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Good Fun in Cold Weather
    2008-12-27 15:32:31     CRIENGLISH.com

Winter is the best time to enjoy the snow covered landscapes in northeast China. The tourist season begins when land and rivers are covered with snow to welcome ice fanatics. If you are planning your winter vacation and wondering where to go, then Jinlin Province in the central part of northeast China is a good choice. In today's 'On the Road', our guide Ning Yan will take us there and have fun ice fishing and skiing.

Every year in mid-November, Jilin turns into a cold, white world as the land is covered with snow. The province becomes a fun place where people can go fishing in Chagan Lake, skiing in Changchun, the provincial capital or go mountaineering on Changbai Mountain, the country's largest nature reserve and home to the rare Manchurian tigers, snow leopards and wild ginseng.

Our first stop is the Chagan Lake. Located at where two of the major rivers, the Songhua River and Nenjiang, join, the lake covers an area of 420 square kilometers.
Local people here still fish in winter, a tradition they have kept for more than 1,000 years.

Starting at the end of December, the surface of the lake water begins to freeze and the river is covered with ice that is one or two meters thick. Local people break the ice to catch fish in the water. Chagan Lake is the only place that still keeps the ancient fishing style. The place is regarded by historians as a live study in the history of northeastern China.

To mark the beginning of the season, a ceremony is held on the lake to worship and show respect to lake gods as well as to wish for a good harvest and a happy life. During the ceremony, candy, stir-fried rice, fruits and cheese are put on the ice. After dancing and chanting sutras, the articles are put into the holes they dug on the ice to pay tribute to lake gods. The ceremony concludes with the head fisherman making a speech in tribute to the lake gods.

In Chinese tradition, people drink wine to bolster departure. A team of fishermen drink a toast and set out on horse-drawn carriage to find a good place on the lake to cast the net.

The net they use is linear shaped. It is 3,000 meters long and 2 meters wide. The work begins with the fishermen digging holes in a square kilometer area of ice and making one hole every 15 meters.

The net is cast into the river by the fishermen using a rope and a 20-meter long pole drags the net deep into the river. The net is usually kept in the water for 24 hours allowing as many fish as possible to get into the trap.

 "I took a taxi from Changchun to see ice fishing here. I've been to many places in the country. And this scene is rarely seen. It is very unique."

"This is a new experience to me. I've heard of ice fishing but this is the first time I've seen it with my own eyes. It's amazing."

Chagan Lake is home to some 70 kinds of fish, such as carp, chub, crucian, and fat head fish which makes a very popular delicious and healthy dish.

Another attraction of Jilin is skiing. Known as 'a ski paradise', the province has a total of 70 ski resorts. Skiing has become one of the most popular outdoor activities for local people and tourists.

"This is my first time skiing. I am very happy here. There is such snow here. It is incredible."

After skiing, you can have a try to ride on a snow slide. It's a joy for not only kids but also a lot of adults.

However, the best place in the country to enjoy the scene of snow is the Changbai Mountain in the most eastern part of the province. Six hours drive from Changchun, the provincial capital, the Mountain is completely covered with snow in winter.

The scenic area is open to tourists for the entire winter season. The Tianchi Lake is a place that visitors shouldn't miss. At 2,200 meters, Tianchi Lake, or the Heavenly Lake, is the highest volcanic lake in China. Standing on the frozen ice of the lake and looking up, the lake is encircled by snow capped mountain peaks. It is an amazing scene that tourists relish.

Other tourist attractions there include an underground forest, and forests of silvery trees with their branches wrapped with frozen frost.

"We came from Guangzhou. This place is very different from where we are from. It's like a fairy land to us."

"The place is so special. I don't understand why both an ice spring and a hot spring can be in the same place right next to each other."

Meng Fanying is in charge of tourism management of the Changbai Mountain scenic area.

"There are bus routes to each scenic spot. Tourists can also drive their own cars here. And it is only half the price of that in summer."

The biggest outdoor natural ski park in Asia, Xipo International Ski Park opened to tourists last year and has become one of the most popular attractions in this area.
"Skiing is a lot of fun and in the meantime you can enjoy the beautiful natural scenery of the mountain. It is a combination of sports and sightseeing."

So, why not come and have fun and relax in the icy world of northeast China at the end of your busy work of the year.



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