Day 6: Jing Po Lake & Diao Shui Lou Ice Waterfall

What we would be seeing for the day

Today we had two sights to visit, they both were located near to MuDanJiang. The first was winter fishing (冬捕) at JingPo Lake (镜泊湖) and the second was a frozen waterfall, DiaoShuiLou (吊水楼) Waterfall at JingPo Lake. We had seen fascinating pictures of both sights and were eagerly looking forwards to seeing/experiencing them in person.

JingPo Lake (镜泊湖)

From our hotel to JingPo Lake was about 100 km and the journey took about about 1.5 hour. We ate our breakfast early and left the hotel at about 7.30 am heading toward JingPo Lake.

Route to JingPo Lake
Route to JingPo Lake

Again our guides advised us to wear as many layers as we could because it would be freezing at the lake. Around the lake there would be no shelter and we would be exposed to the cold wind.

We arrived at Jing Po Lake at about 9 am. It was a huge frozen lake. We walked on a long red carpet that started from bank of the lake. The carpet went going down some steps and extended out onto the lake surface all the way to a huge ship that was stuck in the frozen ice.

Jing Po Lake
Jing Po Lake

The ship was not our destination! The blue and red tent beside/before the ship was our destination. It was a waiting tent for us to hide from the wind before we departed to the “winter fishing” event. We were bore staying in the tent so we came up to explore. It was fascinating to walk on the frozen lake surface. We could see from the crack lines that the layer of ice was very thick probably one meter in thickness. Sadly the ice was not crystal clear, it had a greyish tint.

"Monkeying" around on the lake surface
“Monkeying” around on the lake surface

Finally after waiting for about 30 minutes we were let through the gate and told to hop onto any of the several transfer vehicles to go out into the middle of the lake where the “winter fishing” event would take place. We scrambled onto a “banana” looking sledge (pulled by tractor) and off we went further into the middle of the lake.

Transfer vehicles on the lake
Transfer vehicles on the lake

The lake was huge. It was formed about 10,000 years from a volcanic erruption that blocked the flow of MuDanJiang River creating a lake. The length of the lake was about 45 km and the widest portion was only 6 km apart. We travelled quite some distance out before we arrived at the “winter fishing” location.

A ceremony before the raising of the net
A ceremony before the raising of the net

All the visitors were told to stand outside a huge circle marked by a red line. In the circle were “tribal dancers dancing”. Near the center of the circle was a hole which we could hardly see. We guessed that behind the pile of crushed ice would be the hole where the fishing would be done. Beside the hole was a table with a pig head on top.

A hole, a Pig Head, a ceremony
A hole, a Pig Head, a ceremony

After a while we saw a man offering “wine” (not sure to who) he poured the liquid onto the ice. Another man holding a microphone was talking but we could hardly hear him. My wild imagination told me that the dance, the pig head and the wine were offering to “god” for a bountiful fish harvest.

A short while later a group of men circled the hole and started to pull spiderly-web looking net out of the hole. We were expecting a huge catch but saw only one or two fish coming into sight. By the time the pulling was done there was not even more than 20 fish caught.

Winter fishing at Jing Po Lake
Winter fishing at Jing Po Lake

OH! What a huge disappointment. There was no huge hull at all. We were so looking forward to seeing tons and tons of fish being pulled up. But the catch was so disappointing. Had we come at the wrong time of the day, too early or too late? The whole “winter fishing” event was over in 30 minutes.

Ice scrulptures near the entrance of Jing Po Lake
Ice scrulptures near the entrance of Jing Po Lake
More "Monkeying" around at Jing Po Lake
More “Monkeying” around at Jing Po Lake

DiaoShuiLou Waterfall

DiaoShui Lou Waterfall was at the northern end of JingPo Lake. It was just a short drive to the entrance of the waterfall.

Entrance to JingPo Lake Northern side
Entrance to JingPo Lake Northern side

We went into a park and there we saw a huge circular waterfall in the middle. The waterfall was magnificient! The falling water was all frozen, it was hanging in the air. Then I knew the reason for the name of this waterfall, it was called DiaoShuiLou waterfall which translate to “Hanging Water from a Deck” waterfall.

DiaoShuiLou ( 吊水楼)  Waterfall
DiaoShuiLou ( 吊水楼) Waterfall

We followed a path which bordered the waterfall on the upper part until we reached a huge river that was the source of the waterfall. There was no bridge over the river so our exploration stopped here and we backtracked. We explored the other end of the path that led us down to the lower part of the fall. The view of the waterfall from bottom up was also very awesome.

DiaoShuiLou ( 吊水楼)  Waterfall
DiaoShuiLou ( 吊水楼) Waterfall

We were given only 45 minutes to explore DiaoShuiLou ( 吊水楼) Waterfall which was definitely not sufficient! Unlike us, many of our tour members spent their time exploring the upper part of the waterfall and did not venture down to the lower stretch of the waterfall due to the lack of time. What a shame!

DiaoShuiLou ( 吊水楼)  Waterfall
DiaoShuiLou ( 吊水楼) Waterfall

Lunch

Lunch was also around the vicinity of JingPo Lake. Our bus took us to a place where there were many restaurants and we were led into one. The highlight of our lunch was fish, fish that were caught from the JingPo Lake!

Lunch at JingPo Lake
Lunch at JingPo Lake

We usually did not eat Chinese fishes because from past experience they were full of bones and the meat also had a muddy taste. Unfortunately four of our dishes for lunch were fishes cooked in a variety of styles so if we skipped the fishes we would have to gave up half the food on the table.

I took a mouthful of fish meat, bit slowly and pulled out many tiny “Y” shape bones. Unfortunately the fish meat in my mouth still had too many unextractable tiny bones so I eventually spitted out the whole mess on a tissue paper and discarded it.

Back to Harbin

In the afternoon of Day 6 after lunch we were finally going back to Harbin. It would be a 5 hours bus ride over 410 km. The last three nights of our tour with Dynasty Travel woul dbe in Harbin City.

DiaoShuiLou Waterfall to Harbin
DiaoShuiLou Waterfall to Harbin

It was a “long long” bus ride back to Harbin. We made two toilet breaks along the way and by the time we reached Harbin the sky already darkened. Once we reached the outskirt of Harbin, the traffic jam started.

Terrible traffic condition in Harbin
Terrible traffic condition in Harbin

The traffic condition in Harbin city was very terrible. The vehicles were literally “crawling” slowly through the roads. We were on our way to a Korean restaurant for dinner. Korean dinner was a nice change.

Our Korean dinner in Harbin town
Our Korean dinner in Harbin town

Our Stay for 3 nights

We reached our stay for the next 3 nights at about 7.45 pm. Our hotel was Songbei Shangrila. There were two Shangrila in Harbin. Songbei Shangrila was the newer of the two but also the one further from the main town.

Our room at Shangrila
Our room at Shangrila

Our room was huge, it was on a high floor with a huge window. The room had a sleeping area, a small sitting area, a wardrobe area and a huge ensuite toilet. Shangrila was certainly luxurious.

Our ensuite bathroom/toilet at Shangrila
Our ensuite bathroom/toilet at Shangrila

Soon after we settled our bags into our room we were ready to return to the lobby to explore the hotel. The hotel was huge and there were plentiful of activities going on at the ground floor.

We were looking for a place for coffee and cakes and after looping around on the ground floor of the hotel we found a cosy and quiet cafe corner. We ordered three cups of cafe latte and lovely looking cakes and the bill came up to ¥ 219.

Coffee and cakes at Shangrila
Coffee and cakes at Shangrila

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