Does anyone have any info on visiting rural parts of Liaoning (NE China)
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Oct 4, 2013 11:07 PM Last Post By: JuleR
Jun 24, 2013 8:02 AM
Does anyone have any info on visiting rural parts of Liaoning (NE China)hi all,
we are looking to experience some more rural parts of China, to get out of the major cities. We'll be heading out of Beijing into the state of "Liaoning" towards Shenyang. A few questions are of concern:
1. If we just turn up in a town that rarely sees westerners, will we be turned away from guesthouses? In cities we've already been told by some that they only accept Chinese citizens, which is ok if we have a massive selection of other options, but not so good in a small town with little choice.
So, are rural hotels more likely to ignore the rules and take our money, or will we end up sleeping on a park bench?
2. Does anyone have any recommendations for places they have visited in the region that are cheap and "Less travelled"?
any other thoughts on visiting this part of China would also be appreciated :-)
Jun 24, 2013 8:34 AM
1There is always the potential of being turned away at guest-houses; they is always the potential that they'll ignore rules and take your money as well.
Rural parts of Liaoning.... Hmmmm... Xinbin is interesting. Manchu "autonomous" county. Qing tombs and a mansion to visit. Quite pretty in the Spring and Summer (Hideous in the winter).
Dandong is nice. On the North Korean border. Bit of the Great Wall. Not really rural and not really that "less travelled" I admit.
Sankeyushu is pretty (In Jilin, true, but let's not split hairs). End of the Qin/Han Great Wall. No guesthouses to be turned away from.
Jun 25, 2013 2:44 AM
I have little travel experience in Liaoning, but plenty of travel experience around China. You will never have to sleep on a park bench. The rules about where foreigners can and can't sleep in China vary ENORMOUSLY from town to town. In some towns, every hotel will happily accept you. In the next town down the road, in can be really difficult to find something. In some towns, only more expensive places will accept you. In others, only cheaper places will accept you. It really makes no sense whatsoever. But you should always be able to find something, though sometimes you'll have to pay a little more than what you might want, or you'll have to stay in a rougher hotel than you'd necessarily want. Speaking a bit of Chinese helps enormously: on several occasions I've turned up at hotels and been refused a room, but by speaking to them and explaining myself a little, I've convinced hotel staff to put me up. On only one occasion in China did I ever completely fail to find something within my budget (at that time I couldn't speak a word of Chinese), and then I managed to find a bed in a 24-hour spa, rather than having to sleep on the street!
As for specifics, I don't know too much about Liaoning, but here are some ideas that take you into neighboring provinces:
1. Dandong's an interesting city, and sees fairly few foreign tourists (though there was one foreign-run cafe in town when I visited). It's not rural at all, but you can take a trip from here to the small town of Ji'an (in Jilin Province). Ji'an's really lovely. It's right on the Korean border, and surrounded by picturesque farmland. The bus trip from Dandong to Ji'an is on small roads through pretty countryside. Ji'an played an important role in Korean history, and so there are a few Korean bus tours that pass through town; but it's not very touristy at all, and the locals aren't very used to seeing Westerners. From here, you could keep following the Korean border if you wanted. Apart from Changbaishan, the region sees few Western tourists.
2. Ulanhot, in Inner Mongolia, is one of the towns I've been in China where I've gotten the most amount of attention. Westerners seem to very, very rarely turn up in Ulanhot. There's little to see - the town's one attraction is the world's only "Genghis Khan Temple", but it's an interesting place to experience a slice of "very less travelled" China. (there are also delicious donkey dumplings). From Ulanhot, you could continue north via Arshan to Dongxi, following the road close to the Mongolian border. This is a sparsely populated region with few tourists or any kind, and plenty of scope for exploring the countryside.
Just a couple of tips.
Jun 25, 2013 8:19 AM
3I've spent a LOT of time in this area (Nigh on 10 years based in eastern Jilin/Heilongjiang/Liaoning). That's why I'm the Manchurianexile.
If you wanted to, you could do a big, sweeping circuit from Shenyang down to Dandong by train then bus from Dandong up to Ji'an, nip over the hill to Tonghua by either bus or train (The train is slow but the scenery will be great), then take in Sankeyushu (If you feel so inclined) and then onto Xinbin on your way back to Shenyang.
Dandong is a pretty little town (Particularly nice in autumn) and the train from Shenyang passes through (Or used to) so beautiful paddies. I've never gone from Dandong to Ji'an myself. But, if the road goes along the Yalu river, it's bound to be nice. The drive over the hill between Ji'an and Tonghua is lovely. The train would, likely, be better. Sankeyushu is a real farming village. There is a restaurant and, I believe, a few houses offering home-stay type accommodation (They won't turn anyone away) but that is about it. Access is via bus from Kuaidamao or taxi. Xinbin, as I said earlier, is nice in the spring and summer.
Jun 26, 2013 11:29 PM
4I have, for the last seven years, lived in Liaoning and travelled around the province extensively. You will find that the guest houses in small towns don't care much for the regulations. Since they don't get many foreigners, the police won't be checking. If you are turned away, it is more likely because they don't speak English and think accommodating you would be a hassle. If you speak Chinese or have a Chinese companion, then things should go just fine. Do remember you ID or passport for checking in. You are more likely to have problems with the rules in large cities than in the countryside but of course, in the large cities you have a choice of other hotels.
Liaoning has quite allot of places to go and see, most of which are little visited by foreign tourists but the do get heavy traffic by the local Chinese tourists. Especially so during holiday periods of the first week in May and first week in October. Also Liaoning tourist attractions tend to be expensive. Entry fees of 150 to 300 RMB per person can be found at some sites such as Panjin Red Beach or Benxi Water Cave. Below are some poplar and high quality sites that I have visited and would recommend.
Jiumenkou Great Wall
Guanmenshan National Forest Park
Qipanshan Scenic Area
Qianshan National Park Scenic Tourist Attractions
Panjin Red Beach Scenic Area
Eastern Start of the Great Wall
Wunu Shan Mountain Scenic Area
If you really want to get away form the crowds, head over to the east of Lioaning to Pikou near Dalian. From here you can get ferries to the nearby islands. The largest of these, Dachangshan Island, is a popular tourist destination that few foreigners even know exists. The other smaller islands are less well travelled and can guarantee seclusion and authentic rural lifestyles.
Edited by: Rincewind42
Jun 27, 2013 4:12 AM
Oct 4, 2013 11:07 PM
6Have you done your trip yet? Probably. In any case I can assure you (and other readers) that the bus trip b/w Dandong and Jian (or Ji'an) is very scenic, often straddling the North Korean border.
I plan to write a fuller report here but first will hunt down my records of Guest house phone numbers: Lonely Planet's last China Guide had an incorrect phone number for the small hotel they recommended in one of Jian's main streets. However, I found it when I arrived and spent a night there after staying at the bigger hotel up the road. I much preferred this smaller place - cheaper, more relaxed and helpful, and with more cheerful rooms and reasonably good beds for China.
Ji'an, surrounded by a ring of hills where there are lovely mountain parks, was a relaxing place to visit - a small town by Chinese standards, with a world heritage site, a new museum and you can gaze at North Korea across the river. I didn't see a single westerner in my 2 days - just lots of pretty relaxed locals, inviting me to join them in their regular evening dance and song in the park.
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