My trip to China was by far, one of the best trips I have ever been on. It’s also the furthest I have ever traveled solo. Well, solo as in I flew there on my own but I actually went to visit one of my really good friends, who was working in Shenyang at the time. It was just the best way to reunite and catch up since I hadn’t seen her in so long.
So as you guys probably saw from my title, the city that I went to visit was Shenyang, which is the capital and the biggest city of the Liaoning Province located in the northeast region of China. I really didn’t know what to expect but one thing was for certain, I was beyond excited! I thought I’d take you guys along and do a roundup of all the places I visited during my stay there which was actually for ten days in total. I also went to Beijing within those ten days, so I can’t wait to show you all what we got up to in a future post.
Without further ado, here are some ideas on fun things that you can do in Shenyang, China:
- Mukden Palace
- Xingshun International Tourist Night Market
- Shenyang nightlife
- Shopping in Joy City
- Fashion underground business street
- Relax in Beiling Park
- Enjoy a Shenyang massage
The Mukden Palace was built in 1625 and is known as the former Imperial Palace for Qing Dynasty. It is actually one of two royal complexes that still exist in China today so it’s well worth a visit if you’re ever in Shenyang. The Manchu architecture is absolutely incredible and exhibits a richness in its history. To this day, the palace is currently comprised of:
- Dazheng (Grand Politics) Hall
- Shiwang (Ten Princes) Pavilion
- Chongzheng (Golden Chimes) Hall
- Fenghuang (Pheonix) Chamber
- Qingning (Pure Tranquility) Pavilion
Even after centuries, I loved seeing how much of the fine details of the palace were still in their pristine condition. It felt like hopping on a time capsule and stepping back in time. Today, the palace has been converted into a museum that spans an area of 60,000 square metres so yup, there’s definitely a lot to see!
Xingshun International Tourist Night Market
Yoooo I loved this night market so much! There were obviously a lot of people there but you know I really wasn’t mad at all. I think TieXi Guang Chang metro station is the closest metro station here, with exit A being the best exit to take that would take you as close as possible to the night market. The atmosphere was absolutely buzzing and it was just so fun exploring all the different local street food. Some were an absolute hit for me, while others were more for those with uhh, slightly braver stomach linings than mine.
Some of the market stalls also sold some hand made items which was cute. There was even a market booth that had a lady selling hand made flower crowns, mega cute!
Being the foodie and forever hungry tourist that I am, what got me super excited was all the local street food, which as I mentioned earlier, were somewhat interesting… to say the least. The food offering ranged from your standard skewered meats and seafood gems like:
- Squid (my fave!)
All the way to their more unique selection of street food such as:
- Lamb testicles
- Insect lollipops
…and pretty much just a wild assortment of bugs, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous.
This is another ‘must see’ if you’re in Shenyang, especially to the foodie community of the world. This place will definitely give you and your bellies a great time.
So this part of the trip was actually surprising because I honestly didn’t even think to consider planning this into our trip at all. It just sort of…happened. And oh my goodness it was liiiiiit! The nightlife in Shenyang was so good and we actually ended up going out OUT during my stay there. One of the bars we went to even had a live band from the US, hyping up the crowd doing covers on various mainstream urban tunes from the likes of Trey Songz, Nicki Minaj and Usher. Our first night out in the town was actually hosted by someone my friend knew, who also knew the band who performed that night and we all literally hung out all night long and didn’t get home until broad daylight. Everyone was so nice and I loved meeting so many people from different places all over the world.
Shopping in Joy City
Joy City is a huge shopping mall in downtown Shenyang and is another place that’s really good to visit if you’re in the area, just so you can also experience the hustle and bustle that goes on in the very heart of the city. The shopping mall has a great variety of both high-street-type of stores like Zara for instance, as well as various designer stores, so if shopping is your motive, this place is a winner.
Meanwhile for me, I wanted to explore the area, including some of the backstreets which were fun to wander about in. Funny story though, my friend actually had work on the day I wanted to visit Joy City and since I was feeling particularly adventurous that day, I told her I’d go and explore on my own for the afternoon. Now in Shenyang, there are barely any English signs at all and I never came across any taxi drivers during my stay there that could speak or understand English. I didn’t let that stop me though because you know sis, that’s just how I roll. So my friend recorded her home address on my phone so that I could just play the recording back to the taxi driver. Luckily, that little hack worked and I got home just fine. I mean I was definitely breaking a sweat or two in the backseat of my taxi all the way back to my friend’s place hoping and praying I can actually find my way back home, which I did so, hallelujah.
Oh I did have a cute moment I wanted to tell you guys as well. So I went shopping in Monki and found this print maxi dress that I absolutely lived for and still do. The girl at the cash desk was really friendly but because of our language barrier we just sort of nodded and smiled at each other as I was paying for my dress. As I was walking off I looked at my receipt and saw that I got a 10% discount and next to it says ‘smile’. How lovely right? For a place called ‘Joy City’ I certainly left the place with a little more joy than what I arrived with.
Fashion underground business street
This place was pretty cool. It’s basically a super long tunnel-like underground market that sells a wide variety of things, from clothes to bags, all the way to food and drinks. We wandered around here for a couple of hours and this place kinda reminded me of a somewhat similar market set-up in the Philippines called ‘Greenhills Shopping Centre’. Both have a lot of market stalls, all of which where you can negotiate your way to some pretty good bargains, no matter what you’re buying.
Beiling Park is a lovely park in Shenyang, which is the perfect spot to take a break, rest and unwind from exploring the rest of the city. It boasts many historic buildings as well as beautiful lakes, flower gardens and pine trees, so it’s all incredibly serene!
It’s known to also house the tomb of the second Qing Emperor, Huang Taji, so not only will you get to relax and take a leisurely stroll around the park, you’ll also get to to rewind back in time and learn so many new things about China’s history.
Enjoy a massage
Just like the Philippines, Shenyang had an offering of very good massage spas which are so much more affordable in comparison to the spas we have here in England. I think I actually ended up going there for a couple of times during my stay there, once at the beginning of the trip and another literally hours before I was due to leave for the airport to fly back home. That was a bit of a risky game as I actually fell asleep after my final massage in Shenyang, but I was thanking the heavens my girl was there to wake me up in time to quickly run back home, shower and catch my flight later on in the afternoon. Risky, but totally worth it. Just beware of the language barrier and ensure not to hesitate letting them know if the pressure is too much on your body. There was a brief moment where they were massaging my stomach, lol. I felt like my liver and pancreas were being squished inside so I had to sort of signal for them to tone down the pressure a little bit. I actually can’t remember the actual name of the spa we went to but many people will tell you that overall, spas around Shenyang are very VERY good (and affordable)!
So there we have it, seven super fun things things to do in Shenyang. I really loved my stay here and I would honestly go back again and maybe explore another part of China this time? Time will tell. There’s just so much more to see and lots more to experience, so China, we’re just getting warmed up. I can’t wait to visit you again.
What about you guys, have you visited any part of China before? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear your stories and your recommendations on where to go next.