Manzhouli, the Go-between City of Border Tourism
    2011-10-20 12:09:51      Web Editor: Zhangjin
If it were a person, then Manzhouli would be a matchmaker, or the go-between. Three hundred years ago, when the Tea Road is in its heyday, Manzhouli was where merchants from inland Chinese cities sold tea to Russian buyers.

The newly constructed church in Manzhouli serves as the main venue for a festival showcasing the wedding traditions in China, Russia and Mongolia. [Photo: Xuelian]

by Duan Xuelian

If it were a person, then Manzhouli would be a matchmaker, or the go-between. Three hundred years ago, when the Tea Road is in its heyday, Manzhouli was where merchants from inland Chinese cities sold tea to Russian buyers.

Today, trade has extended in such diversity and scale that almost all the shops in the city are marked by bilingual signs in Mandarin Chinese and Russian.

This transformation has been witnessed by Guo Yuanping, general manager of the Huaxia International Travel Service Company. He says it was to be expected, because "Manzhouli is a shopping paradise for Russians who live near the border."

Over 70 percent of the travel company's Russian customers are here to shop, Guo added. As one of the ten Manzhouli-based travel agencies authorized for international travel operations, Guo's company receives more than 70 thousand Russian tourists each year.

During the peak times in July and August, the company has to extend its opening hours from 7:00 am to 10 pm.

One of the company's Russian partners, Dolgopolova Yulia, whose hometown Krasnokamensk is only one hour and a half's drive from Manzhouli, spends four weekdays working in Manzhouli on average. As a tour guide, she brings 30-40 Russian tourists to Manzhouli regularly on Wednesdays and Fridays.

"Manzhouli is also my hometown now," Yulia said through her Chinese translator.

Indeed, Manzhouli is so accommodating to Russian tourists that the border inspection station in Manzhouli is open around the clock to ensure convenient entry. Local stores, ranging from modern shopping centers to family boutiques all willingly accept Russian Rubles as payment.

The latest statistics show that 99 percent of foreign tourists in Manzhouli are from Russia. The city is connected with Russian cities including Chita, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Ulan-Ude by air and a cross-country railway which links Moscow and Beijing runs through Manzhouli on a weekly basis.

As Russian tourists consider Manzhouli an ideal shopping destination, Chinese visitors are finding the border city the perfect place to experience foreign lifestyles.

With gaudy baroque style buildings bordering the streets, Russian restaurants serving Borscht (red soup), black bread and baked salmon, shops selling Russian crafts such as wine glasses and gem-decorated hand mirrors, and perhaps most significantly, travel agencies offering tours to border cities in Russia, Manzhouli couldn't be more attractive to Chinese tourists.

In March, 2008, Manzhouli resumed the customs procedures which grant Chinese tourists permission to cross over the border and travel to Russia with an effective visa.

"There are two ways to attain the visa, one is applying it through your local embassy, the other is to register at the travel agencies in Manzhouli which will help tourists apply for a temporary visa valid only within the travelling dates," explained Huang Guoqing, deputy director of the Manzhouli Tourism Bureau.

The special visa policy has essentially boosted the tourism industry in Manzhouli. According to Huang, domestic tourists to Manzhouli reached 3.542 million by September, 2011, a nearly ten percent increase over last year's number.

To play its advantage to the fullest, Manzhouli has been organizing international events in conjunction with Mongolia and Russia.

Every year around Christmas in December, Manzhouli is turned into a festive venue for the Ice and Snow Festival and the China-Russia-Mongolia Beauty Pageant. A festival featuring food delicacies from China, Russia and Mongolia is also held in June. This year a new theme event is introduced showcasing the wedding ceremony traditions in China, Russia and Mongolia inside the newly completed church in the suburbs of the city.

In 2009, tourism officials from Mongolia visited Manzhouli and other cities along the Tea Road intended to renew the historical business road as an international travel route, Huang Guoqing said. "On the Tourism Bureau's part, we have been actively participating in the research of the Tea Road travel route, it would be another significant promotion of Manzhouli's historical and cultural resources once finished," he said.

Although Manzhouli's tea export has shrunk substantially, there are many small businesses thriving on Russian buyers.

Hu Jianbao, owner of the Southern Tea House in downtown Manzhouli, said that half of his customers are Russians.

Russian customers' knowledge on Chinese tea has also broadened. "They (Russian customers) used to only buy black tea, but in recent years, more and more Russian buyers are inquiring about different categories of tea such as Tieguanyin and Dahongpao," Hu said. He established his tea business in Manzhouli in 1997 and now he has made friends with many Russian patrons.

