Capital of Liaoning Province and the largest city in the northeast of China, Shenyang is a city steeped in history. Neurhachi built his imperial palace and was laid to rest in one of the first two imperial tombs of the Qing Dynasty, Yongling Tomb. His son is buried in Dongling's Zhouling 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 later 20th century saw Shenyang develop as a major industrial centre. Today the city is rapidly modernising with large scale construction throughout the city.
Shenyang is connected by a major expressway, the 6-lane Jingshen Expressway, from Beijing, some 658 kilometers 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. 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 if you are lucky to get a ticket for the new fast train 'D Train', about 4 hours)
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 10-14 hours
Qinhuangdao - takes about 5-6 hours
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 6 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 1 hour
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 2009. A second line will follow by 2011.
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.
Mukden Palace (故宫 Gugong), Shenyang Lu, 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. ¥50.
Zhaoling (昭陵), Beiling Jie, Huanggu District (In the center of Beiling Park, about 1 km from the South 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 early 17th century. The buildings are currently covered with scafholding 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 ¥8.
Fuling (福陵), Dongling Lu, Dongling District (About 13km east of the north train station.). This is the first tomb of the Qing Dynasty in which Nuerhachi, 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 funshui. 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 may be difficult to find as it is now set within the courtyard of some other buildings where as the other three enjoy their own 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 Square, Heping District (About 1.25km 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.Free.
Liaoning Provincial Museum, 26 Shiwei Road, Shenhe district (On the east side of Shifu Square beside the Liaoning Theatre.), ☎ +86 24 22821903. Closes at 4PM. A high-quality museum featuring many relics of China's past found mainly found in Liaoning. Also large collections of Chinese traditional art and caligraphy. There may be queues to enter during main public holidays.Free.
Liaoning Industrial Exhibition Hall, Hunnan District (Near to the new Olympic Stadium).
9.18 Memorial Museum. On September 18, 1931, at 10:30pm, a bomb exploded beside the Japanese run railway line near Shenyang. Though instigated by the Japanese, the Chinese were blamed for 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 feint of heart because it unflinchingly displays the atrocities of war. The educational value of the experience is diminished by the lack of English signs and explanations.
Shengjing Ancient Cultural Street, Shenyang Lu (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 veriety of tourist orientated shops operate.Free.
Shenyang Horticultural Exposition Garden (2006中国沈阳世界园艺博览会), Dongling District (18km east of the north train station, about 5 km further east 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 th 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 United States, (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. It is really a worthwhile experience in you are in the area.¥35.
Former residence museum of Zhang Xueliang (Marshal Zhang's Mansion), South Shuaifu Lane, 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 proclamed 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 the northeast corner of Beiling park next to Beiling Airport.), ☎ +86 24 86599602. Every day from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. 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. In the front of the museum grounds stand nine aircraft produced on this site which can be closely inspected. Inside the museum building are displays telling the history of the airport and aircraft factory as well as Chinese aviation. 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 west 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.
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 highway midway between Shenyang and Fushun cities. 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 express way near the park. The bus fair is ¥10), ☎ +86 41 3611 8888 or +86 24 8271 1236 (email@example.com, fax: +86 41 3620 1660 or +86 24 8271 1239), . Newly 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, lizards, snakes and crocodiles. 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.
Jin Zhixian, Shenyang, ☎ 024-23914779.
There are three ski resort areas within Shenyang prefecture. The 2008 Shenyang International Ice and Snow Festival will be held at these resorts, as well as in Beiling park in Shenyang city, starting on January 8 and running to 2008-February 28, 2008.
