Capital of Liaoning Province and the largest city in the northeast of China, Shenyang is a city steeped in history. Nu'erhachi built his imperial palace and was laid to rest in one of the first two imperial tombs of the Qing Dynasty, Fuling Tomb. His son is buried in Zhaoling tomb, which is the second of the first two imperial tombs. The imperial palace and the two tombs are all listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. It was in Shenyang that the Russian army was defeated by the Japanese in 1905. It was also here, on September 18th, 1931 that the Mukden incident ignited a war between China and Japan that would see the Japanese occupation of all of Northeast China. This city was also the home to the warlord Zhang Zuolin and his son Zhang Xueliang who ruled over the Northeast during the 1920's. The 20th century saw Shenyang develop as a major industrial centre. Today the city is rapidly losing its older structures with large scale construction throughout the city, like all cities in China.
Shenyang has a monsooon-influenced continental climate with large seasonal variation. Winters are very cold, but dry, and can easily feature nights of −20 °C or below. Summers are hot and humid, with daytime temperatures near 30 °C, rarely pushing above into the high 30s °C, though.
Shenyang is connected by a major expressway, the 6-lane Jingshen Expressway, from Beijing, some 685 km (425 mi) away. Expressways also link Shenyang with Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces. The Shenda Expressway connecting Shenyang and Dalian was the first expressway ever built in China (383 km /238 mi). It is the fastest highway (8-lane) linking one of the largest port cities to Shenyang.
Train service is provided through two train stations, the north train station and the south train station. The north train station handles the majority of the long-distance trains while the south train station handles most of the northeast trains and does local service around the province. Some trains travel to both stations so be aware of which station you need to board your train.
North Train Station (沈阳北站; Shěnyáng Běizhàn) at Beizhan Road (北站路; Běizhànlù), Line 1
Beijing - takes about 8 hours (or 4 hours by 'D Train')
Dalian - takes about 6 hours (express trains take 3 - 4 hours)
Dandong - takes about 5 hours
Guangzhou - takes about 30-48 hours
Harbin - takes about 7 hours
Jilin - takes about 6-9 hours
Shanghai - takes about 27-34 hours
Tianjin - takes about 7 hours (or 4 hours by 'D Train')
Qinhuangdao - takes about 5 hours (or 2.5 hours by 'D Train')
South Train Station (沈阳火车站; Shěnyáng Huǒchēzhàn) at Shengli Beijie (胜利北街; Shènglìběijiē), Line 2
Baihe via Songjianghe - takes about 9 hours
Beijing - takes about 8-10 hours
Changchun - takes about 4 hours - 2 hours for express trains
Dalian - takes about 5 hours
Dandong - takes about 4 hours
Harbin - takes about 7 hours
Jilin - takes about 7 hours
Tianjin - takes about 9 hours
Tonghua - takes about 7 hours
Tumen - takes about 16 hours
Long distance bus service is handled by two bus stations.
Main Long-Distance Bus Station (Shenyang Qiche Kuaisu Keyun Zhan)
Located on Huigong Jie, this station serves routes to and from major cities. You can also find night buses to Beijing being hawked outside the north train station.
Beijing - takes about 8 hours
Changchun - takes about 4 hours
Dandong - takes about 3 hours
Dalian - takes about 4 hours
Harbin - takes about 7 hours
Jilin - takes about 5 hours
Jinzhou - takes about 3 hours
South Bus Station
Buses queue along Minzhu Lu (opposite the south train station), around Minzhu Square and some nearby streets. On most buses you pay the conductor on the bus but for Anshan and Liaoyang you must purchase tickets at the office on the east side of Minzhu Square. These buses run medium distance routes to neighbouring cities within Liaoning. Buses stop departing this bus stations around 6pm. Passengers arriving to this station may be offloaded from the bus on a nearby street or some distance away at a yard used for storing coaches, sited behind the post office on Zhongshan Jie.
Anshan - takes about 1 hour 40 minutes
Benxi - takes about 1 hour
Liaoyang - takes 1 hour
Fushun - takes 50 minutes
Sights in the old city, Shenhe District, can be walked between, but other areas such as those in Beiling or Dongling require transport.
