Capital of Liaoning province and unofficial capital of the northeast, SHENYANG is a railway junction and banking centre that has served as host to the Manchus, Russians, Japanese, Nationalists and then Communists. The city draws domestic tourists from all over the north-east of China, and their primary focus is all too obvious: as any cabbie here will delight in telling you, Shenyang has the only other Imperial Palace in China. Constructed by Manchus before their takeover of the Ming dynasty, many visitors find it far more user-friendly than its (much larger) counterpart in Beijing.

Though you’re unlikely to need more than a couple of days in Shenyang, there are other notable sights dotted around this fast-moving city, including a stunning monument to Chairman Mao built during the frenzied height of the Cultural Revolution; the tombs of two former emperors; and architecture left over from Japan’s occupation, including a real gem of a hotel. You’ll have to time it right to enjoy another amusement: from December to February, the town hosts the Shenyang International Ice and Snow Festival – held at Qipanshan, 17km northeast of town, it’s lower-key than Harbin’s festivities, but increasingly popular.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
China travel tips: 8 things you need to know before you go

China travel tips: 8 things you need to know before you go

Even 20 years ago China was not a conventional tourist destination. Despite the allure of its beautiful landscapes and history-filled cities, politics, poverty,…

13 Jan 2017 • Simon Frank insert_drive_file Article
The roof of the world: a first-timer's guide to Tibet

The roof of the world: a first-timer's guide to Tibet

The ‘roof of the world’ has exerted a magnetic pull over travellers and adventurers for centuries. This vast, high altitude desert has spawned myths and leg…

10 Nov 2016 • Stuart Butler insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month