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Liaoning

Travel Guide Asia China Liaoning

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Introduction

Liaoning is one of the three provinces in northeastern China which were traditionally known as "Manchuria". The three biggest cities, and tourist attractions, are the capital Shenyang (former capital of the Manchu empire, before they conquered the rest of China), the modern port city of Dalian, and Dandong, on the North Korean border. Many tourists pass through Liaoning on their way to Harbin's ice festival, or to catch a ferry to South Korea or Shandong. But Liaoning is worth a visit in its own right.

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Geography

Liaoning is bordered by Jilin province to the north, Inner Mongolia to the northwest, Hebei to the southwest, the Bohai and Yellow Seas to the south, and North Korea (across the Yalu River) to the southeast. It includes the Liaodong peninsula, with Dalian and Lushun at its tip. The centre of the province is a wide plain, with the Liao River running through it. Low mountains run southwest to northeast on either side of the plain.

With an area of over 150,000 square kilometres, Liaoning has a population of over 42 million people. The population is mostly Han Chinese, but there are many Koreans and Manzu (Manchu) as well. There are some natural areas, but most of the province is used for agriculture. Industry in Liaoning is well developed, especially in Shenyang and Dalian.

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Cities

The three largest cities are Shenyang, Dalian and Dandong.

  • Shenyang - The capital of Liaoning province, Shenyang is a huge city of over 8 million people. It was once an imperial capital of the Manzu (Manchu) empire, and the Shenyang Imperial Palace is a UNESCO world heritage site. Aside from the Imperial Palace (which will disappoint anyone who has seen the Forbidden City in Beijing), there is little of interest in Shenyang, which is a rather grim and ugly industrial city.
  • Dalian - Dalian is a young city, by Chinese standards. It was founded by the Russians, as the terminus of the Trans-Manchurian Railway. As an ice-free port it was very strategic. It was later captured by the Japanese, and returned to the U.S.S.R. at the end of World War II. It was only returned to China in 1955. You can still see the Russian influence in 'Russian Street' in downtown Dalian, and in many of the old squares. Russian tourists still come to Dalian to enjoy its beaches. Today, Dalian is a city of about 3.6 million people (the larger sub-provincial area has 6.2 million inhabitants). It is home to many Japanese, Korean, European and American factories (including Intel), with an emphasis on high tech, low polluting industries, which makes it one of the cleanest cities in China. There is a large population of South Koreans, Russians, and other expats in the city, making it appear quite modern and cosmopolitan. There are many Korean restaurants, and restaurants, stores and bars which cater to other foreigners.
  • Dandong - The main attraction in Dandong is the border with North Korea, and it is well worth a look. There are brief half-hour-long cruises on the Yalu River, which will let you get up close to the North Korean shore. A couple of bridges span half the distance to North Korea and stand as memorials to "American aggression" during the Korean war (the U.N. forces bombed the Korean side of the bridges). There is also a short section of the Great Wall, which was "reconstructed" recently.

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Weather

The climate of Liaoning is temperate, with warm to hot summers and cold winters. Dalian, in the southern tip of the province, has a more maritime climate, with warm - not hot - and humid summers and less cold winters. Summer temperatures in Liaoning average 24 °C, and -10 °C in the winter. Winters are very dry, but even in the warmer months Liaoning sees only moderate rainfall, except for some coastal areas which are more influenced by monsoon-like weather in July and August.

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Getting There

By Plane

By Train

There are trains to all major cities of Liaoning. Several daily trains connect Shenyang and Dalian with Beijing and Harbin. Trains between Beijing and Pyongyang travel via Shenyang and Dandong, but in order to cross the border you need to arrange visa and guides beforehand.

By Car

Major highways connect Shenyang, Dalian and Dandong to other parts of China.

By Boat

Dalian is a major international seaport, and ferries go to Incheon in South Korea, as well as daily to Weihai and Yantai in Shandong Province, and less regularly to Tanggu (the port of Tianjin) and Shanghai.

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Getting Around

By Train

Trains connect Shenyang with Dalian and Dandong.

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This is version 6. Last edited at 7:55 on Aug 23, 10 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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