The first line of the Shenyang Metro, running east-west across the city and serving the train station, opened in 2010. A second line is scheduled to follow by 2013.
Shenyang has a comprehensive bus system, but it can be incomprehensible if you do not read Chinese. Make sure you pick up a city bus and area map at either train station. Very handy to help get around. Buses charge ¥1-2 and major bus lines congregate around the train stations. Bus 203 travels between the two train stations.
There are plenty of taxis whose meters start at ¥8 for 3 kilometers, then ¥1.8 per kilometer. Make sure you get a taxi in which the meter is mounted on the dashboard and easily visible from your seat instead of behind the gear shift - it is possible the driver may be pulling some sleight of hand to increase your fare. As of January 2011, there is a huge construction project at Government Square in the center of the city. Traffic around the area is quite congested so many taxis will often go around the square instead of through it.
Mukden Palace (故宫 Gugong), Shenyang Rd, Shenhe District (Bus 222 or 213 can take you there for ¥1). Former Imperial Palace - First built in 1625 for Nurhachi, and inherited by his son Abahai (Huang Taiji), the Former Imperial Palace of Shenyang is one of two royal complexes extent in China today. The splendid and distinctly ethnic Manchu architectural style of the palace, which includes Dazheng (Grand Politics) Hall, the Ten Princes' Pavillion, Chongzhen (Golden Chimes), Phoenix Chamber and Qingning (Pure Tranquility) Pavillion, are still in perfect shape. On Saturday afternoons during the summer, the palace is the venue for a grand Imperial procession. This is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site alongside the palace in Beijing. It is also an AAAA rated tourist site on the Chinese national scale. A guidebook is available in English at the ticket office, priced ¥25, which provides a detailed explanation of the exhibits. This fascinating palace contains finer details compared to the one in Beijing, such as the exquisitely handcrafted detailed carving and painting, which are still clear after four centuries. The throne room in Chongzheng Hall has incredibly detailed scrollwork -even the columns circled by the watchful dragons and on the throne. The palace also shows a significant influence from the nomadic heritage of its builders in the cold Manchuria. ¥60 as of January 2011.
Zhaoling (昭陵), Beiling Jie, Huanggu District (In the center of Beiling Park, about 1 km from the S entrance of the Park). This is the tomb of the second Qing emperor, Huang Taiji, and his consorts. It was built over a period of eight years during the mid 17th century. The buildings are currently covered with scaffolding as renovation work is undertaken. The site is a unique blend of traditional Manchu and Chinese architecture. The area is listed, along with the other imperial tombs of the Ming and Qing dynasty, as a UNESCO world heritage site and a AAAA rated tourist site on the Chinese national scale. It is one of only 3 imperial tombs north of the great wall of China. Around the tomb is set out the extensive lands of Beiling Park which includes large areas of forest and several lakes.¥30 in addition to the park fee of ¥6.
Fuling (福陵), Dongling Rd, Dongling District (Buses 148 and 168 go here from the north station in about 1 hour). This is the first tomb of the Qing Dynasty in which Nu'erhachi, the founder of the dynasty, is laid to rest. It dates to the early 17th century and is constructed in traditional Manchu style along lines of Chinese fengshui. The area is listed, along with the other imperial tombs of the Ming and Qing dynasty, as a UNESCO world heritage site and a AAAA rated tourist site on the Chinese national scale. It is one of only 3 imperial tombs north of the great wall of China. To the east of the tomb site a large area of park land forms Dongling Park.¥30.
North, East, South and West Pagodas (北塔 Beita, 南塔 Nanta, 东塔 Dongta, 西塔 Xita), (The west pagoda is in the courtyard of a temple in the Korean quarter, whereas the other three are surrounded by small parks). Built in the 1640's and now restored to close to original, these four pagodas stand each about 4km north, south, east and west of the Imperial Palace that was the centre of the old city. Each pagoda is almost identical to the others but the north and south pagodas are in the best condition today.Free.
