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  • Writer's pictureAnja

Chinese Snow Town

For a few days we went to THE Chinese snow village.

Here is the Google Location

How did we find this? Denny checked his weather app to see where there was still snow! Here in Changchun it had last snowed in December and since the climate here is so dry, the snow "evaporates" despite the continuous minus temperatures.

So we booked a hotel room, packed our travel bags, loaded the skis into the roof box and drove 5 hours in a north-easterly direction.

However, what was not mentioned on the navi or in the hotel description, the village is car-free!

So after 5 hours of driving we stood only about 2 km from our hotel in front of a barrier. And the barrier staff wanted to open this partout not.

We were waved into a parking lot and with the telephone support of a Chinese colleague of Denny, we were told that we had to collect our things from the car, go through a gate, get on a bus and then walk the rest.

Our mood barometer had gone from "happy, we're finally here" to about the outside temperature of -17 degrees.

After showing our green arrow (proof of where we have been for the last 14 days), the green QR code, taking our temperature, checking our passports 3x, presenting the PCR tests we had taken a day earlier, and entering our data into a chart, we were let into the waiting area. (I would not have been surprised if the officials would have wanted a pee sample from us as well...).

In the hall we had to pay entrance fee for the village and also for the bus, which we actually did not want to use. Together 240,00 rmb (about 35,00€).

We then waited for the bus with our 2 travel bags, 2x cross country skis and poles, 2 backpacks and 2 shoulder bags. The kites we have due to lack of space on our backs and lack of arms, we have each only two, left in the car.

The whole junk we have then dragged into the bus, which came after about 15 minutes.

At the entrance to the town, the bus driver stopped and explained to us with hands and feet and also very loudly in Chinese that we should walk from here.

With me the mood was anyway already in the cellar, thus already in front at the barrier. I would have gone home again. My frustration I can not unload due to lack of Chinese knowledge with the appropriate people and that annoys me even more.

With Denny it took a little longer. But at the latest when the unfriendly bus driver wanted to drop us off at the entrance to the town, Denny's last nerves were at an end. Maybe it's sometimes a good thing that people don't understand us, because what followed the request to us was definitely not suitable to de-escalate the situation.......

Again, Denny's colleague on the phone had to provide assistance. She was able to persuade the bus driver to take us a little further into the village. A whole 400 meters further! (there was no cheering for the bus driver!).

From there we had to walk. Packed like donkeys we trudged through the snow in search of our accommodation. Since everything is written in Chinese, not so easy. You look at the reservation picture and hope that the hotel really looks like that ;)

Of course, we first stood in the wrong hotel. The receptionist also looked quite surprised, but after a short phone call he put a jacket over his pajamas, (did I mention that we arrived in the afternoon?) and led us to our accommodation.

The welcome and check-in at our hotel were very pleasant and uncomplicated, we have already been completely screened. But also our hotel boss wore pajamas. White-grey-light blue plaid with a collar.

We were allowed to choose a room on the south side and recovered from our odyssey. Since we had already made the experience before and knew that it is probably difficult in such remote corners with food that I also like, we were prepared so far that we had pasta with Bolognese, fruit, snacks, water, milk, coffee and a bottle of dry red wine. On the survived stress we first had a little sip of red wine. The whole procedure, the last 2 km, took us about 2 hours.

Shortly before the sun set behind the mountains, we were able to get up again for the first round through the village.

Many guests were not present at the time, so we were almost alone on the streets. Most of the houses were dark, illuminated from the outside as dusk set in.

The snow on most roofs is not cleared down, so you can see how many layers it has snowed and how thick the snow is.

The next morning Denny had to go first after the Chinese breakfast, consisting of rice soup, yeast dumplings, corn and two plates of indefinable oily to the car to get his kite.

We have planned for this day a cross-country skiing tour. A total of 12 km. 6 km up the mountain and 6 back down.

In the time Denny skied to the car, I packed our backpacks. Some snacks, tea, drone and the thick snow suits. Up on the mountain it is supposed to be windy, so cold. At -6 ° degrees we are at the hotel under the big eyes of the hostel father, he had never seen cross-country skiers.

