Yinchuan (银川; Yínchuān) is the capital of Ningxia Autonomous Region. Located on the Yellow River, it was once the capital of the Western Xia Empire. Currently the city has a population or around 750,000.
Nicknamed the Phoenix City, Yinchuan is a rising northwest Chinese industrial city and the capital of Ningxia Autonomous Region. Being one of a very few parts of China where an ethnic minority (Hui people) hold the power of governance, it is a treasure of Chinese-Muslim culture.
Yinchuan has two parts, the new city, with all of the industry, universities and colleges, is huddled around the main train station while the old city, the more livable of the two, lies 8 km to the east. Rapid growth over recent years has been quickly drawing these two distinct centers together as foreign investment grows.
Yinchuan historically served as a trade rout town made large for its convenient location between Western Chinese cities such as Urumqi and the Eastern ones such as Beijing and Harbin.
Yinchuan People's Airport (IATA: INN) is 25 km from Yinchuan and has flights to Beijing, Chengdu, Dunhuang, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xian, and Zhengzhou.
Yinchuan Railway Station (银川火车站; Yínchuān Huǒchēzhàn) is on Xingzhou Road in the New Town.
- Baotou - takes about 8 hours
- Beijing - takes about 19 hours
- Hohhot - takes about 11 hours
- Lanzhou - takes about 9 hours
- Pingliang - takes about 11 hours
- Shanghai - takes about 36 hours
- Xian - takes about 15 hours
- Xining - takes about 13 hours
- Zhongwei - takes about 3-4 hours
Long-Distance Bus Station is across the square from South Gate.
- Baotou - takes about 14 hours
- Guyuan - takes about 5-7 hours
- Lanzhou - takes about 7 hours
- Taiyuan - takes about 15 hours
- Xian - takes about 11-14 hours
- Yanan - takes about 8-12 hours
- Zhongwei - takes about 2-4 hours
- West Pagoda (Xita), (In the middle of Old Town). A nice, medium sized garden area with classic Chinese buildings/architecture. The tower dominates the garden and the view from the top is one of the best you will get of Yinchuan. Currently closed until the H1N1 scare is past. ¥8 to go to the top of the pagoda.
- North Pagoda (Beita), (A bidt outside the Old Town you will have to take a taxi to get there).
- The Western Xia Tombs. These are 193 tombs of high officials of the Xia Kingdom.
- Ningxia Great Wall, (Approx 60km southwest of the New Town). This part of the wall is in various states of decay, but maintains some impressive examples ancient masonry. The site is undeveloped and you are free to wander about/climb on it as you like. Sections of the Ningxia Great Wall originate primarily from the Ming Dynasty. It is about 1km in length, and continues up the mountains and further out in both directions. Well worth the trip, but be forwarned, brightly coloured clothes will attract butterflies! There is nothing else around (no people/shops/etc)--its at the edge of the desert. Bring water.
- Public Bus, Departs: Alashun Hotel and New Town bus depot. 5:00-18:00. From in front of the Alashun Hotel or at the bus depot hidden away down the street from the train station in the New Town (what once was the bus station entrance hall is a furniature store, the main station entrance looks like a small shop but is in the same building next door). Public buses going there do not have numbers but are white with blue lettering and travel between Yinchuan and Zuoqi, get off at Sanguankou (the wall is clearly visible from the highway, infact the highway goes through the wall). Just wait on the road and flag down any bus you see headed towards town to return. The last returning bus passes the wall daily at 6PM (be on the road a few minutes early), locals may stop and offer you a ride back to town if you are waiting on the main road. ¥8.
- Travel Agency Tours. ¥300.
- Shahu Lake, . It takes about one hour to go there by bus. Buses leave from the bus station regularly and a one-way ticket cost ¥15 in July 2010. At Shahu it's easy to find a bus back to Yinchuan.
- Motorcycle Tourist Festival, . Late June.
Eight Treasures Tea is a muslim specialty and in good supply around Yinchuan. Wolfberries found in Yinchuan are said to be the best in the world.
- Xinhua Street, (At the center of Old Town, along the walking mall and other large squares). The economic centre and shopping centre of Yinchuan with many large malls and department stores and all the large clothing chains (Nike, Disney, Jack Jones, etc). Do not expect to bargain here.
- Emanuelle's. A wonderful ESL school/Christian bookstore/library/teahouse/restaurant run by one of China's top entrepreneurs. It provides a retreat from the chaos of the city and serves a variety of foreign foods. Recommended platters are the chicken curry and the beef with rice soup (which is Chinese food directed at Western tongues).
- Uncle Robin's American Pizza. The only real American style pizza in Yinchuan. Owned by Robin, a Korean-Chinese man, you can find authentic home pizza. The Meat Lovers, Vegetarian and Pepperoni pizzas are all full marks. The staff speak very good English here. It is also the only restaurant in town to find Dr. Pepper. They have two locations. One is in the Old City at #278 Beijing Dong Lu, near the International Hotel (but on the opposite side of the road). It's a very small place, easily missed. The other is in the New City (西夏区) between Ningxia University and the Northern University for Ethnics. They deliver in New Town and Old Town Areas. A pizza costs between ¥50 and ¥60 and serves two people (Pizza Hut size). A can of Dr. Pepper,, Mountain Dew, or Root Beer costs ¥15. (Prices from July 2010.).
- Napoli Italian Cuisine. A curious blend of western dishes and chinese ingredients. Though it is well marketed the food in Napoli generally does not appeal to foreigners. If you are looking for something to remind you of home, you are better off finding and alternative.
- UBC Coffee House (Shangdao Kafeiting), 84 Zhongshan North Street, ☎ +86 13895316985. For when you need a Western food break thats consistant wherever you are.
- Lian Yuan Bar, (Located a couple blocks south of Xixia District commercial center (look for the KFC sign)). A well decorated bar, and the best in New Town. The staff is very relaxed and friendly, and there are unobtrusive musical performances every night starting 8PM-9PM. The drinks here are a little more expensive than some other places.
- Fall in Love Bar & Marry Bar, Hubin East Street (Near all the main hotels). Boasting comfortable seating and a younger crowd, you can sit back with any of the local beers and relax.
- The King Divine Luck Club (Kadilong). Popular club featuring dancers and a very impressive layout. Booths and box seats have a higher minimum purchase.
- Baby Face. Popular club featuring dancers and a very impressive layout. Booths and box seats have a higher minimum purchase.
- Come Back. Although traditional western coffee is hard to come by, this drink chain (which can be found almost everywhere in Yinchuan) sells their version of a coffee drink that can be served hot or cold. While it is still not western style coffee, it is quite good, somewhat similar to Starbucks' caramel macchiato.
- International Hotel, 25 Beihuan East Road, ☎ +86 951 6728688 (fax: +86 951 6711808).
- HelanShan Hotel Yinchuan, 1 Shoufang Road, Xinshi District, ☎ +86 951 2077301 (fax: +86 951 2077075).
- Kaida Hotel, ☎ +86 951 6021698.
- Ningxia Hotel, 3 Park Street, ☎ +86 951 5045131 (fax: +86 951 5044338).