Mao Zedong's Statue, Zhongshan Sq, Heping District (1.25 km from the south train station). This is the largest statue of Mao Zedong in china. Around the base of the statue are images of workers, peasants and soldiers in heroic poses. The square is a popular place for locals to relax. Also called 'Taxi Square' by the locals.Free.
Liaoning Provincial Museum, 26 Shiwei Rd, Shenhe district (On the E side of Government Square beside Liaoning Theatre), ☎ +86 24 22821903. Until 4PM. A high-quality museum featuring Liaoning history from the stone age to the Qing dynasty, with many relics of China's past found in the area (3rd floor). Also houses large collections of Chinese traditional art and calligraphy, plus temporary exhibitions. There may be queues to enter during main public holidays. Closed on Mondays.Free.
Liaoning Industrial Exhibition Hall, Hunnan District (Near Olympic Stadium).
9.18 Memorial Museum. At 10:30PM on 18 September, 1931, a bomb exploded beside the Japanese run railway line near Shenyang. Though instigated by the Japanese, the Chinese were blamed for the event giving the Japanese an excuse to invade and occupy the whole of the northeast of China. Shenyang was the epicenter of that invasion, so it is most appropriate that the museum for the '9.18 Incident', as it is known, is in Shenyang next to the spot where the explosion occurred. The museum, as one would expect, depicts the incident from a Chinese perspective. It is not for the faint of heart because it unflinchingly displays the atrocities of war. Only the main descriptions are available in English, but it's enough to follow the course of events. The pictures and exhibits speak for themselves, anyway.Free.
Shengjing Ancient Cultural Street, Shenyang Rd (Outside the Imperial Palace). Shenjing is the old name for Shenyang during the 17th century - jing meaning capital city. This street tries to recreate the architectural styles of the time. It is however only a facard over the front of relatively modern 20th century structures within which a variety of tourist orientated shops operate.Free.
Shenyang Horticultural Exposition Garden (2006中国沈阳世界园艺博览会), Dongling District (18 km E of the north train station, about 5 km further E than Dongling Park, buses from the south bus station going to Fushun City will stop outside the park, bus 168 takes you to the park for ¥5 from Maluwan), . This is the site of the 2006 International Horticultural Exposition. One of Shenyang's main tourist attractions, it continues to operate though the expo has officially ended. It features international gardens reminiscent of Epcot Center in Disney World in the U.S, (the amusement park is really awesome compared to the gardens, which includes a roller coaster and many other fun activities!). It also features gardens for different provinces and cities within China and the expo's most recognizable feature, the Lily Tower, a massive structure inspired by its namesake flower (for ¥30, you can take an elevator to the top of this magnificent structure). Before its transformation to the Expo Gardens, this was once the much humbler Botanical Gardens. It opens in the spring and closes in October. Most of the signs are in English and Chinese. ¥35.
Former residence museum of Zhang Xueliang (Marshal Zhang's Mansion), S Shuaifu Ln, Shenhe District (A short walk south from the Imperial Palace). This was the home of Zhang Zuolin and his son Zhang Xueliang during the end years of the Qing dynasty and the beginning of the Republic. Zhang became, with the fall of the Qing Emperor, the warlord in control of the northeast of China and for a short time was proclaimed president of China.
Steam Locomotive Museum, 64 Zhonggong Bei Jie, Teixi District, ☎ +86 24 81270010, . Housing 15 historical locomotives and 3 duplicated historical locomotives. It is the biggest steam locomotive museum in China.
Shen-air Museum (沈飞航空博览园), Lingdong Jie, Huanggu District (At NE corner of Beiling Park next to Beiling Airport), ☎ +86 24 86599602. 8:30AM-4:30PM daily. Beiling airport is the site where China produced it's first modern jet aircraft in the early 1950's. These were initially copies of Soviet MIG fighters but gradually Chinese designs developed. A strong focus is placed on comparing Chinese and American aircraft, in particular those involved in the Korean War of the 50's. They also tell the history of Chinese missile development and other technologies. Civilian aircraft were also produced here and feature in the exhibits. The tour finishes with the modern J-11 fighter, China's new passenger aircraft (ACAC ARJ21 Xiangfeng or Flying Phoenix) and the recent Chinese space flights. This is an AAAA rated site on China's national tourist scale.¥25.
