Of the Dongbei provinces, LIAONING (辽宁, liáoníng) has the most to see; there’s also a pleasing amount of variety to proceedings. The thriving port of Dalian sports cleaned-up beaches, a cliffside drive, and restored Russian and Japanese neighbourhoods. Whoosh north by high-speed train and you’ll soon arrive in Liaoning’s capital, Shenyang, home to China’s second Forbidden City – the restored Manchu Imperial Palace – and the tombs of the men who established the Qing dynasty. Head southeast and you’ll eventually hit Dandong, the country’s window on North Korea, which features a promenade on the Yalu River and a fascinating Korean War museum.

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