In this modern tea trader's eye, the cause of spreading Chinese tea and tea culture is far from fulfilled.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  

         claims the copyright of all material and information produced originally by our staff. No person, organization and/or company shall reproduce, disseminate or broadcast the content in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of holds neither liability nor responsibility for materials attributed to any other source. Such information is provided as reportage and dissemination of information but does not necessarily reflect the opinion of or endorsement by CRI.

• Mount Emei Celebrates Lantern Festival
At the night of February 10th, the night before the Lantern Festival, Mount Emei holds its annual lighting ceremony at the Dafo Temple. The ceremony attracts many people, who express expectation on well-being.
• Spring Snow at Mount Emei
Mount Emei has its first snowfall after the Start of Spring on the lunar calendar.
• More than 200,000 Tourists Visit Mount Emei During Spring Festival
More than 200,000 tourists visit Mount Emei during the Spring festival this year. The accurate number of tourists is 214,389, marking an increase of 12 percent compared with that of last year. The ticket revenue is 26 million yuan, increasing by 9.8 percent on a year basis.
• 2th International Micro-film of China National Film Festival Held in Xi'an
The second international microfilm ceremony of the China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival was held in Xi'an, the capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, on January 19, 2017. More than 500 cineastes from around the world attended the ceremony.
• Chinas 1st Large-Scale Snow Field Pets Festival Xiling Snow Mountain Pets Festival
On January 10, the 17th Southern China Snow and Ice Festival kicks off in Xiling Snow Mountain of Chengdu, Sichuan.
• Xiling Snow Mountain Launches Campaign of 'Love for Stray Dogs'
On January 10, the 1st Xiling Snow Mountain Pets Festival kicks off. A campaign called 'Love for Stray Dogs' is launched.

Travel Videos
• Leshan Releases Tourism Promotion Video

Leshan city in southwest China's Sichuan province releases a tourism promotion video to attract global tourists.

• Time Out Beijing Food Awards 2014: Leaning Towards Luxury
Beijingers take their food seriously, but on April 29th at the Time Out Beijing Food Awards...
• Chopsticks & Beyond, Back at the Farm
Chopsticks & Beyond takes a trip to Tootoo Organic Farm.
• Chopsticks & Beyond Mixed with Chinese and Italian
C&B invited Italian chef Mattia Salussoglia  and local chef Wei Han to teach each other how to cook a dish from their home country.

Editor's Pick
• Special Event Offers Culinary Surprises and More
Beijing's high end food scene is hardly a well-kept secret. Unless, that is, you're talking about Time Out Beijing's Kitchen X event, which was held this past Saturday evening. The event was bravely billed as the ultimate dining experience. While that may be debatable, the event was definitely unique one. Diners signed up for the 888 rmb dinners, not knowing where they would go, what they would eat, or who they would eat with.
• 15 Artworks Stolen from Chinese Museum in France
15 pieces of art have been stolen from a Chinese museum south of Paris, including a cloisonn vase from Emperor Qianlong's reign during China's Qing Dynasty. There was also a replica crown of the King of Siam given to France's emperor in the mid-19th century.
• Former TV Anchor on Crusade against Pollution
A former celebrity TV presenter has released a self-funded documentary about smog, inspired by her sick daughter.
• Chopsticks & Beyond: On Track in Tianjin
Chopsticks & Beyond took to Tianjin last Friday, where the cooking show invited a number of food industry professionals to take part in the Tianjin Snack Attack contest.
• Hilton Beijing "Fly Me to Hawaii" Food Festival Launch Party
Hilton Beijing and the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of hotels & resorts in Hawaii, together with Hawaiian Airlines have unveiled plans for a "Fly Me To Hawaii".

The Sound Stage
China Revealed
My Chinese Life
Photo Gallery
Learn Chinese
"In" Chinese
Chatting in Chinese
Pop Culture
Traditional Culture
Living Chinese
Chinese Studio
Chinese Class
Learn English
Special English
Pop Chart
Everyday English
Fabulous Snaps
CRI News  | Xinhua  | People's Daily Online   |  | China Daily  |  Global Times  | China Job  |  China Tibet Online  |  | eBeijing  | Beijing Today  | China-Eurasia Expo  | APEC Yiwu Conference  | Chinese Embassy in S.Africa  | Chinese Embassy in Australia  | Chinese Embassy in NZ