Xinle Site Museum, Huanggu District (Just off of Huanghenan Da Jie on the W side of Beiling Park). On this location were found the remains of a 7000-year old, stone age, village. A museum now houses the archaeological finds and the village has been reconstructed. The site is in two sections. The ticket office is on the north side of the road. You will then be directed across to the museum on the south side to view the display before returning to the north side again to enter the reconstruction area. Displays are labelled in both Chinese and English and the site is rated AAA on China's national tourist scale. A subway station is built nearby and the site is closed (Sept 2010) with construction work going on. It might not reopen in the near future. The provincial museum, however, has a large section on local stone age cultures that also contains relics from this site.
City walls, Shenyang Lu. The original city walls of Shenyang were destroyed in the 1950's. Some small sections have been reconstructed to give an impression of the former city. These remains consist of two gates, Hauiyuanmen and Fujinmen, at either end of Shenyang Lu.
The old Longkou Wine Museum (老龙口 laolongkou), Xiao Dong Lu. A small museum beside the Laolongkou distillery tells the history of Baiju production on the site which dates to the early 17th century. The display includes old maps and photographs of the area. Equipment used in the wine production and a collection of old bottles, labels and trademarks used by the company.Free entry..
Royal Ocean World (皇家极地海洋世界; Huángjiājídehǎiyángshìjiè), Wanghua District (抚顺高湾(沈吉高速抚顺西出口)) (Off the Shenfu Hwy midway between Shenyang and Fushun. From Fushun take bus No.811. A taxi from Fushun city will cost ¥30-40 (negotiable). Bus No.2 from Shenyang South railway station or No.3 from Shenyang North railway station on route to Fushun stop on the Expressway near the park. The bus fair is ¥10), ☎ +86 41 3611 8888 or +86 24 8271 1236 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +86 41 3620 1660 or +86 24 8271 1239), . Opened in 2008 and still under expansion, this claims to be the biggest aquarium in Asia. Currently there are four displays open. The Ocean World display contains sea and fresh water aquariums filled with all manor of aquatic life. The Century Forest display focuses on reptiles. There is also the Narnian Castle which is a theatre where animal shows are performed several times throughout the day (show times may vary throughout the year). Lastly there is Susu world, a soft play centre for children. Each of these displays can be purchased separately or on a combined ticket. Beside this site, in late 2009, Asia's largest water park will open, featuring swimming pools, water flumes and other water activities.¥70-140.
Happy Family (兴隆大家庭 xīng lóng dà jiā ting). The Happy Family Mall (both- one in Tiexi and the one on Zhongjie) have indoor ice rinks with skates you can rent and occassional specials on teachers.
There are three ski resort areas within Shenyang prefecture.
Northeast Asia Ski Resort (东北亚滑雪场 Dongbeiya Huaxue Chang), Magang, Xingchengzi District (28 km /17 mi outside of Shenyang). With 700,000 square metres of skiing area, this is the biggest ski resort.Daytime skiing ¥135 for two hours and night skiing is ¥125. Discounts for groups of 15 or more are available..
Baiqingzhai Ski Field (白清寨滑雪场), Sujiatun District (40 km/25 mi out). The site includes a freestyle aerial skiing and off-piste areas. Total area is 530,000 square meters.Daytime skiing ¥135 for two hours and night skiing is ¥120. Discounts for groups of 15 or more are available..
Qipanshan Ice and Snow World (棋盘山冰雪大世界), (20 km outside, take bus 330), ☎ +86 24 88050020, 22723117 (fax: +86 24 22734066). 9AM-10PM daily, winter only. Within Qipanshan Scenic Area and covering an area of 500,000 square meters.Daytime skiing ¥150 for two hours and night skiing is ¥130. Discounts for groups of 15 or more are available.
