Situated along the border of China and Korea, Yanji is the seat of the Yanbian Prefecture. A town with a relatively small population of just 400,000, Yanji has gained prominence as a transport hub between neighbors North Korea and China. Largely unpopulated until the 1800s, Yanji switched hands between the Japanese and Chinese during the world war. In the geographical context, Yanji is surreptitiously surrounded by mountain ranges that are home to small farming communities.
Tip: Given that Yanji sits right at the border, it’s no surprise that locals speak Korean as well as Mandarin Chinese. It’s hard to get by with just English in the small town. Make sure you also read up on Korean traditions and customs so that you don't offend anyone unknowingly.
Getting to Yanji:
Yanji Chaoyangchuan International Airport (PEN) serves the city and handles about 1.5 million passengers each year. Direct flights to Yanji are available on a daily basis to most major Chinese cities and Seoul. If you are looking for cheap flights to Yanji, try booking Air Busan, Easter Jet, or T’way Air. Major international carriers that operate flights to Yanji include China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Shandong Airlines, and Korean Air.
Tip: The airport is relatively small and offers just the basic amenities.
Getting around Yanji:
To get to the city from the airport, you can take taxis. Minibuses and normal buses may also be available but might not offer the convenience Taxis are the most convenient way to travel in the small town.
Tip: Note that Facebook, Twitter, and Google are not allowed in China. Have your VPN ready,
While in Yanji:
Yanji offers eclectic experiences for all ages. Within the city, the experiences are limited although there’s much to do around town as a scenic destination.
Yanji City: The most notable attraction in Yanji is Yanbian University. One of the top universities of China, the institute celebrates ethnic minorities of China. The campus offers forested hills for a casual stroll. You can also visit Yanji Park, featuring a zoo that is home to rare creatures like the Siberian tiger, sika deer, peacocks, and swans. The park is home to ancient trees and offers unparalleled views of the city. To catch performances over the weekends, head down to Youth Square.
Maoershan National Forest Park: A special reserve area that’s home to indigenous species, the forested region is a nice getaway from city life. Make sure you check out the natural observation deck that offers views of the Buerhatong River and Hailan River.
Gardens: Known as the waterfall gardens colloquially, the Yanji Botanic gardens offer a small respite from city life. You can also visit the Tropical Spice Garden, an 8-acre valley along the shores that features plants from around the world.
Mengdumei Ski Resort: Located in Chunxing Village, the resort town is fully equipped with double chairlifts, supporting ropeways, cable cars, magic carpets, and more. As it is located in the Yanji Small Basin, the place is especially suited for skiing with perfect temperature and humidity. It is also worth a visit to enjoying the views in the many lounges, cafes, and restaurants. Moreover, hot springs are also available in the region for a relaxing time with family and friends.
Culture: To soak into the ethnicity of the region, visiting the Yanbian Museum is a must, You can learn all about local history here. Tombstones, murals, relics, artifacts, and more, the area showcases the cultural adaptations of this border town. Korean Folk Culture Experience Hall is also a recommended visit. The recreated Korean Folk Village also offers an eclectic experience for tourists. Here you can witness customs, cultural experiences, art, and more along the Korean Folk Street.
The Great Wall: Remnants of the great wall are present to the north of Yanji city. It is strategically situated along the ridges of Shuangfend and Pingfeng Mountain. A relatively well-preserved section is present in Guanchan Village.
Yanji is most noted as the gateway to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, aka North Korea. Ruled by dynastic dictatorship, foreign visits to the state are highly restricted, making the journey just that much more interesting. You can arrange visa-free travel for 1-4 days and take a guided tour in the city of Rason through some British operators running in Yanji. Make sure you are well-prepared for the journey and follow all the rules that the operators inform you. You may end up in a soup if you flout the rules here. It is recommended that you read the previous traveler’s experiences before you take this on yourself.
Yanji’s Korean influence is most visible in its food. The city is famous for its pine mushrooms, cold noodles, and Sheinjitang. Sweet-spicy is the preferred menu here. You will also be able to find Korean BBQ restaurants with ease. Of course, there are also western options. Coffee and tea are popular drinks here, and you’ll find many cafés around town.
You may be surprised to know that the city is famed for its underground beatboxing scene. Karaoke bars are a dime a dozen here.
Luxury hotels in Yanji can be found along the main arteries of the city, especially in the central Henan Street area. Good 4 and 5 star rated hotels will cost you anywhere between $35 and $45 depending on the time of travel. You can also find one or two along the periphery of the city. You can choose these locations if you prefer a quieter stay but may have to spend more time in transit. Budget accommodations are scattered throughout the city and are highly concentrated in the CBD. Most 2 and 3-star accommodations average between $10 and $20 per night, subject to availability.
Tip: While you’re backpacking out here, you may not be able to stay at all hotels if you are a foreigner. ‘Inns’ are generally not open to foreigners, but ‘Hotels’ and ‘Motels’ are.
As a small town with restricted Internet access, pre-planning your trip becomes highly crucial to ensure everything functions smoothly. Trip.com’s 24-hour customer service will be especially handy when you visit Yanji. You can personalize your itinerary on the use-friendly app or site. With easy sort and filter options, flight details and options are easy to find. Moreover, you can also book passes to attractions prior to landing. Foreigners are usually charged extra in stays at Yanji. To avail discount offers, book flights to Yanji along with hotel reservations. Moreover, you can also ensure your stay is safe in the city by checking online reviews on the site. World-class service that goes above beyond to ensure a hassle-free journey for you, Trip.com won’t fail to impress.
For a trip that combines scenic adventure and cultural sojourns, visit Yanji with Trip.com.