This post has been a long time coming.
Ever since I moved to Changchun, I couldn’t wait to write about this new city which today I call my home.
And even though Changchun might not have the same pull as neighbouring Beijing or Shanghai, it is still a place with a few charms and things to see.
And that is why I will always say that “Changchun is good enough”.
Changchun is the capital of the Jilin province in China. It is located in the northeast part of China, about 5 hours from the border with North Korea. It’s name means “long spring”, although locals will tell you that it should be renamed to “long winter” due to its dry and cold winters. Changchun experiences all four seasons during the year.
With a population of over 7.5 million people and only about 200 years of history, Changchun is a relatively small and young city by Chinese standards. Because of this and other factors, Changchun does not pack much in terms of attractions.
However that doesn’t mean that Changchun is without its charms. After all, Changchun is really good enough…..maybe good enough for a day or two, but good enough. So if you happen to be pass by Changchun, make sure you spend some time and visit any of these sights of Changchun:
Jingyuetan Lake National Forest Park
Changchun’s best natural attraction is Jingyuetan Park; with over 4 square kilometers of water and 80 square kilometers of forest, Yingyuetan Park is the best place to go to get away from the hustle of the city. In winter, Jingyuetan Park hosts the snow sculpture exhibition of Changchun.
As you step inside the park, you are greeted by statues of popular characters from both western and Asian culture. As you keep walking inside the park you discover a massif pond and a green lush artificial forest.
As with anything, the best views are from the top. Head up the stairs on the southwest part of the park for a view of Jingyuetan’s main reservoir. You can take the park’s bus or rent a bike to tour the massif 4 K² lake.
To get to the park, take the line 3 Light Rail towards Changying Shiji Cheng, and get off at Jingyue Gongyuan station. The park is on the other side of the intersection, and it costs 30¥ to get in.
Puppet Emperor’s Palace
The Museum of the Imperial Palace of the Manchu State could very well be the only historical attraction in Changchun. The palace served as the residence of the last emperor of China (Puyi) during the Japanese Puppet State of Manchukuo.
You can walk through the different buildings of the palace, and admire many of the rooms that served as both residence and office to the emperor. Although you should not expect to see anything mind-blowing, the palace is definitely worth a visit. Of especial interest are the two gardens, one on each side of the palace.
To learn more about the history of northeast China and about the Japanese occupation, head to the museum, which is situated outside of the palace within the same complex. Although most of the signs and pictures are depicted in Chinese, it still gives a good idea of what the occupation from the Japanese was like, and the revolution of the Chinese to end it.
To get to the palace, take the line 4 Light Rail towards Changchun Railway Station North, and get off at Weihuanggong station. The entrance to the complex and the long walk towards the ticket office is on the left side once you get off the railway station.
Changchun Children’s Park
if Changchun has one thing in abundance, it is parks. For a city where traffic and people abound, it is one that still has many green spaces throughout the city. In the middle of which is Nanhu Park.
A big park with a beautiful lake adorn the center of this bustling city. During the week, the park is both busy with the many passers-by coming and going before and after work, and quiet as the sound of leaves from trees caught in the wind make you forget that you are in the middle of a city.
The park is home to Children’s Park, an amusement park themed area with a few small but interesting rides. Especially the Ferris wheel from which you can catch a bird’s eye view of the city.
On Sundays, the park comes alive with dancers dancing to the sound of Yangko beats and wearing colorful costumes.
To get to Nanhu park, take the line 1 Light Rail and get off at Ertonggongyuan station. The park is quite centered and is hard to miss, just look up for a giant Ferris wheel.
World Sculpture Park
Located in the southern part of Changchun, the World Sculpture Park houses over 450 sculptures created by 400 sculptures from around the world.
The sculptures found throughout the park are supposed to represent “friendship and a hope for peace”. What is most impressive about these is the different styles found in many of them.
There is an art gallery adjacent to the park, which also displays various types of sculptures from around the world.
The Real Charm of Changchun
Changchun is not without its charms, but what I like the most about this city is its authenticity.
As the city does not see many visitors from outside of China, Changchun has succeeded at maintaining a true Chinese feeling (and the prices that come with it).
And although it may be hard to get around because of the lack of English in its sign and its people, it still provides a magnificent real-China experience for those coming to visit.
What do you think of the sights of Changchun?