Introducing Wǔdàlián Chí
Wǔdàlián Chí is a nature reserve about 250km northwest of Hāěrbīn that has been turned into a ‘volcano park’. In summer the area’s mineral springs draw busloads of tourists, including many Russians, to slurp the allegedly curative waters. The town itself is rather dreary, but the surrounding area has enough exotic-looking lava fields, hot springs and volcanic craters to fill a day or two of exploring.
Don’t worry about volcanic eruptions here. The most recent volcanic activity occurred in 1719 and 1720, when lava blocked the nearby North River (Běi Hé) and formed a series of barrier lakes – the five interconnected lakes that give the area its name.
The best time to visit is between June and October when the weather is mildest. The Daur minority holds a three-day ‘water-drinking festival’ each year in early June.
The only way to see the sights is by taxi. Expect to pay around Y150 for a day-long loop taking in the lakes, volcanoes and caves.