North China Travel Guide
Largely overlooked by visitors to this part of the world, North China has retained its mysterious atmosphere and feels quite different to many parts of China, making it an interesting place to explore.
North China begins just above Beijing and includes a large number of towns, cities and provinces. This area of the country can get rather cold during the winter, so it is a good idea to visit during the summer months. However, this is also when most Chinese children take their summer holidays, so it is best to book hotels and transport in popular area in advance.
North East China is usually referred to as dong bei in Chinese. Largely covered with lush forest, there are a number of natural beauty spots here such as Tian Chi, which is one of the country’s most spiritual lakes. There are three northeastern Chinese provinces; Jilan, Heilongjiang and Liaoning, all of which have a distinctly different feel.
Those who enjoy winter sports such as ice hockey, ice skating and tobogganing will want to visit northeast China during the winter. There are some great venues here for practicing sports and a number of Chinese athletes practice here before taking part in major competitions.
When it comes to eating, North Chinese cuisine has been influenced by a number of different influences such as Japanese, Russian and Manchurian and despite not being able to find a large number of international restaurants in this region of the world, North Chinese dishes are diverse enough to offer plenty of interesting options.
Although North China doesn’t have as many famous monuments and tourists attractions as other parts of the country, it is hard to beat this region in terms of natural beauty. There are dozens of prominent beauty spots to explore here such as Benxi Shuidong National Park which features a pretty river in a cavern, Changbaishan National Nature Reserve, Jingpohu National Forest Park, Qianshan National Park and Wudalianchi National Forest Park, with its luxurious health spa on site.
Those who want to spend some time in the city should head to Shenyang, which was the former Manchu capital. As well as all the colorful temples, monuments, hotels and restaurants you would expect to find in a large and vibrant city, there are a number of other interesting attractions here. Opened just last year, Royal Ocean World features a large number of aquariums and other displays such as the animal theatre known as Narnian Castle and the Century Forest, which is home to collections of reptiles.
Another interesting city in North China is Dalian, which is situated in Liaoning Province. There are a number of beaches to the south and east of the city, which are pretty places to relax and swim. The beauty of this region is that there are few Western tourists and those who arrive mid-week can almost have the beach to themselves.
Contrary to expectations, getting around North China is actually pretty simple as there are strong road and rail connections between major towns and cities. There are even four international airports here as well as several domestic airports. However, the language barrier can pose a bit of a problem and many people choose to hire a guard to make the experience of exploring go smoothly.
Getting There & Away
North China has four main international airports; Dalian, Changchun, Harbin and Shenyang. Most visitors will probably arrive in Shenyan as there are direct flights from a number of destinations such as the USA, Australia, Japan and Germany. There are regular buses and trains from Shenyan to a large number of towns and cities in north China such as Harbin (7 hours), Dalian (6 hours), and Dandong, while Beijing is an 8-hour train journey away.