Baekdu Mountain, China
On the very border of China and North Korea stands the Baekdu Mountain. The Chinese call the mountain Changbai, but use the name of Baitou when speaking both of the mountain and the crater of the Heaven Lake. The name Baekdu comes from Korean, meaning “white-headed mountain”. Baekdu is an active volcanic mountain and even though it is in a way an object of dispute between the two governments, it still is a site worth visiting.
Baekdu Mountain, at the height of 2744 meters, is Changbai mountain range’s highest mountain. It is also the highest peak of the Northern China and Korean peninsula.
The last eruption of the volcano occurred in 1903 and today it is believed to be dormant so no prohibitions are applied in terms of the safety of tourists. The most serious issues are the political ones.
Even though China and North-Korea did pretty well with following the agreement, signed in 1962, of sharing the mountain (which is formally split into two sides), some dispute occurred during recent years. Although China isn’t breaking any part of the agreement, its interest of dominating Baekdu is getting quite obvious.
Beijing has started to put a lot of effort in improving the infrastructure of Baekdu. The government of China applied Baekdu to be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and even considered entering the area for Winter Olympic Games of 2018.
However, the tension in Baekdu is plain politics. It doesn’t affect the magic of the mountain. The Koreans refer Baekdu-san as a holy mountain and the symbol of their nationality so it attracts many visitors, including Koreans themselves.
You will find numerous monuments on the Korean side of Baekdu. The site is rich inhot springsand waterfalls that make its scenery so amazing. One of the most popular spots is Pegae Hill as it used to be the campsite of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army. Several other camps that once were kept in secret are now accessible for tourists.
Baekdu is definitely a site worth visiting. It is an extraordinary mix of two cultures and the stunning nature that distances from any quarrels.