The southernmost province in China's Dongbei (Northeast) region, Liaoning features beautiful beaches, the easternmost reaches of the Great Wall, the breezy cosmopolitan port of Dalian, Shenyang's impressive Manchu Imperial Palace, the majesty of the Benxi Water Caves and much more, including the opportunity to get a firsthand peek at one of the world's most closed nations, North Korea, which lies across the Yalu River from the fascinating Chinese border town of Dandong.
Liaoning is a rewarding destination year-round, but especially in summer months when the coastline in the vicinity of Dalian and Lushun (formerly Port Arthur) can best be enjoyed for its scenic beaches and ocean breezes. If the popular beaches are too crowded, a trip up the coast toward Dagu Shan, Dandong and the Great Wall of China at Tiger Mountain (Hu Shan) is a great way to go.
Inland, Liaoning offers fascinating glimpses into Manchu history, especially in Shenyang, where, in addition to the sprawling Manchu palace complex, tombs and pagodas testify to the city's past as the Manchu capital. Shenyang also boasts two excellent museums. The Liaoning Provincial Museum is a treasure house of Dongbei history, including samples of Shang-era oracle bones inscribed with some of the earliest examples of Chinese writing, while the September 18 History Museum memorializes the 1931 Japanese invasion of Liaoning.
Outside of Shenyang, attractions such as the temple-dotted Qian Shan (Qian Mountain) and the majestic Benxi Water Caves make for fine diversions from the cities and excellent stops on a Dalian-Dandong-Shenyang-Liaoning itinerary.
Today, though the Han population is now upwards of 80%, Liaoning, like the rest of Dongbei, retains many traces of its historical cultural diversity. Russian, Japanese and Korean influences mingle with Manchurian and Han Chinese elements throughout the province, resulting in a cultural blend that emerges in local cuisines and architecture, as well as in the faces and language of the people themselves.
The Zhao Mausoleum (Zhāo Líng, 昭陵) or North Tomb is situated amongst the expansive greens and lakes of Beiling Park (Běilíng Gōngyuán, 北陵公园), near the..
The Fu Mausoleum (Fú Líng, 福陵) or East Tomb is the final resting place of Nurhaci, the great Manchu leader and founder of the Qing state, and his wife, Empress..
On September 18, 1931, Japanese forces, who already occupied parts of Manchuria (present day Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces), blamed Chinese dissidents for the..
For a chance to clamber over the Great Wall, without having to deal with throngs of tourists, this Ming-dynasty section, which runs along the North Korean border, might be your..