I promised a good friend during a recent weekend in far north China that I write an article on this trip – here.
Wudalianchi (五大连池), which means “five large lakes linked”, actually refers to a volcanic region of northern China, Heilongjiang Province, where the last eruption dates back to the 18th century (1719-1721). There are a dozen volcanic cones and lava flows appear to have helped delineate five lakes interconnected.
I will not dwell on the technical and scientific aspects of the site (see specialized sites like here and there), but only on the tourism aspect.
There are almost no information in French or English on the website from travelers, and stories of Chinese tourists do not necessarily correspond to what we want as a tourist abroad. There are many Russian tourists in the region, but they are especially for spa treatments, a real business is being developed around volcanic waters (but very cold water!). They do not really come to visit, and then all the way Russians are stories out of my reach …
In short, Wudalianchi is a site actually quite interesting, but do not require more than a day of sightseeing. Its great distance from the main urban and tourist Chinese does not justify going there for the weekend from Beijing or later (unless it is to see a friend …).
Where is Wudalianchi?
halfway between Harbin and Heihe in Heilongjiang Province.
1500 km northeast of Beijing
2000 km northeast of Handan … (Hard for a weekend … but doable!)
How to get there?
from Harbin, 5-6 hours by train to Bei’an (Wudalianchi station is barely closer than Bei’an website, but spend less trains) and then by bus or taxi from station
from Heihe, 4-5 hours by train (same train). But unless you are on a long trip in Heilongjiang Mohe or return (the extreme northern Chinese) there is little reason to get there …
How to get around / on-site visit?
the easiest way is to hire a taxi for the day since Bei’an. We must get out to 200 RMB (we paid 100 RMB for the ride of one hour between the site and then Bei’an 150 RMB for the day there, but for a single day with return to Bei’an in the evening it must pass 200).
Otherwise, there are few taxis there, but not necessarily when you leave a site.
What to do there?
There are dozens of paid sites to visit, but objectively, to get ourselves visited 4 or 5, only the main site Laoheishan worth. We walk an hour on the volcano, the view is beautiful, there is an electric bus that takes us one hour in the middle of lava fields and lakes … We do not regret the ticket (80 + 25 = 105 RMB, prices in August 2012).
Otherwise, access to sources of two dragons (双 龙泉 if my memory is correct) is free, you can buy souvenirs (the most common being the beauty masks, water-based and other local volcanic) and fill the bottles of spring water drinking directly
In short, if I had been better informed in advance, I just hired a taxi in the morning arriving at the station Bei’an, Laoheishan visited, toured the two sources to dragons, and would be returned to the evening at Bei’an to take a train and have a day to spend in Heihe. Fans!