TRAVEL | JILIN PROVINCE & TRAVEL VLOG
Jasmin has already told you guys about me, but I am glad to finally be able to explain to you how the trip to China has been like. I am Meroda and I am a blogger at Berlin-Fashion-Fou.com. Isn’t it funny how Jasmin and I met quite awhile ago, actually when we were both around 14 or 15. Years later she asked me to fly to China as a co-writer for her. Since I have always been a great fan of the Chinese culture it was a dream come true when she asked me to help her to write an article about Changchun, North China..
I couldn't refuse to fly to the other side of the world just a couple of days later. After all the experiences that I made over there I feel kind of silly to say that I had a completely different picture of China. I didn’t expect it to be SO modern and progressed. But it was. China is actually one of the safest countries in the world and I’ve been so lucky to see this beautiful place. After a stop in Amsterdam and at Hangzhou airport I arrived safely at Changchun airport. The „first day“ was actually really stressful and exciting at the same time. I have been on the road for almost 30h when I arrived at my destination. As soon as my phone would connect to the internet I texted Win (you have to know that Win is the best guide and that she took care of all of us during the week) - only to find out that I had to go straight to a dinner at the Sheraton hotel. This was actually a bit awkward as I was still dressed in a Juicy tracksuit but I have to admit that this situation makes a funny story - even though it didn’t really matter anyways as the evening program and the people where really nice and welcoming. It was a great night with a lot of traditional Chinese food and dances. When the group arrived at the hotel we decided to make a stop at a Chinese restaurant-bar so that we had a chance to get to know each other before the „real journey“ started. It was one of those traditional places where everybody would sit on their knees and drink Chinese beer and sake.
I felt really Jet-lagged in the morning (especially since the last night ended pretty late) when we arrived at the Tourism exhibition- Chinese dances, costumes and great music where a part of the fair. The exhibition promoted the „Chinese Winter-Wonderland“ that we would explore in the upcoming week. It was nice because we had the chance to get an idea of what was awaiting us in the following days. It was really cute (and surprising) how the locals asked us to take pictures with them while we where exploring the setting. Afterwards the group was navigated to a Ski-Resort close to the Songhual Lake.
I am from Germany where most people go skying once or twice a year and yet I have to admit that it was my second time ever visiting a Ski-area. The first time was in Canada and so I have to admit that I always think about Canada when I am anywhere close to snow. The gondola drive up to the highest point of the mountain was another highlight of that day.
The view up there - on Chinas snow landscape was truly unique and beautiful. Afterwards we went to a cool buffet/dinner place where we could choose food that the cooks on site would prepare for us. The day ended beautifully .We arrived at our hotel where we had the chance to relax at the on site hot springs. It was actually one of the most memorable nights of our trip. The group was sitting outside (-12 degrees) in 40 degree warm water while everything around us would be covered in snow. It was truly magical.
On the third day we had the chance to go and see another breathtaking place. I have to admit that I am not too sure if the place or the lake was called „Rime“. Jilin's Rime is one of China's four natural wonders. But the special thing about this place was that the outside temperature was colder then -20 degrees. Everything was frozen and you could barely walk because everything was frozen. Danger of falling down - which I did by the way) ,but the „lake“ was still floating. I still can’t believe that this is even possible. Afterwards we went to a minority village where we could walk around and take a look at the houses. Sadly we had not so much time! The problem was that we had to reach the next destination before the daylight would set around 4 pm.
We drove to the prettiest piece of earth that I have ever seen. Cuicanmingzhu is actually one of the most popular places for tourists in China. It was truly breathtaking. Before we reached the small city/village you could see an enormous Buddha up on a mountain. I did not realize the beauty right away since I was so tired (we stayed at the hot springs until 12) and Jet-lagged that I could barely hold my eyes open.
The closer we got to the village the more old Chinese gates and little buddhas you could see on the streets. When we drove around the last corner I was already so excited that I couldn’t wait to jump out of the bus! I am telling you guys, no picture could possibly capture this beauty. It was magical, breath taking and such a special place! And also one that I would never have had been able to see without my dear friend Jasmin (thank you so much for that opportunity my dear)
I will never forget this special trip. Sadly, we only had about 25 minutes before the daylight would fade and so we had about 5 minutes to enjoy the view from „down there“ (if you look at the pictures you will see that the village is basically divided in 3 sections. The linking fraction was the „stair" that would start on top of the mountain where the Big Buddha was standing and would go down to where we stood. In-between was the village with all the Chinese architectures and colorful rooftops.) We entered the bus to drive up to the top where we could take a closer look at the Buddha (which is actually the seated highest one in the world.) It looks in the direction of the second biggest Buddha (the one in Hong Kong). After we had the chance to take a look at the inside of the Buddha we took off to eat dinner at a traditional Chinese Restaurant where I had the chance to try rice wine for the first time.
Day four was another great day even though I got quite sick during the day. Unfortunately my camera wouldn't work because of the outer temperature so it couldn't take any pictures. What a pity as the location was beautiful! We walked up a beautiful snow path trying to reach a nearby lake. Sadly, Laura and I didn’t make it to the lake since the way took approximately 4 hours. Anyways, we took two hours to enjoy the beautiful landscape and talk a little bit about the beautiful places that we have been able to see during the last four days. Since the daylight was about to set we drove up to the hotel right after our trip to rest a little bit and have another chance to enjoy another local hot spring. I got so sick during the day that I decided to skip the hot spring and enjoy my beautiful hotel room instead .
Todays plan was to drive up a mountain to see a waterfall on top of it. Unfortunately we couldn't see the well-known waterfall as a snow storm appeared right before we arrived. The storm got so bad that it felt as if we would be blown away any minute, but even that was a unique experience.
We found shelter at a „tourist spot“ where we drunk green tea and ate Chinese snickers while we bought a couple of presents to bring back home. Afterwards we ate dinner at a restaurant on the mountain before we made our way to another magical place. The first thing I saw was a beautiful cabinet surrounded by huge stones with Chinese letters on them. The landscape was truly gorgeous.
When we entered the nearby forest we could see swings that would hang from the trees, wooden houses and other exciting little places/spots! It was a little bit like a fairytale snow world. Before the daylight faded we made it to the last stop of the day. A lake where we had the chance to try wild-water diving (for the first time!). It was pretty cold (even though we had special clothes on) but we had so much fun that we almost forgot the temperature. My friend Laura and I were the second group left into the water but still the last one arriving .
Sometimes life saves the best moments for the last day. Even though it is hard to pick a „best day“ when all 7 days have been so unforgettable. The drive back into town took longer as we expected so we had to cancel the last trip. Instead we decided to explore downtown Changchun with the group. I have to admit that the last hotel was beyond great. I would say that it was my favorite one. The rooms where really modern but with many traditional Chinese features. Outside of the hotel it looked/felt as if you would be walking trough the streets of a comic town. Before we drove with a taxi into town we made a last stop at a hot pot restaurant. I have to admit that I have never heard anything about „hot pots“ before, so that I was very curious.
You are sitting in the restaurant as you usually would, but the difference is that there is a pot with two different liquids in the middle of the table (it has a little bit of a yin/yang shape). You can choose between different vegetables, sauces and also meat that you cook inside of the liquids (one spicy one normal). I guarantee you that it tastes delicious.
It was really a fun goodbye night. Live music, dancing, talking. I would call it a perfect ending of a perfect trip. Thank you for that great experience. I am grateful and also happy to say that China has been one of the best places that I have ever seen in my life. The culture, the people, the nature - truly beautiful and worth a trip.