JILIN (吉林, jílín) must go down as one of China’s least-visited provinces, and its two main cities have an air of neglect about them (as even locals will confess). The region bore the brunt of Japanese, Russian and Chinese communist planning more than anywhere in China: during the twentieth century, Jilin’s vast deposits of coal and iron ore transformed the area into a network of sprawling industrial hubs.

Today, things are on the up: roads have been improved, the rail network is thorough and easy to use, most hotels are delighted to see foreigners, and winter brings low-cost skiing and sledding. The provincial capital, Changchun, boasts the Puppet Emperor’s Palace memorializing Puyi’s reign as “emperor” of the Japanese state Manchukuo; while Jilin city is famed for the ice-coated trees that line its riverfront in winter, and ski resorts on the outskirts of town. Popular with both domestic and South Korean tourists is the Changbai Shan Nature Reserve, a swath of mountain and forest scenery along the North Korean border in the far east of the province; for independent foreign travellers, however, the area is a little tricky (and costly) to get around.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
7 Chinese street foods you need to try

7 Chinese street foods you need to try

Thanks to China’s sheer enormity, travelling through the country is as much a tastebud odyssey as it is a history lesson. And eating your way around the stre…

05 Oct 2017 • Aimee White insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook