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Living in Shenyang


Located in the center of Liaoning Province on the bank of the Hun River, Shenyang has a history that stretches back thousands of years. While modern Shenyang grows bigger by the day, glimpses into the past can still be found. Cultural and historical relics, from Neolithic ruins to Qing palaces, are still well preserved.

Shenyang's Forbidden City, the Qing dynasty's first imperial palace, is a major tourist attraction that is worth a visit.  Also still standing in the city are four Buddhist pagodas that represented the cardinal points of the city in the 17th century.

Areas outside of the city also offer exciting things to do in your free time. In winter people flock to ski slopes and nearby hot springs.  Summer is the perfect time to explore the surrounding countryside on your bike or climb mountains.

Shenyang is not a tourist trap, so foreigners here enjoy a rich and authentic Chinese experience, at the same time as being able to locate the creature comforts that they have at home.

Cost of living

Unlike bigger cities like Beijing and Shanghai, Shenyang is still a very affordable city to live in. A lower cost of living means that a teacher’s salary goes further every month, leaving them free to save, spend on travel, or even send money back home.

Below is a list of prices that is representative of the prices in Shenyang. To check the prices in your local currency, please visit www.xe.com/ucc for an easy to use conversion tool.


Shenyang offers a wide range of dining experiences, from cheap meat sticks on the street to exquisite hotel buffets. Due to its history  and location in northeast China, Korean and Japanese cuisines are both well represented in Shenyang. Regional Chinese cuisines are also found in Shenyang. Spicy Sichuan and Cantonese dishes are quite popular. Western and other foreign restaurants are also widespread. Comfort foods such as New York style pizza or a nice Indian or Thai curry are favorites of our teachers. 

As a rough guide:




Cost (in RMB)

Dinner in an inexpensive restaurant


Dinner for two in a mid-range restaurant, three-course


Combo Meal at McDonald's or similar


Domestic beer (0.5 liter draught)


Imported beer (0.33 liter bottle)


Coke/Pepsi (0.5 liter bottle)




Shoppers will love Shenyang. Shops and markets cater to all tastes and budgets, from buying some groceries and Western food that’s a little rarer to buying souvenirs for friends and family back home. There are large supermarkets, Seven Eleven-style corner stores, and superb fruit and vegetable markets which offer a great range of fresh produce.

Hi-end fashion and name brands can be found on Shenyang's two popular shopping streets, Tai Yuan Street and Middle Street. Shenyang is also home to one of the world's largest wholesale markets. With a little time and a great deal of patience you can find practically everything at Shenyang's Wu Ai Wholesale Market.





Cost (in RMB)

Milk (regular), 1 liter


Loaf of bread


Eggs (12)


Cheese (1/4 kg)

35 - 40

Chicken breasts (boneless, skinless), (1kg)


Water (1.5 liter bottle)





Getting around in Shenyang can be a relatively cheap experience. Shenyang has a reliable public system of buses, and a brand new subway system. With Line 1 running east to west and Line 2 running north to south, getting across the city has never been easier. Taxis are not that expensive, but they can be hard to find just before the morning and afternoon rush hours. Of course, when the weather is nice many teachers prefer a bicycle to travel around and see the city.

Travelling out of Shenyang to other cities is also relatively easy to do – as a major transportation hub, Shenyang is connected to most other cities via planes, trains or buses. 

Sports and leisure

There’s a huge range of things to do here for teachers on their time off. There’s football, climbing mountains, swimming, tennis, cycling, badminton, ‘laser tag’, bowling, and all the usual sports clubs, as well as the specifically Chinese – kung fu, tai chi, calligraphy, learning Chinese, and so on.

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