Spent most of yesterday at Jingyuetan 净月潭 to checkout the place during the summer months. I’ve been there many times during the winter, to go skiing and do other winter activities but haven’t really been there during the summer. It’s totally different, completely unrecognisable from the winter when the lake is frozen over and covered in snow.
It’s a big place, too big really to explore on foot so hiring a bike is a must. For me, what I liked most about this place, is that first times in ages I was somewhere where I could see no other people, hear no traffic noise and not breath fumes! Well worth it if only for this.
You’re meant to pay to go in, but as some local friends told me, don’t do this. 30 yuan is a little expensive, It’s much easier to find a well trodden path and climb through one of the many holes in the fence. 🙂
In terms of scenery it’s nice but compared to other places I have been not so spectacular, It’s a little like a poor man’s Scottish loch. It is man made, and designated a national forest park, apparently the largest man made forest in Asia. I can believe this as it stretches as far as the eye can see but you can still see cranes and construction going on in the distance.
It may be considered a national park but that doesn’t mean people can’t build here,
it just means they have to pay off more people, and so even here there is construction of real estate going on. I hope that as the city develops, this area isn’t destroyed or over commercialised – like the rest of Changchun.
There is one very strange looking tower perched on a hill in the park. It’s 11 floors high and looks like something out of star trek, very modern and alien looking – I was half expecting to see alien spaceships landing docking on the roof!
From here you can go to the top and get a very good vantage point over the lake and the city, cost 5 yuan but worth it.
What I like about China is that there are huge freedoms here to do what ever you please that do not exist in the UK, this may sound strange as many outside think China is not a free country. Compared to the UK, in terms of getting on with my life, doing what I want to do there is no contest. The state does not intervene with anything I do, It has a very hands off approach – Just don’t touch politics. On this strange tower there were a few people who climbed over a very low railing and were walking around the outside of the building. In the UK, if they fell and died, there would be all sorts of legal trouble – the owners of the building would prbably be liable despite the people clearly knowing what they were dong.
Here, the attitiude is more along the lines of using common sense. If you really want to risk your life, it’s your choice, If you hurt yourself it’s your fault for being idiots in the first place so don’t try and pin blame on somebody else!
The lake is much easier to get to than before, as that the light rail now goes all the way there. The whole Jingyue zone is being rapidly developed, It’s changed so much since the last time I was down there. The local govenment has made the area an economic development zone, which basically means there are tax incentives for things to relocate out there. There’s so much construction, especially of apartments and houses for the super well-off. Some really nice places, though to realistically live out here you’d need your own transport – especially during the winter as it’s a good 40 mins from the centre of town.
In common with other cities in China, many of the universities in Changchun have also relocated out of town (to jingyue) where there is more space and room for expansion. They’re trying to create a ‘college town’ where all of the unis are close to one another, the idea being they can create a good environment for academia- the downside being there’s nothing much to do in terms of entertainment and it’s so far from anywhere.