Shenyang has three main shopping areas. One is on Zhong Jie, which has a number of shops selling cell phones, computers, electronic equipment or the latest fashions and accessories. Box/department stores are within walking distance of Zhong Jie as well as the north train station.
The second shopping area is Taiyuan Jie, located within walking distance of the south train station. This area has an English language bookstore and main post office nearby as well as food, clothing and electronics. Don't miss the underground shopping mall under the street. Box stores common throughout China can be found here.
The third is Beishichang, within walking distance from the north train station. It is one of the oldest shopping areas in Shenyang. There is an important Lama temple (Huang Shi, founded in 1636), which was worshiped by all the Manchu emperors during their regular trips to Shenyang.
As a possible souvenir, by incorporating traditional Chinese painting techniques, artists of Shenyang have turned feather patchwork scrolls into something as refined and appealing as Chinese painting and calligraphy.
Wuai Market in Shenyang is the biggest wholesale market in the northeast of China with 300,000 customers per day and annual turnover of more than ¥2 billion. It covers an area of 139,000 square meters. Products include dresses, shoes, caps, groceries, knitted goods, cloth materials, boxes, home appliances, gifts, daily sundry goods, beauty and hairdressing articles, small foods, bedding goods and more.
Liaoning is home to Liaocai (辽菜), a distinctive cuisine named after the area. Liaocai tends to be strong in flavour with plenty garlic, ginger and other spices but not hot. Shenyang has a large Korean and Mongolian population, who operate a lot of barbecue stands on the street corners of the city. There are also a number of very good Korean restaurants here. All of Shenyang's top hotels feature fancy restaurants serving Cantonese, Japanese and Western food. There are also some decent noodle shops, as well as the national chain California Beef Noodle, on some of the small roads near the train station.
Fast food and coffee shops are plentiful. The imported, western style food tends to be at the higher end of the price market. By going after local cuisine you will save money.
Lao Bian Jiaozi Restaurant, 57 Beishichang Jie and also Zhong Jie, Shenhe District (Next to the Imperial Palace). 10AM-8PM. Dumplings restaurant. Lao Bian Jiaozi, founded in 1829, is one of the most famous dumpling restaurants.
☎ +86 24 22988988. (prix fixe).
Cafe Lido (Sheraton Shenyang Lido Hotel), Quignian St. It is recognized as being the best Western food in Shenyang. Serving Australian beef, mashed potatoes Irish style, Guinness meat pies, fresh fish, salads and the tastiest pastries in town. Special on Friday's Seafood Night, small price for all you can eat and drink!¥180-200.
La Bellevue. For bigger budget there is also a fine dining French Restaurant, "La Bellevue".
Xita Korea Town (西塔街), Tita, Shifu Da Jie (From the South train station head due N up Taiyuan Jie or take bus 249, 611, 255, or 252). Not one restaurant but an area with many good restaurants. The streets around the Western Pagoda (Xita) are home to many Korean people giving the area the name Korea Town.
Don't Tell Mama (别告诉妈妈 bié gàosu mā ma), Xita St (西塔街), in Korea town. Packed even on weeknights, this large Chinese-style club offers a constant cabaret-style variety show with over-the-top dance acts and live singing. One highlight is the male performers seem compelled to chug any quantity of beer bought for them, up to two-liter pitchers, in one go, without using their hands.
Sunny's Night Club. Re-opened in May 2008 with a bar area next to the disco. A popular spot for foreigners but staff and service are low quality.
Party 98 (98 俱乐部 - 98 jù lè bù), Xita St (西塔街), in Korea town. Noisy Chinese music, close to the 24/24h barbecue restaurants.
Club 97 (97号会所), No 97 Zhongshan Lu, 100 m W of Zhongshan Sq and its Mao statue (中山路97号，中山广场西100米), ☎ +86 24 2341 9997. A shiny, trendy club with an outdoor patio frequented by expats, mostly Russian ones. Not too crappy music, great food before 11PM, a bit pricey though.
