Mohe is a town located in the northernmost border of China neighboring the Heilongjiang River eastwards and as well as Da Hinggan Ling Prefecture to the west. Because of its cold climate and remoteness, Mohe has the nickname of “Chinese Arctic Town.” Situated at the north latitude of 53.5 degrees, a high latitude belt, the town is also surrounded by mountains particularly to the south and with rivers running around the mountains. Because of its peculiar geographic location and its abundant natural resources such as luscious forests, the great rivers, and more, Mohe is a grand charm during all 4 seasons throughout the year. Many travelers visit in the summertime in order to see the stunning Northern Lights (aurora borealis) and the polar daytime. The town’s water is said to be as dark as ink, a concept from which its name is derived (Mo, in Chinese, means ink). Mohe also has a reputation of being like an emerald on the golden cockscomb, an honor because China is shaped like a cock on a map.
One of the main sights of Mohe, aside from the flawless night skies, is the breathtaking Northern Lights, such as those seen in Alaska and various other areas in the Arctic Circle. When the Northern Lights appear in the north, it tends to take the shape of a luminous ring that changes size from small to large, and with colors that transform by the minute. Most magnificently, they move slowly towards the east while changing shape, size, and color, all before then disappearing gradually. Simply put, the Northern Lights is a natural miracle in the world and have influenced a fair share of great minds throughout history.
To the west about 82 kilometers from Mohe is the village of Luoguhe. This is where the clear, uneven Heilongjiang River, mother river of Northeast China, originates. This river is also the source of a boundary river that separates China from Russia. Along the banks of the Heilongjiang River, the scenery is incredibly beautiful and exotic. A large stone tablet, on which there are 4 Chinese characters stating “One End of China”, can be found on the way and is a popular photography spot. Walking 4 kilometers beyond the tablet, visitors will find a house said to be the northernmost in China. About 3 kilometers eastwards along the bank, visitors will see a building. Next to the building is the northernmost sentry post in China. Opposite of this is a small Russian lumbering village.
The primitive forest around Mohe has thrived for centuries and is cool and fragrant. Expeditions and camping activities are very popular there. At the same time, because of the area’s long history, there can be found many relics from the time of the Qing Dynasty (1368-1911) and the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). For example, around this area are relics of the ancient gold road, from which visitors can understand the difficult lives of the gold diggers from that era.
The forest also gives way to countless precious natural wild resources. There are more than 400 kinds of rare animals such as sika deer, wild boars, brown bears, snow hares, pheasants, sables, roes, reindeer, and red deer. The cold water fish of the Heilongjiang River is especially well-known in the world, making Mohe a great place for hunting and fishing. The plants of Mohe are characterized by their natural authenticity, pureness, and organic growth, and many are used as ingredients for brewing wines and other drinks. Furthermore, edible mushrooms, edible fungi, hedgehog mushrooms, and edible tender leaves of brakes are all over the area and there are more than 300 kinds of valuable traditional Chinese medicines.
1. Climate: Mohe is located on the southern banks of the Heilongjiang River, which is the boundary river between China and Russia, at a latitude of 53 degrees north. It is usually very cold most of the year, and the summer usually lasts about half a month. The highest temperature of the year is just about 20 degrees Celsius, and nights run about 10 degrees Celsius. Mohe is the coldest place in China and its temperature is usually between 30 degrees and 40 degrees Celsius below 0. The coldest temperature on record is 52.3 degrees below 0. It is so cold that pens are not used in Mohe because the ink will freeze. Cameras should also be specially taken care of against the cold. On the whole, the days are long, often more than 19 hours, meaning the nights are short in Mohe.
2. Daylight: Every year in the summer, the sun is observed about 20 hours every day. The phenomenon is called a “polar day.” At midnight, the sky is a gray white color looking like dawn or sunset. It can feel delightfully peculiar to play chess or basketball at such an hour. It is also a delight for observers to experience the bright, magnificent, gorgeous, and colorful sight of the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) during this season. Because of these reasons, summer is the best time to tour Mohe. As well, every year around the Summer Solstice, campfire parties are held magnificently along the banks of the Heilongjiang River during which people sing and dance all day and night.
2. Travel: Generally speaking, it is far and somewhat challenging to go to Mohe. Setting off from the railway station of Qiqiha’er, the northernmost city in China, a train takes at least 16 hours to reach Mohe. The nearest railway station to the most popular sites of Mohe is the Railway Station of Mohe, formerly known as the Xilinji Railway Station. There are 2 main routes to Xilinji Railway Station. One departs from the East Railway Station of Ha’erbin, passing stops such as Ha’erbin, Daqing, Qiqiha’er, and Jiagdaqi. The number of this train is N41, and travel time is about 21 hours. Another route starts in Qiqiha’er at Gulian Railway Station. The travel time by train from Qiqiha’er to Mohe is about 20 hours and 20 minutes. As well, there are buses from the town of Xilinji to Mohe, departing at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. A single ticket fare is 15 RMB. In fact, between Xilinji and Mohe, it is a good idea to arrange for a bus or a taxi, with fares between 100 RMB to 250 RMB for one day. The time for a single journey from Xilinji the ”Arctic Village” is about 1.5 hours.