The 14 best places to visit in Heilongjiang Province
In the extreme east of the province, on Heiziazi Island close to the border with Russia is the Dongji Pagoda, also known as the East Pagoda. Measuring 81 metres (266 ft) tall, this 9 storey pagoda, where few tourists venture, represents China's most easterly point.
14. Dongji Pagoda
Opened in 2015 in the provincial capital, the city of Harbin, is the Harbin Grand Theatre, otherwise known as the Harbin Opera House. Covered in white aluminium panels, the centrepiece of Harbin's cultural Island is a majestic piece of architecture in an otherwise bleak landscape. Said to resemble a thundering snow drift or a hyper stylish traditional yurt, it has also been said to resemble a melted Sydney Opera House.
13. Harbin Grand Theatre
In the most extreme northerly point in China, a rivers width from the border with Russia is the small village of Beijicum, modelled on Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland, it is the official home of Santa Claus in China. Fiercely cold in winter with the temperature frequently dropping below -40 °C, the summer can bring temperatures above 40 Celsius. Whatever the weather in Beijicum, Christmas is celebrated every day.
Built in the year 2000 in the provincial capital, Harbin, is the Dragon Tower, sometimes known as the Heilongjiang Tower or Long Ta. With a height of 336 metres (1,102 ft) it is the tallest freestanding lattice tower in China and the second tallest in the world. From its observation deck some 216 metres (709 ft) above the ground it offers visitors a fantastic view over the city of Harbin.
11. Dragon Tower
North east from the provincial capital, Harbin, located around the southern slopes of the Xiao Xing'anling is the 141 square kilometre (54 square mile) Wuying National Forest Park, the largest preserve of virgin Korean pine forests in the world. As well as paths leading through areas of ancient forest and around lakes, attractions for visitors also include pagodas, viewing platforms and designated bathing locations.
10. Wuying National Forest
In the extreme south of the province, close to the border with China's Jilin Province is Jingpo Lake, the most well known lake in Heilongjiang. Famous for its craggy limestone cliffs similar to those found in Guillin, it is also home to forty types of fish among the turquoise waters and freshwater coral. The lakes most famous attraction is the 40 metre (131 ft) Diaoshuilou Waterfall, which freezes solid during the extreme winters.
9. Jingpo Lake
North east from the provincial capital, Harbin, close to the border with Russia is the relatively small 60 square kilometre (23 square mile) Maolangou National Forest Park, a natural scenic zone regarded to be a provincial beauty spot. Home to unusual topographical features and strange rock formations, the landscape is one of craggy mountains, sheer cliffs, large forests and crystal clear waterfalls.
8. Maolangou National Forest Park
Built in 1923 in the provincial capital, Harbin, is the Jile Temple, otherwise known as the 'Temple Of Bliss'. One of the four famous Buddhist temples of northeastern China, the complex contains the Heavenly King Hall, the Hall Of Mahavira, the Hall Of Three Saints, the Scriptures Storing Tower and a large golden Buddha statue. The most dominating structure of the site is the seven storey pagoda, measuring over 30 metres (98 ft) tall this elegant building is beautifully decorated across every level.
7. Jile Temple
In the south of the province, north from the city of Mudanjiang is the 80 square kilometre (31 square mile) Sandaoguan National Forest Park, an area known for its rocky mountains, lakes and large forests. Home to a large number of animal species that includes black bears, the forest is considered a place for all seasons, from the blooming flowers in spring, the golden and red leaves of autumn and the white snowy world of winter.
6. Sandaoguan National Forest Park
East from the provincial capital, Harbin, within the beautiful natural surroundings of the Jiguan Mountains is the Jiguan Mountains Scenic Area, a wonderful area of forests and mountains. With its easy access mountain trails taking visitors to vista points over the forest, it is definitely one of the most scenic hiking locations in Heilongjiang Province.
5. Jiguan Mountains Scenic Area
North east from the provincial capital, Harbin, between Wuying Forest Park and Maolangou National Forest Park is Tangwanghe National Park, the first designated protected national park in China. At its heart is the Stone Forest Scenic Area, a terrain famous for its dense pine forests, lakes, streams and unusual rock formations.
4. Tangwanghe National Park
Directly north of the provincial capital, Harbin, is the Wudalianchi Geopark, defined by its picturesque volcanic landscape. Made up of mountains and forest, the scenery is known for its five large interlinking lakes and ancient lake topped volcanoes. Highlights of the park include the Laohei Shan and Shi Hai volcanoes, as well as the Zhongling Temple with its Buddha statues and amazing views.
3. Wudalianchi Geopark
Built in the year 1907 in the provincial capital, Harbin, is the former Russian Orthodox church, the Cathedral Of The Holy Wisdom Of God, better known as the Saint Sophia Cathedral of Harbin. Today operating as an Art Museum, this fantastic Byzantine Revival styled cathedral is the most famous single landmark in the city.
2. Saint Sophia Cathedral
First established in 1963 in the provincial capital, Harbin, is the annual winter event known as the Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival, the largest ice and snow festival in the world. Officially starting on January 5th when the Siberian winter wind can bring the temperature down to a bone chilling -35 °C, ice sculptures are erected throughout the city with the largest exhibitions focused around Sun Island. With full size illuminated buildings made out of enormous ice blocks, and unique ice structures erected every year, these temporary cities of ice make for a most fantastic sight.