Sophie's World Bar (苏菲的世界酒吧), Er Jing St, Bawei Rd (二经街 八伟路, ☎ +86 024 2282 6691. The oldest foreigner bar in town is like an institution for both expats and locals. Cheap alcohol, darts, soccer games on TV.
The Bee House (毕豪斯), 辽宁省沈阳市市辖区沈河区奉天街220号 (Shenhe District), ☎ +86 24 22927711. Used to be a great place, now it's your regular Chinese disco.
heidis Restaurant & Bar, 37, South sanjing street (Near US embassy), ☎ 138, . 11.00/24.00. "Heidis rest. & bar" is a unique and comfortable restaurant & lounge bar. Typical Swiss & west food, cheese specialities, Pizzas and steaks, chocolate and homemade dessert. ideal for a romantic dîner or memorable business diner. Live music from Tuesday to Sunday, Promotion : Half price for chinese and imported draught beer from 5 pm to 11 pm,.. Italian Monday : Half price for pizza and spaghetty. rmb 15 to 150.-.
Shamrock Irish Pub, 134/11 Changjiang Street (located near Liao Da Old University at Appreciate Europe), ☎ 86085856. Newly opened, serving probably the best draught Guinness in Shenyang and more in a clean, laid-back pub. They also have a great selection of foods including Irish stew and onion rings. Great place to go for a pint and a meal and of course the craic. Call for directions. Open from 4pm till late 7 days a week.
Green Mile, No. 3-1 Bei San Jing Jie (Location: The pub is just west of Government Square, and just southeast of North Market on Yi Wei Lu (一纬路). To find it, first go to the intersection of San Jing Jie (三经街) and Shi Fu Da Lu (市府大路). Yi Wei Lu is a small road just south of Shi Fu Lu. The Green Mile is 100 meters to the east of San Jing Jie.), ☎ +86 (0)24 8231 0581. A smoky, grungy sports-bar style bar, which gets especially busy and smoky late on the weekends. A good place to go for shots and cocktails. Some claim that the Green Mile has the best American style pizza in Northeast China, and they deliver. Very popular with expats.
Sanpi Youth Hostel (三皮青年旅社), 21 Yalüjiang Street, 沈阳市于洪区鸭绿江街21号 (Take bus 325 from the north station, change to 113 on the opposite side for 2 stops at 长客总站, walk back 40m to the big grey building), ☎ +86 24 22511133, . Very clean and well-run hostel with exceedingly friendly staff who, unfortunately, speak very little English. Beiling (Zhaoling) is in walking distance, for the sights in the city you'll need to take a bus.Dorms Y40 (35 with YHA card).
Shenyang Zhijia Qingnian Hotel (沈阳致家青年旅馆), 13 Shenyang Rd, ☎ +86 24 23833033 (fax: +86 24 23837389). This small hotel is non-spectacular, but offers cheap singles (or, if you need "a short rest" will let a room to you for fours hours for ¥30). The main attraction is the location, just north of Huaiyuan Gate, it is on an old street with attractive architecture, just one block west of the imperial palace.
Eletel, 235 Zhong St (Set back from the main road in a pedestrianized area), ☎ +86 24 31307777. The rooms are designed in a ultra modern style that some will like and others will hate. The location is on a main shopping street within walking distance of several attractions such as the Imperial Palace.¥267.
Grand Century Hotel, 88-2 Zhonghua Rd, Heping District (Access to the hotel is round the back of the shopping mall, off of the main road), ☎ +86 24 23402888 (fax: +86 24 23410099), . A recently decorated, high quality hotel at an affordable price. Located in the centre of the shopping area near to the south train station. Rooms in the upper stories provide good views across the city. Wireless internet is available in rooms.¥349.
Traders Hotel, 68 Zhonghua Rd, Heping District, ☎ +86 24 2341 2288 (fax: +86 24 2341 1988), . A brand of Shangri-La, but one level down from the full-service Shangri-La.
Wonhurg International Hotel, 35 Kunshan Zhong Rd, Huanggu District, ☎ +86 24 86285555 (fax: +86 24 86843100), . Premier business hotel with deluxe guestrooms, free Internet access, and 300-capacity ballroom.