Northeast Asia Ski Resort (东北亚滑雪场 Dongbeiya Huaxue Chang), Magang, Xingchengzi distict (28km out of Shenyang city). With 700,000 square metres of skiing area, this is the biggest ski resort.Park entry is free. Daytime Skiing costs ¥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 (40km out of Shenyang city). The site includes a freestyle aerial skiing and off-piste areas. Total area is 530,000 square meters.Park entry is free. Daytime Skiing costs ¥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), (About 20km from downtown Shenyang. Take bus No. 330.), ☎ +86 24 88050020, 22723117 (fax: +86 24 22734066). Every day, 9AM-10PM winter only. Within Qipanshan Scenic Area and covering an area of 500,000 square meters.Park entry is ¥10. Park entry is free. Daytime Skiing costs ¥150 for two hours and night skiing is ¥130. Discounts for groups of 15 or more are available..
Shenyang has two 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.
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. Jiaozi are Chinese dumplings. This style of food is particularly popular in the north of China. Lao Bian Jiaozi, founded in 1829, is one of the most famous Jiaozi restaurants.
Churrascaria Rio's, Southern Nanjing Road (Kempinski Hotel), ☎ +86 24 22988988. A churrascaria is a Brazilian restaurant that serves meat, mostly grilled, and rodizio is a method of serving the different cuts of meat that originated in the south of Brazil in the early 1800s. Different cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, etc., in succession, are served to each diner. Rio's attracts a big theater crowd, large groups, executives and tourists. (prix fixe).
Cafe Lido (Sheraton Shenyang Lido Hotel), Quignian Street. Located in The most prestigious 5* hotel of Shenyang, the Sheraton."It is recognized as being the best Western food in Shenyang. Serving Australian beef, Mashed potatoes Irish style, Guiness meat pies, fresh fish, salads and the tastiest pastries in town. Special on Friday's Seefood 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 Jia (From the South train station head due north up Taiyuan Jie or take bus No. 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. Fans of Korean food should head here.
Mulligan's, Nanjing Bei Jie 南京北街 206 (located on the fifth floor of the Holiday-Inn Hotel). Many restaurants now brew their own beer, with surprisingly good results. This Irish pub-style restaurant has a Filipino band is playing Monday to Saturday.
Jiuba Yi Tiao Jie (Bar Street). Cheap night out can be had here. Numerous establishments along the street and, in the summer, the bars set up outdoor seating.
Don't Tell Mama (别告诉妈妈 bié gàosu mā ma), Xita Jie (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. Great ambiance. The Rendezvous for most of the Westerners in Shenyang!
Party 98 (98 俱乐部 - 98 jù lè bù), Xita Jie (西塔街), in Korea town.
Boss Club (波士酒吧 - bō shì jiǔ bā), Xita Jie (西塔街), in Korea town.
VIP Room, Xita Jie (西塔街), in Korea town.
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.
Green Mile (绿里酒吧 (lu li jiu ba)), san jing jie, yi wei lu (In a side street near the san jing jie, shi fu da lu intersection. Call if lost), ☎ 13898140138. 11 am - late. Local ex-pat bar. Inexpensive quality western food you can't get any where else. Cold beer. Strong inexpensive Cocktail. Friendly cool staff. Clean bathrooms. Full DJ set up. Frequent game nights and events.
Shenyang Zhijia Qingnian Hotel (沈阳致家青年旅馆), 13 Shenyang Lu, ☎ +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 Jie (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 Road, 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.
Wonhurg International Hotel, 35 Kunshan Zhong Lu, Huanggu District, ☎ +86 24 86285555 (fax: +86 24 86843100), . Premier business hotel with deluxe guestrooms, free Internet access, and 300-capacity ballroom. Online booking available from the official website.
Shenyang also has its share of Western 4-star properties such as Marriott, ShangRi-La, and Holiday Inn. There is a 24-hour Spa at the north train station.
Countries with a consular presence in Shenyang include Russia, South Korea, Japan and the USA. There is a North Korean consulate in Shenyang, but it is difficult to enter the country unless on an official tour. Tour operators in Dandong can arrange the visa and a tour to North Korea for people holding non-US passports at all times, and US passport holders during the North Korean 'Mass Games' in September and October of each year. Some tour agencies that can arrange tours directly from Shenyang include: