Northern China: Camping Under the Summer Aurora and Shooting Stars

1001769_4942790013906_1429221115_nMissed seeing the Aurora Borealis in Northern Europe the Winter? There’s an alternative plan for you to catch the northern lights in another season and even another side of the world.

Not many people or even Chinese know that you can see the Northern light in Mohe, the northest city in China, in the summertime according to Chinese calendar(it’s slightly different every year and different from western calendar, usually in mid June). Summertime in China have long daylights and a chance to see the aurora borealis.

Cities in northern China still kept the nature sides of her and it’s a very special trip I and my mom travel up north for 10 days back in 2013. I really recommend a trip there to discover the other side of China that still haven’t been commercialize. Since Mohe is a  trip long way up north, here are few highlights on the transit city:


Hong Kong>Beijing

My mom in front of Main Street WangFuJing

We first make our stop in Beijing and it was my third time there already. The first time was like in primary school and the second time was an exchange in the year of Olympics 2008.



It was really different from the first time I’ve been there, now turned into a crowded and super busy city. We made our stop at the famous王府井大街 Main Street WangFuJing, where is full of authentic street food and weird snacks. Well, personally I think it’s just another tourist attraction so it’s not the place you find super decent food though.


Beijing>吉林 JiLin>漠河 Mohe

The next day we catch our flight to JiLin then finally to the domestic airport in Mohe.


Basically, Mohe is a city river away from Russia, just started developed as a tourist spots for northern light in the summer, so really not much going on or exciting about it rather than her beautiful nature. It was pretty hot in Mohe like 30 degree in the summer, I still remember how the color of nature were so vibrant under this nice weather.



We visited to the “Northest Village”, an easy hike to see the beauty through rivers and plants, visited the northerst catholic church in China and a small museum about people live there. Northern Chinese look pretty different from southern Chinese like me, they are usually much taller and with different facial features like taller nose or deeper eyes, even more like a westerner than typical Chinese since it’s just a river oppose to Russia. Next, we visited the northest post office as well. People may not be rich or receive well education, but northern Chinese friends of mine are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, that really respect of friendships.

We stayed in the one and only one hotel in Mohe when it was way too hot to go out at noon. It’s a massive hotel with room huge like an en suite but still only operate when few tour came to the city.



At night, the tour had provided us camps so we headed out to a empty plaza and wait for the northern lights around 10pm. We first saw a very round and clear moon and a sky full of starssssssss (was literally filled with stars and you can simply spotted the whole zodiac!). After hours waiting, we finally saw some abnormal lights curling up the sky and that’s was the first time seeing the aurora! We got so emotional and happy to go back to sleep 6 in the morning.


Mohe>哈爾濱 Harbin



Spent two nights at Mohe, we fought back to another northern city Harbin. It’s a city influenced by Russia culture. We visited the famous St. Sophia Cathedral in the city center, the Russia Village, and some museum. There will be covered with snow in winter and very for its annual ice crafting festival!

Food in Northern China




Food are really different in the north which I’m much preferred! Due to the different growth of crops, people eat more dumpling or noodle than rice, and much spicier because of the cold weather. Since the crops and animals are house farmed in Mohe and not proceed with artificial stuff, you can taste the origin flavor of everything! Dishes simply like steamed vegetable amazed me with its refreshing and pure sweetness!


7 thoughts on “Northern China: Camping Under the Summer Aurora and Shooting Stars

  1. There are comments that one can’t really see aurora at Mohe. Do you have any clear photo or video of seeing aurora at Mohe to share?

    Best regards


  2. Hi,

    Nice to see all the photos and the places you traveled. I had visited the north part of China and now would like to see the Northern Lights in MOHE. I am targeting next year 2017.

    Thank you for sharing.
    My website as below but still under construction.

    Kean Low


  3. Hi! Quite an informative article! I am interested in seeing the A.B. from Mohe. Sadly I was told the A.B. shows in Mohe only on very rare occasions. I was wondering if you could share the exact date of the time when you saw A.B. from Mohe? Thank you!


  4. Hello Rae Hong!
    I’m George from Indonesia.

    I just found out your great blog through Google search of ‘Mohe Aurora’. The topic really pick my interest since most of us still believe the auroras only perform in pole area. But, how come a town in China has such thing?!

    It started last winter, when I stayed in a hostel in Harbin. I saw a promotional poster about a northernmost China town called Mohe, with a picture of aurora. I stopped and thinking… how could this thing happen in China?!

    So I remember the town name until I got home and try to search everything about Mohe. Most of results are just some websites with photos of the same aurora that we always see in Google Image, and I believe these webs only pick aurora (probably) from Norway photos, then they self-claimed this photo is Mohe aurora. We can surely tell it by looking the photos.
    And some people in internet say, this is just scam scenario so that the curious tourists will visit Mohe to boost its tourism. Still presumption obviously.

    So far in my opinion, your blog provides the best info of Mohe aurora since you show your own photo of it, based on personal experience. Of course, I would like to know about the town and its aurora.

    Could you mind to tell more about when the best month to visit Mohe to witness festival and the aurora?

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful information.

    “It’s not just about destination, but the journey”


    1. Thank you so much for the kind words!!! This mean a lot to me 🙂

      I know it’s nothing as strong as the pole aurora (as I saw it in iceland as well) but it is a closer option and yet CHEAPERRRRR!

      No matter in pole or Mohe, aurora never appears like the images to our bare eyes, it is all the magic of camera exposure.

      The best months to go Mohe is around summer time, which is like Aug to Sep. Usually it’s a multi stops to the North trip to go Beijing, Haerbin, Hei Long Jiang since Mohe it’s just the northest city of China opposite to Russia. Do let me know you have any more questions 🙂


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