Although Changchun is home to some lovely parks and great people, we sometimes forget the number of amazing places that are just a few hours away. As great as any place may be, a change of scenery and exploration of neighbouring territories can be a hugely rewarding experience and my even inject you with a new motivation to explore this vast country. Here are some getaway ideas from Changchun.

Dalian

1) Dalian
I can definitely recommend Dalian for an easy change of pace. Changchun can feel like an incredibly dirty, busy, hectic industrial city and it can grind you down. When I arrived in Dalian and grabbed a taxi from the Zhoushuizi International Airport to my hotel, I thought to myself that this city reminds me a bit of Singapore (plane tickets 800 RMB Changchun-Dalian return). About 3km from the airport, I saw a well drilled team of cleaners, dusting and polishing the traffic lights. I have long since given up on second guessing China, but Dalian does have impeccably clean traffic lights and yes, the city itself is extremely clean too.

I arrived at the ‘Furama Hotel’ at 60 Renmin Road and having stayed in a number of excellent hotels in my life, this was easily one of the best. 500 RMB was a good rate per night and thanks to Agoda.com, I think I may have scored a bargain. The room was incredibly modern, tastefully opulent and everything (flat screen TV, WIFI and a Rolls Royce bathroom) was state of the art.

Dalian’s coastline is nearly 2,000 kilometers long and there are several theme parks along the coastal walkway. Tiger Beach Ocean Park is unfortunately tacky, shabby, with unsatisfied-looking vendors selling ice cream, drinks and candy floss. Golden Sandy Beach (Jinshatan Public Beach) was clean, not crowded and the water was really clear. I spotted Hans Beer Room, a Belguim beer hall, about seven minutes up the beach and this would not have looked out of place at the Oktoberfest. YY's Beer House is also worth a look; it’s situated on Aomen Lu in the old concession area of the city.  

Dongbei dining is all about seafood, but you may want to think twice about the numerous seafood stalls scattered around the city. Choose the ones that look clean and have a lot customers. Wanbao Seafood City is apparently the 'king of seafood restaurants in Dalian.' However, be warned: it comes with great service and prices to match.

Wanbao Seafood City万宝海鲜舫 View In Map
Add: 108 Jiefang Lu, Zhongshan District, Dalian, (Nearby Labor Park)
地址:大连市中山区解放路108号(近劳动公园)
Tel: 0411-39912888
Opening hours: 10:00 - 22:00

More articles about what to do and see in Dalian here.

Shenyang

2) Shenyang
The capital of Liaoning Province, Shenyang is a city filled with vitality. It is around two hours from Changchun on a high-speed train and tickets are about 200 RMB return. Shenyang has so much to offer and it has a very East-meets-West feel about it. You can visit Dongling Tomb (East Tomb), one of the two tombs from the Qing Dynasty, and then settle down for an Americano and a pain au chocolate at Starbucks on the same day.

Shenyang has a rich, although slightly macabre history, for it was in Shenyang where the Manchurian incident started the war between China and Japan that would see the Japanese occupation of all of Northeast China. 

 Located just 20 minutes from downtown Shenyang, The Benxi Water Cave National Park is a really nice place to go to get away from noisy horns and loud music in the city. The cave is adorned with a myriad of amazing stalactites, stone flowers, pillars and curtains.

Other areas of interest are Zhongshan Square where a giant statue of Mao Zedong can be found, Mount Qipanshan which is 17km north-east of the city, and the “9.18” Historical Museum of Shenyang. This museum commemorates September 18, 1935; the day Japanese forces invaded China and later occupied Shenyang and the surrounding area. It displays distressing photos that successfully capture the carnage of war.

We stayed in the popular Haiyun Jinjiang International Hotel and for 400 RMB a night for 2 people, this was a wise, comfortable choice. Good accommodation is plentiful in Shenyang; most of the Hotels downtown offer you lots of quality options, so head to the city centre for a plethora of options.

The main shopping area is in the Taiyuan Jie area, near the Traders Hotel is also with a visit. You can find lots of shops and markets selling designer clothes, souvenirs and art here. Another shopping area is Zhong Jie (more info here). For antiques and knick-knacks, you should try the Shenyang Eastern Folk Art Exchange City on Youhao Jie, which has a wide range of traditional Chinese products, like silk teapots, porcelain, carvings and jewellery.

Click here for more Shenyang-related articles. 

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Keywords: Weekend getaways Changchun getaway Changchun to Dalian trips from Changchun to Shenyang getaway ideas Changchun

1 Comments Add your comment

1

Steve Jones
comment|30553|0

Changchun is home to nothing. It's a backwater city lacking any form of culture. It totally lacks the refinement of a real city such as Harbin, Shenyang and Dalian. Even the smaller Jilin City far outshines it.

Aug 18, 2012 14:53 Report Abuse