There are no cross-country ski trails here, neither in Changchun nor in the snow village. At least we couldn't discover any so far. And the reaction of our hostel leader, by the way he was wearing again the same maybe (?), pajamas, let us conclude that it is rather unusual to go cross-country skiing also in the snow village.

The path uphill had already been cleared and a car had also been on the way. We used the tire tracks. Went super. However, with several breaks. We first had to figure out who needed how many clothes, which or no hat and gloves. It was in the sun but already nice warm and also the backpack on the back has warmed. And the movement anyway.

Shortly before the summit, we put on our warm and windproof ski suits, all gloves and hats. At the top, there were no trees to keep the wind out.

After we booted up to the highest point, looked at all the corners and Denny tried to kite with cross-country skiers, it does not really go well, we decided to take the same way back. Uphill was already exhausting, but downhill sliding is also exciting. Both of us took a long time until we got the hang of it. My belly flop we have even on video

Arrived at our hut we had an isotonic cold drink in the sun and an early dinner. For the evening we had planned another walk. At the edge of the village there is a wooden path that is illuminated in the evening. Almost deserted and very atmospheric. We then had to realize that the path is not lit everywhere. After a few hundred meters in the dark we turned around. For so much adventure in the evening I was not brave enough.

We then tackled the wooden path again the next morning. This time, except for a few employees who shoveled the way free, no other people were on the road. Stair step by stair step we worked our way up. Through the trudging in the snow you can only hear the crunch of the steps. But if we stopped, we heard birds chirping. And on the way up there were also lots of animal tracks in the snow. During the cross-country skiing tour we were always on the lookout for them, but we didn't see anything except for a single hare track.

At the top we were greeted by a wooden lookout tower with a speaker. In the middle of the forest. In a volume that one rings the ears. Denny was the first to pull the plug. But after our break he fixed it again ;)

The view point was about the same height as the mountain from the day before.

Every few hundred meters there were huts made of wood. Mostly very filigree built, only with a few nails. A few even had movable shutters.

Behind a more solidly built hut we have startled something small furry. What exactly it was we do not know, but that was then also not further interesting, because by our emergence the furry has departed and thereby an owl has become attentive. After we were sitting in the snow for a few minutes we got cold and went on.

We tried to take a picture of her. Here our search picture.

Slowly it was time to start the way back to Changchun. So back to the hotel, quickly conjure up a lunch, try to stow our 7 things as portable as possible, catch a bus and get to our car.

This time we had a super nice bus driver. He even knew a little English.

Then at the barrier there was another surprise:

To be allowed to leave the village, the officials wanted to see another Corona test. We held ours from the entry under their nose, which was of course older than 48 hours. The official noticed it too, but you can try it...

After a short discussion with the support of the cell phone translator, he let us out and to our car. Here we still had to pay parking fee. (remember, we did not want to go to the parking lot).

Suddenly we were in a hurry to get out of the parking lot, who knows what else they might think of...

After we then at the really last barrier, in the middle of nowhere, had to stop again, because also here some code should be shown, we were allowed to make our way home. Since there was no internet in the middle of nowhere, we couldn't show a code. And the guards didn't want to get into a discussion with us Laoweis. Although they were curious. More and more men came out of the guards' house. At the end I think 6 men stood outside and looked at us. One of them took pity on us and opened the barrier after I tried to tell him in Chinese that we wanted to go straight home to Changchun.

Our conclusion:

After feeling like we were about to break into Fort Knox, our short vacation turned out to be very nice and interesting after all. We have rarely seen such a blue sky and such white, glistening snow. The snowy landscape, even in the village is pristine. Which is certainly largely due to the signs, which are posted everywhere. Every 10 meters a sign tells you to stay on the path, not to touch the snow and not to throw your trash around. Also the almost car-free was finally very pleasant. Only the buses roared through the village and honked you off the road.

For the coming winter we have already thought about coming back. And this time we are forewarned ;)

Our coffee and milk we have to pack again, but the emergency noodles can stay at home, the dinner in hotel was namely very tasty.

Greetings from Changchun

Anja & Denny

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