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Heaven Lake (Cheonji) – crater lake

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Volcanic mountains are big and scary but when they turn dead or dormant they are often observed to give rise to other beautiful land and water bodies like that happening to the crater of the Baekdu Mountain in the mountain range of Baekdudaegan. Situated on the border of China and North Korea is a beautiful crater lake called the Heaven Lake, also known as Tianchi, which is a formation of the glaciers around the Baekdu Mountain. A part of the Heaven Lake falls in the Ryanggang Province of North Korea and the other part falls in the Jilin Province of north east China.

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The caldera in which the Heaven Lake stands today is known to have last erupted in 969 AD. The surface of the lake is situated at a height of 2,189.1m and it’s known to cover an area of 9.82sq km.  The average depth of the lake is known to be around 213m. The Heaven lake is known to be the source for three rivers in China, namely Songhua, Tumen, and Yalu.

The Heaven Lake often appears like a deep blue jade floating amongst the cloud. Because of the elevation the place has frequently changing climate where rain to sunshine happens within fractions. Mainly from the mid October to mid June the Heaven Lake is known to be in a frozen state. Therefore, the best tourist seasons are known to start from July and remain till September.

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Tourists find the destination to be enchanting not only because of the Heaven Lake but also because of the other natural wonders existing around the area. Around the Cheonji is the highest volcanic waterfall of the world known as the Changbai Waterfall. Close to it is the Changbai Hot Spring and a number of other lakes, valleys, and waterfalls along the northern, western and southern sides of the mountains. In fact, the southern side is known to be a good path for climbing as well and it is strewn with alpine flowers throughout the summers. Apart from the scenic beauty of the neighbouring areas of the Heaven Lake, it is also rich in wild funguses and Chinese medicinal herbs like ginseng and pilose antler. As per local people of the area and some tourists as well the Heaven Lake is known to be home to a monster which has been spotted and filmed in 1968, 1994, and 2005. Though, so far there are no proper evidences but the saying goes on.

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Because of the large inflow of tourists the area has a number of accommodation options as well. While there is an option of staying with Korean families to understand their culture and lifestyle, one can also stay in camps. The third option is of staying in some best hotels like Heavenly Hot Spring Hotel, Changbai Mountain International Hotel, and so on. The nearest airport to the destination is Yanji which connects to major cities. There are coaches from Yanji to go further. Trains are available from Tonghua, Changchun, and Dandong.

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