more than 20 large ski resorts in such cities as Changchun and Jilin as well as Yanbian prefecture, making it easy for visitors to indulge their passion for winter on skis, sleds, and snow motorcycles.

Winter carnivals have been held in recent years to combine leisure activities with the local way of life.

Jilin is home to people of different ethnic groups, such as Han, Korean, and Manchu, who have kept their conventional customs, including winter fishing and hunting, said local tourism officials.

Visitors also have the opportunity to taste local food, especially the renowned stews and locally brewed strong liquor, which help to fight off the freezing cold, they added.

lifusheng@chinadaily.com.cn

Jilin a hot spot for cold fun

Jilin a hot spot for cold fun

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