Surely a fabled sea monster deserves a post of its own.
Tianchi is a crater lake in Changbaishan, straddling the border between North Korea and China. Legend has it that a sea creature similar to the Loch Ness monster resides in the lake. The story came about after witnesses spotted ripples in the water and snapped some pictures of it. Since Tianchi doesn’t flow out to sea or any other open water beds, there’s no explanation for why it would ripple or if you think about it where a giant sea monster could have come from. I’d be pretty convinced that it is a mutated fish fed on a diet of synthetic chinese food if not for the fact that the mountains are also Kim Jong Il’s supposed birthplace.
There’s a local museum which surely would shed more light on this. Said museum is dedicated solely to the mountain range with photos and writeups about how the mountain changes across the seasons. Very useful information… in Chinese.
There were a few walls covered with maps of the region too. We took the west route if I’m not mistaken and different routes are better suited for different seasons not just because the route is less hazardous with the snow but also because some of the attractions are just frozen over in winter. We took notes so we could tell the guides where we’d want to visit if we ever return.
Then we got to the sea monster bit. Tianchi is thus named because on clear fogless days, it mirrors perfectly the sky (Tian in Chinese. Chi means lake.) which makes for a gorgeous sight. On a particular day, this photographer caught an unsuspecting tourist in his photo(shop).
Of course, no sea monster sighting would be complete without souvenir plush likenesses. This guy doesn’t quite look like the monster in the picture but he’ll do. There’s probably a good reason why people like unicorns better.
Meanwhile, outside one of the mountain routes, the land-based monsters shed a tear about their lack of fame.