Changchun, China, the metropolis of Jilin province in the northeast, is the perfect travel destination for those who are looking to discover the region’s magical scenery and attractions. The city only switched hands from Japan in 1948, making it one of the youngest in China. But don’t let this young city fool you, Changchun has no shortage of exciting things to do and see, from the Changchun Sculpture Park to the local markets.
Changchun is one of the fastest growing cities in China, exploring it may seem overwhelming and confusing. Don’t fret, because we have you covered with some worldwide local tips to guide you in making the most of your visit.
Worldwide Local Tip: Though Changchun is pretty safe, as a visitor, you must be extra vigilant. Your lack of knowledge about the local culture can make you an easy target for con-artists. Watch out for popular scams like the teahouse scam, where a bunch of ill-willed locals will lure you to a non-existent teahouse for a “tea festival.” Falling for this setup will leave you paying an outrageous amount of money for tasting a few teas.
Changchun is made up of seven districts and three counties. If you’re looking to be at the heart of all the action, you are better off staying in the neighborhood of Chaoyang, which is at the urban core of Changchun. It features many of the city’s most popular attractions, including the South Lake Park and the Changchun Cultural Square. The Nanguan District isn’t too far away, containing the Peony Garden and the Changchun Huguo Prajna Temple.
Although most of the people living in Changchun are condensed, meaning the urban area is relatively compact, there are several ways to get around. The city buses may be loud and crowded but they will get you to almost any part of the city that you need. You might also overhear an argument between locals about the popular Changchun Yatai football team!
Worldwide Local Tip: When traveling by bus, pay attention to precisely what kind of coach it is. Buses that have only a driver typically cost around 1 Yuan ($0.14), but those that also have conductors make their prices based on the number of stops you travel.
When to Visit
With the changing Changchun weather, you can visit all year round, as the city offers different activities with each season. It is an ideal winter tourist destination because Changchun has some of the most beautiful ski resorts in China. The Beidahu, Jingyuetan, and Songhuahu ski resorts are fantastic places for ski lovers seeking fun and challenge.
Visit during the winter months if you want to take part in the Changchun Jingyuetan Ice & Snow Festival. The festival is a favorite for both locals and tourists alike, and during this period, almost all streets, parks, and plazas are decorated with vivid and exquisite ice and snow sculptures. The rime scenery, that results from winter, has been recognized as one of the four natural wonders of China. You can skate on the frozen lake or ride a motorcycle across if you are up for an adventure.
Worldwide Local Tip: In Changchun, ravel with sun protection as you can quickly get sunburned in the snow. The UV radiation can be more intense in mountainous regions, which means there is a higher risk of getting burned. Protect your skin by packing/wearing protective clothing, including a hat/beanie, using water-resistant sunscreen (at least SPF30+), and wearing sunglasses/goggles to protect your eyes.
Shopping in Changchun is very convenient as there is a market at almost every corner you turn. A unique item to the region includes ginseng, a popular sought after herbal remedy. Wild ginseng is rare; therefore, expect to pay a higher price. Changchun also has some of the best wood carvings, which would make a perfect gift for your friends and family back at home.
Worldwide Local Tip: Be prepared to haggle, as the shopkeepers will try to get you to pay the sticker price. Start at 50% to 75% off the sticker price. If the shopkeeper refuses your offer, try another seller. More often than not, if the shopkeeper really wants the sale, they will call after you.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Changchun is not without its charms, and the most significant selling point is its authenticity. As the city does not get many visitors from outside of China, it has succeeded in maintaining a genuine Chinese feeling, something you can enjoy as you explore it as a worldwide local.