"Benxi is........." Benxi by Lemoncactus
Benxi Travel Guide: 18 reviews and 34 photos
Venture further than North East of Beijing and you'll wander into the industrial heartland of China. Located an hour outside of the giant that is Shenyang, 5th largest city in China, is Benxi City.
With a population of just over 1 million it's a small city known briefly on a tourist itinerary because of the nearby(ish) Water Caves but perhaps should be better known for its proximity to the lovely maple-clad Closed Door Mountain.
Benxi has grown up around a massive sheet steel making factory called BenGang that once assured Benxi's infamous place on the web as a city invisible to satellite because of pollution. Though this is as much to do with the geography of a city enclosed by hills as it is to do with the factory's ample emissions. Bengang remains, irritatingly, the life blood and the death knell of Benxi.
BUT... we do get to see blue sky... sometimes.
Benxi is not a tourist destination. There's nothing in Benxi for a tourist.
The city itself is ugly and unremarkable with only one redeeming feature: Benxiren, its people. The people I've met here have been unwavering in their kindness, curiosity and frankness. This is not something you can discover in a brief visit to Benxi, where you're most likely to get ripped off by the train station taxis on your way to somewhere (anywhere!) else...
Most of the very few foreigners in Benxi are either teaching or working temporarily at Bengang... The Bengang group are usually staying at the Minzhu Hotel and I've never met a single one in 18 months here, though I see them occassionally in the hotel. The teachers work at Future English, YeZhuan (the only college in Benxi), or a couple of the other High Schools. Probably around 15 in total.
Ah yes, the Sino-Japanese (!) made delight that is Dragon Mountain Spring Beer... Probably not that good in fairness but the cheapest bottle is 1.5RMB, cheaper than water, so it's difficult to complain. There's many different kinds and I think I've tried them all and my favourite is just 3RMB a bottle (LongShanQuan TeGong)...perfect when served straight from the freezer!
- Pros:the locals, cheap beer (& living), lack of foreigners
- Cons:significant land and air pollution, dirt, noise
- In a nutshell:As difficult to leave as it was to stay!
PingDing Mountain is in Benxi (about 10 mins walk from my flat) and well known because it is the tallest hill/mountain... more travel advice
GuanMen Shan or Closed Door Mountain is a forest park. It is famous for its maple trees which every autumn turn dazzling... more travel advice
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