Since coming to China I have somehow had very limited time to wander around the city. Always being busy with something for work and school, I have tried my best to keep the traveller side of me under control so that I do not fall behind with my new responsibilities as a teacher.
But that all went to shit last weekend, as I spent the entire weekend visiting Shenyang.
As soon as my Friday class was over, I quickly packed my things and made my way to the Changchun train station (an experience that deserves an article of its own, which I will write very soon), and booked a ticket to Shenyang.
The city of Shenyang is located in the north-eastern part of China. Although it is a city which sees its fair share of local tourists and expats from neighbouring regions, it did not seem as a big destinations for travellers (at least, I did not see many), but one which fully deserves a visit for a day or two.
Beiling Park / Zhao’s Mausoleum
My first stop on Saturday morning was at the impressive Beiling Park, where Zhao’s mausoleum and the tomb of the second Qing emperor are located.
The park covers a ridiculously massive 3.3 million m². As you enter the park, a massive array of flower decorations adorn the small road leading to the tomb buildings.
The distance from the park’s entrance to the tomb is a bit more than 1KM. If you’re not into walking, you can hitch a ride in one of the park’s many transport carts for 5CNY. Along the way, many lakes, forests, and a few gardens can be seen and form a great many spots where one can relax.
As you continue your walk, an imposing statue of Huang Taiji, the second Qing emperor, appears along the way. As you get closer, you walk along a path with statues of animals along the sideways and finally, the main temple complex.
The temple is surrounded by walls with a small tower at each corner, with bigger towers standing tall at the end of the north and south gate. The views from these walls beat any views from the bottom. The yellow roofs and the green surroundings, with the temple in its very center, make for an extremely beautiful sight.
Shenyang Imperial Palace
An UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mukden Palace (as it is also known) was built to resemble the Forbidden City in Beijing. The architecture of the Imperial Palace resembles the one found at Zhao’s Mausoleum. It is here that Qing emperors would call their home for a period of time each year.
In addition to the beautiful structures and buildings, the museum displays some beautiful relics from the Ming and Qing dinasty era.
The exterior of the palace has some old-buildings-turned-into-commerces, and it is worth a stroll in the surroundings.
Marshal Zhang’s Mansion
A few blocks from the Shenyang Imperial Palace is the former mansion of marshal Zhang Xueliang, a patriotic hero during the anti-Japanese war era, very often quoted as being the reason for the revolution and liberation of the Chinese people. He became the ruler of northeast China at only 27 years of age back in 1928.
The mansion is more of a building complex, displaying Siheyuan and Euro style buildings. At the entrance of the walled mansion complex stands an imposing statue of marshal Zhang Xueliang. As ordinary as the statue looks, Chinese locals line up to have their picture taken with the statue.
Western Style Restaurants & Bars
If you’re missing the familiar or have an appetite for good western food, head to the Shenhe District near the American Consulate and the Korean Consulate General.
On Nansanjing Jie (street), a few western restaurants and bars line up in this alley.
Try Famous restaurant, located at the very end of this street, for some of the BEST burgers and chicken wings in all of China. Crisp bread and a very generous patty of meat along with a friendly ambience and some craft beer, all for a reasonable price, made this one of my favorite eateries in Shenyang.
Not far from Famous is Lenore’s, an indie pub selling both craft and local beers. The interior is decorated with graffitti, paintings and photographs. Although it is a western style bar and apparently popular with foreign students, it was mainly friendly locals that made the biggest part of the crowd the day I went.
My favorite bar in Shenyang had to be Glasgow, one block south of Nansanjing Jie on Shi Si Wei Road, the perfect place to meet other expats and locals alike. There is a special every night, like a pint of Tiger beer for only 10CNY. The bartenders are really friendly and will go out of their way to make sure you’re having a good time.
Had you heard of Shenyang? This relatively “small” city of about 7 million people packs much to do. What are your thoughts about visiting Shenyang?