Established in 1901 as a stop on the Trans-Manchurian Railway which was being built at the time as a shortcut between the main line of the Trans-Siberian Railway and Vladivostok, Russia. Now it is more like an international marketplace where Russians cross the border in search of cheap and portable items for selling back in the Motherland.
Manzhouli has more shopping malls than some American cities of comparable size. Look around because you never know what you might see. It's a lot of fun.
Also, if you want to practice speaking Russian in China, this is the city to be in. You can also learn Mongolian here.
Although Manzhouli is a small city by Chinese standards there is lots to do there. There are at least five Russian clubs and the Chinese love to party at a club called Banana.
There are literally dozens of restaurants catering to Russians and many of them have shows with traditional and modern Russian dancing and also Chinese acrobats.
Manzhouli also has lots of funny statues around town that people enjoy taking pictures with. There are statues of Santa Claus, hip hop dancers, two men carrying a keg of beer among many others. It is amazing to see.
Regular train service to other destinations in Manchuria. The Trans-Manchurian express stops once a week on its travels to and from Moscow and Beijing.
The station is at Yidao Street.
There are plenty of taxis and buses, but you can walk most places in Manzhouli. All taxis, to anywhere in town including international bus station, cost ¥10 (Drivers did not even try to ask us for more) [July 2019]
If you come to Manzhouli, you should see a show. Every night popular nightclubs have interesting shows with Russian dancers, Chinese acrobats, singers and sometimes even Russian or Mongolian pole dancers and strip tease artists - both men and women.
You can also enjoy going to a luxurious banya or traditional Chinese bath house.
You can get a massage here and experience cupping or other aspects of traditional Chinese medicine.
You'll also want to get out to the grasslands.
The main reason Russians come here is for the cheap shopping and it can be fun and interesting to haggle with the vendors.
Also, it can be fun to walk around Manzhouli and just marvel at the Russian-inspired architecture.
You can buy plenty of matroshka dolls. Also, many places sell coins from the former Soviet Union.
Mostly however you just find the same Russian-themed kitsch for Chinese tourists, over and over again. The whole town seems to be an oversized shopping mall, but without most of the conveniences of a shopping mall.
In addition to Russian trinkets, there are also many beautiful pictures of Genghis Khan, some painted on leather. You can also get a yurt keychain to remember your time in Inner Mongolia.
Manzhouli is also a place where the big, the tall and the fat can find clothing. Because so many Russian business people come here looking to purchase things there are lots of clothes for people who don't have the typical petite Chinese body. There is a wide range of quality and prices.
You can also find furry Russian style hats and beautiful fur coats in Manzhouli.
There are so many meaty restaurants in Manzhouli: Chinese restaurants, Mongolian hot-pot restaurants, Russian restaurants, KFC. But often very difficult to find them as Google Maps is totally wrong, the town is not very walkable, nobody speaks English, and only a few speak Russian.
Naran is a Buryat restaurant near the train station and it is highly recommended and affordable too.
Shangri-La Hotel is the most expensive hotel in town and they also have quality food.
If you want something that's not overly pricey or excessively meaty, try the Korean restaurant downstairs off Wudao St just west of Haiguan Rd (one block south of Shangri-La Hotel): It has a photographic menu and reasonable prices; the bibimbap is great.
There are dozens of bars and restaurants in Manzhouli.
In late 2012, a new upscale club called Maxim opened and it is frequented by lots of Chinese, Russians and Mongolians.
Some of the top Russian bars are VIP Zona, Baikal, Marina 888 and Port. Banana has remained a popular club here for many years.
Beer and vodka are easy to find here.
There's also a Chinese/Mongolian drink called bai jo. It has been described as a Chinese vodka. However, it's quite possibly stronger than vodka and the taste, well, you don't really care about the taste do you.
Manzhouli is just south of Siberia and it gets bitter cold. (Some) People like to drink really strong alcohol.
You will also want to make sure to try the Mongolian milk tea.
Manzhouli literally has dozens of hotels. The cheaper hotels are in the Chinese part of town but you can find some good quality hotels in the Russian part of town as well. Prices vary greatly.
The Shangri La Hotel is a five-star hotel that opened in 2011 and also has some of the best food in town.
There are also lots of fancy hotels for the Russian tourists.
Cross the border to Russia (Zabaykalsk): A multi-step process 2-5hrs long from the International Bus Station NW of town. Details in a How-To blog post here including prices and schedules (updated July 2019)