The exciting city of Changchun lies right in the centre of north-eastern China’s Songliao Plai, and its semi-wet humid continental monsoon type climate means that temperatures can vary greatly over the course of the year. There are four distinct seasons in Changchun, and summer from June to August is peak season with July temperatures reaching about 23°C. Flights are more expensive during this time, particularly in late August when the Changchun China Film Festival brings many visitors from China and further afield.
Winter is long and cold, and January temperatures can be as low as -15°C. However, this is also a popular time to visit as the Changchun Jingyuetan Ice & Snow Festival is held every winter. Changchun’s proximity to the bustling ski resort of Jinyuetan which is just 9 miles away means that it’s an excellent base for winter sports fans, and flight prices in winter reflect this.
It is cheaper to visit in shoulder season periods like March or April or low season from November to December, but bargain flights to Changchun can be found at any time of year.
Pack warm clothing for visits to Changchun from September to April, and lighter clothing for June to August. It is still worth packing a warmer jacket or long sleeved clothing as warm summer days are short in Changchun.
Changchun is a very beautiful city, and though it is relatively young at just 200 years old in Chinese terms there is still much to see. The city was invaded by the Japanese who colonised it and made it capital of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. See reminders of the Imperial Japanese occupation of Changchun such as the magnificent New Palace of the Emperor of Manchukuo in Wenhua Square, or visit the Puppet Imperial Palace which used to be home to Pu Yi, the last emperor of China and puppet emperor of Manchukuo.
There is much more to Changchun that its impressive history and culture and it is also the heart of the Chinese automobile industry. Look for cheap flights for the Changchun International Automobile Fair which is held in either July or August every two years.
Nature is a big feature of life in Changchun and as well as being known as the ‘City of Spring’, its name means long spring which is a reference to its mild, cool summers. It’s also called the forest city, and Changchun is a terrific choice for those who like fresh air and outdoor pursuits. South Lake is one of the most popular destinations for locals and visitors and this huge Changchun park has boating on the lake in summer and ice skating in winter.
Art lovers will be in their element and as well as galleries and museums with every type of work, the Changchun International Sculpture Expositions is a big attraction. The bi-annual film festival is also a big draw, and when you add shopping, nightlife there is something for everyone in Changchun. If you don’t mind the weather Changchun is a delightful choice at any time.
It is very easy to get around the centre of Changchun on foot thanks to its well-planned layout. There are lots of bus services which cover the entire city, but these can prove difficult to use for anyone who doesn’t read Chinese. There is a bus which travels a circular route that covers most tourist attractions such as Hongqi Street, Chongqing Road, Guilin Road, the train station and the zoo. Taxis are cheap and favoured by many visitors and they charge a very fair set rate. It is very unusual to be overcharged but drivers will often offer empty seats to others going in the same direction. There is a light rail service that covers the centre of the city and also a tram network. Alternatively, three wheel taxis operate from near Changchun university, or you can catch a ride on a motorcycle in some areas.
Changchun Longjia International Airport (CGQ) is just 18 miles (29 km) east of the city and there is a regular shuttle bus service to People’s Square in the centre of the city and the journey takes around 45 minutes. Taxis are easily available from outside the terminal and although it is a set fare many ask for slightly more to take you into Changchun. Don’t barter, either pay what is being asked or simply take the bus.