Backpacking China: Venture Through Liaoning Province

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China
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Welcome to Liaoning Province, China and an opportunity for you to venture out backpacking across this province located in the northeastern part of China. It was established in 1907 as a Province. It was later renamed Liaoning in 1929. The name Liaoning has had several changes over the years, the first one was in 1929, then in 1945 and lastly, it has remained as Liaoning since 1959.

 

The provincial capital of Liaoning is Shenyang. It was formerly known as Mukden. It is the largest city in Liaoning Province with a history of being one of China’s greatest industrial centers. For a backpacker, you will appreciate some interesting sites and sceneries from the Imperial Palace, museums, and parks and enjoy the view of the strategic location of the province as a transport hub. This backpacking journey is well worthwhile.

Shenyang Imperial Palace

Your backpacking trip will be incomplete without checking out the Shenyang Palace Museum. It is the second well-maintained Palace after the Imperial Palace in Beijing. It is a palace covering a huge expansive ground with 300 rooms and 20 courtyards. A trip to this palace should take you a few days if you would want to extensively cover it.

Shenyang Palace is now a museum with a history dating back to more than 400 years ago. Between 1368 and 1644, the Manchus used it for emergency purposes only. The Qing Dynasty built the palace between 1559 and 1643. It is divided into 3 sections each section has a unique aspect that combines to have a beautiful masterpiece.

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The first section is the western section where the main court is. This is where administration matters happened and where the emperors also held court and hosted visitors. The western section was later extended to have an opera stage with halls that house treasures including books. The middle section of the palace is home to the Phoenix Tower which was once considered the most important aspect of the building. It also contains a bedchamber where Emperor Abahai laid with his concubines.

The palace also exhibits strong cultural memoirs of the Man nationality. Here you will find ancient furniture, jade art crafts, ivory, musical instruments and painting from Min and Qing dynasties. Shenyang Palace Museum is open all year round and you can just grab your backpack and visit this incredible ancient palace and get a sense of the ancient cultures and dynasties of the northern part of China.

North Tomb (Zhaoling Tomb)

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The North Tomb is also known as Zhaoling Tomb located in Beiling Park. This is the place where the founder of the Qing Dynasty, Hong Taiji is buried. He lived between 1592 and 1643. You can spend a few hours here checking outbuildings with their traditional designs.

The Northern Tomb is now a park that includes other scenic attractions such as ancient buildings, lakes, and trees. The park is synonymous for its ancient Chinese architecture. Some of the sights you will enjoy viewing include arcades, columns decorated with ornaments, stone-carved animals which include the horse, camel, elephant, lion and a Chinese beast called Xezhi.

The park also boasts of gardens, walking paths, pavilions, halls, and towers. During winter when the lake freezes, you can ice skate. During summertime, one of the popular activities at the park is flying kites. What makes The North Tomb a must-visit? It has a blend of both ancient architecture and modern park designs. Here you will revel in a taste of ancient Chinese culture and modern parts of the Tomb that have been restored.

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Image by Gary Todd on flickr

Four Towers

The Four Towers were built as a result of the Manchu rulers’ desire to make their kingdom larger. In the process, they conquered Shenyang city and made it the capital city. During this time a huge palace was built and the four towers were built at the sides of the city.

The Four Towers are remains of Temples called: Yongguang found on the East, Yanshou found on the West, Guangxi found on the southern part and Falun found on the Northern part. The northern part has been well maintained while the east and south temples namely, Yongguang and Guangxi were destroyed. You can appreciate viewing monuments at the then northern tower. The western tower Yanshou was renovated in 1998.

Backpacking In Bangchuidao

Bangchuidao is a scenic area with two attractive places to explore. These include the Bangchui beach and the Bangchuidao Islet. One of the special features of this beach is the clear water and natural landscape. It is considered one of the best beaches in Dalian City. You can walk barefoot along the beach. It has two areas where one has fine sand and another has a lot of pebbles.

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Very close to the Bangchui beach is Bangchuidao Island. The place is shaped like a wooden club that ancient Chinese used it as a washing tool. The island also houses hills that are covered by pine and cypress trees. As you go about the island you will also encounter, cliffs, wildflowers, and grass all over.

You can also opt to hang around for a night and spend some time at the Bangchuidao Hotel being the only national hotel in Dalian City. The hotel is host to international functions and provides accommodation for high profile visitors during important conferences.

Yalu River Broken Bridge

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The Yalu River connects North Korea to the northeastern part of China. This bridge tells a lot of history about the Korean War. It was built for two years between 1909 and 1911 to connect Dandong to the North Korean city of Yeng Byen.

The Korean War began in 1950 and the American soldiers destroyed the bridge during the war to cut off supplies getting into North Korea. Take a walk through until where the cut off is and you get to see North Korea a few meters away. You can also take a boat ride and cross over to North Korea and view the bridge from the other side. This is a well worthwhile site to see, with a lot telling the history behind it.

Depending on what kind of activities you fancy, Liaoning has things to do for every season. Between January and February, you can enjoy ice and snow views in the landscape. This is also a time where there are festivals which you will love seeing. During April, Liaoning is scattered with peach and pink blossom flowers. The best time to visit the beachside of Liaoning is between July and August.

Beaches Liaoning Province
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Marshal Zhang’s Mansion

This mansion was built in the year 1914 and reputed as one of the first former residences of celebrities in Northeastern China. If you are into architectural history, then you should make a point of visiting this place. The mansion has connected yards that feature palace-style dwellings

Ji Di Guan – Pole Aquarium

Ji Di Guan is an aquarium featuring aquatic animals from the North and South Pole. It has a large expansive view. To visit this aquarium you must plan ahead of time to get the most out of it. The thing you need to do is book your tickets online so that when you get to the entrance you will not have to take a cue.

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In addition, sometimes it can get very crowded especially during the summer months. Take your time when you come to sightsee as you if you do it in a rush you will not enjoy the full features of the aquarium. The aquarium closes its doors to the public during winter, so it’s best to plan your tours accordingly. If you are into aquatic life and find this kind of life interesting, then this would be an interesting tour for you. There are different animal shows.

Liaoning Province has long winters and rainy summers, also, it has the shortest spring season. Depending on your preference of weather, you can choose the backpacking trip based on these season patterns. Another activity you would not want to miss out while on your backpacking trip to Liaoning Province is the festivals.

Dalian Spring Fireworks Festival

Liaoning Province
Image by Dominic Alves on flickr

In Liaoning Province, the spring fireworks festival takes place between the 2nd to the 8th of January. However, the dates are dependent on the lunar calendar. Activities include exhibitions on Ice carving, acrobatic shows, displays of fireworks and performing arts.

Another festival you cannot miss out on is the Dalian Chines Scholar Tree Blossom Affairs. This festival happens from around May 20th. Activities that happen here include kite flying competitions, dance performances, exhibitions on Chinese calligraphy. Another expo that also happens around the same time is the Dalian Commodity Export fair

Dalian International Fashion Festival

This festival happens in the first week of September. Dalian is known as the leading town of China’s fashion industry. The festival attracts local and international celebrities. It also offers a wonderful opportunity for international designers to interact with local customers. Also, you could consider going to any one of these festivals depending on the season you choose to venture through this province of China.

So there you have it some awesome places to backpack through Liaoning Province. If you have been to Liaoning, share with us in the comments below some of your wonderful experiences.

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