Yinchuan (银川; Yínchuān) is the capital of Ningxia Autonomous Region. Located on the Yellow River, it was once the capital of the Western Xia kingdom, also called the Tangut Empire. The city has a population of around 750,000.
Yinchuan has two parts, the new city, with all of the industry, universities and colleges, is huddled around the main train station while the old city, the more livable of the two, lies 8 km to the east. Rapid growth over recent years has been quickly drawing these two distinct centers together as foreign investment grows.
Yinchuan used to serve as a trade route town that grew because of for convenient location between Western Chinese cities such as Urumqi and the Eastern ones such as Beijing and Shenyang.
Yinchuan Hedong International AirportThis small airport 25 km southeast of Yinchuan has flights to Beijing, Chengdu, Dunhuang, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xi'an, and Zhengzhou, as well as some less-major domestic destinations and a handful of international destinations.
Yinchuan Railway StationOn Xingzhou Road in the New Town, this low-speed station serves destinations such as Baotou (8 hours), Beijing (19 hours), Guangzhou (46 hours), Hohhot (11 hours), Lanzhou (9 hours), Pingliang (11 hours), Shanghai (36 hours), Xi'an (15 hours), Xining (13 hours), and Zhongwei (3-4 hours).
Yinchuan Bus Stationaddress: 189 Qinghe North Street, 清和北街189号Yinchuan's main bus station is on Qinghe North Street.
Yinchuan Tourist Bus Stationaddress: 570 Qinghe North Street, 清和北街570号Buses to most tourist destinations in northern Ningxia leave from a large bus station near the former North Gate.
Xinyue Square Tourist Bus TerminalPublic transit buses to Helan-shan, the Western Xia Mausoleums, and a few other destinations leave around 7-9am from this tiny bus station.
- leave across the square from the South Gate.
Buses ¥1-¥2, as far you can go. Also small buses, same prices, going longer distances. You can also use the back doors, tickets sold on bus. Ticket girl will ask you how far you wish to go, if you don't know she will tell you when to pay extra money.
Chengtian Temple Pagodaaddress: 121 Limin Street, Xingqing District (兴庆区利民街121号)A nice, medium sized garden area with classic Chinese buildings/architecture. The tower dominates the garden and the view from the top is one of the best you will get of Yinchuan.
Haibao Pagodaphone: +86 951-5038042address: Minzu Street North, Xingqing District (兴庆区民族北街路)Part of the Haibao Pagoda Temple (海宝塔寺). The pagoda has a murky history but is believed to have been built in the 5th century during the reign of Emperor Wulie of Xia. It was rebuilt twice during the 18th century due to damage caused by earthquakes.
Xixia Wangling National ParkWestern Xia Tombs. There are 193 tombs of high officials of the Xia Kingdom, with the three largest (5km apart) highlighted.
Ningxia Great WallThis part of the wall is in various states of decay, but maintains some impressive examples ancient masonry. The site is undeveloped and you are free to wander about/climb on it as you like. Sections of the Ningxia Great Wall originate primarily from the Ming Dynasty. It is about 1 km in length, and continues up the mountains and further out in both directions. Well worth the trip, but be forwarned, brightly coloured clothes will attract flying grasshoppers! There is nothing else around (no people, shops, etc.)its at the edge of the desert. Bring water.
Public Busaddress: Departs: Alashun Hotel and New Town bus depotFrom in front of the Alashun Hotel or at the bus depot hidden away down the street from the train station in the New Town (what once was the bus station entrance hall is a furniature store, the main station entrance looks like a small shop but is in the same building next door). Public buses going there do not have numbers but are white with blue lettering and travel between Yinchuan and Zuoqi, get off at Sanguankou (the wall is clearly visible from the highway, infact the highway goes through the wall). Just wait on the road and flag down any bus you see headed towards town to return. The last returning bus passes the wall daily at 17:50 (be on the road a few minutes early), locals may stop and offer you a ride back to town if you are waiting on the main road.
Travel Agency Tours
Helan Mountain Rock ArtThese carvings were done by Chinese nomads some 10,000 years ago. They run the gamut from portraits and totems to scenes of hunting, grazing, war and dance. Many of the trails accessing the rock art were destroyed in a flood in 2016 and have not been rebuilt as of 2018, leaving some of the most famous parts inaccessible, but there is still a lot to see. A museum displays photos of similar ancient artwork worldwide. This area is popular with wild mountain sheep (岩羊).
Helan Mountain National Forest Park (Suyukou)
Shahu LakeA large, shallow lake technically in adjacent Shizuishan City, where it is also listed, the lake has sandy islands and tufts of grass growing out of it. Scenic but extremely overdeveloped in a few places (these places can be escaped). It takes about one hour to go there by bus, then an hour or two to see the scenery, or all day if you treat it like a picnic site or amusement park. Buses leave from the north gate tourist bus station regularly until about 10:30, and a one-way ticket costs ¥15. At Shahu it's easy to find a bus back to Yinchuan.
Ningxia Museum of Science and Technology
The cityThe best thing in Yinchuan is the people and the Hui neighbourhoods, so the best option is just to take a bus in any direction and getting down in a street market or in a park. It is also recommended to go to the main square in the night where there are dances and games.
HikingAside from the trails mentioned above under Helanshan Suyukou, other parts of the mountain offer hiking. In principle, there is a trail from Suyukou to the rock art area, although this is still closed due to flood damage as of fall 2018.
Xinhua StreetThe economic centre and shopping centre of Yinchuan with many large malls and department stores and all the large clothing chains (Nike, Disney, Jack Jones, etc.) Do not expect to bargain here.
Emanuelle'sA wonderful ESL school/Christian bookstore/library/teahouse/restaurant run by one of China's top entrepreneurs. It provides a retreat from the chaos of the city and serves a variety of foreign foods. Recommended platters are the chicken curry and the beef with rice soup (which is Chinese food directed at Western tongues).
phone: +86-951-2035877address: 中国宁夏回族自治区银川市，西夏区朔方路梧桐花园北门 1-13The only real American-style pizza in Yinchuan. Owned by Robin, a Korean-Chinese man, you can find authentic home pizza. The Meat Lovers, Vegetarian and Pepperoni pizzas are all full marks. The staff speak very good English here. It is also the only restaurant in town to find Dr. Pepper. They have two locations. One is in the Old City at #278 Beijing Dong Lu, near the International Hotel (but on the opposite side of the road). It's a very small place, easily missed. The other is in the Xi Xia District (西夏区) on Shuo Fang Lu (朔方路) at the north side of Wu Tong Hua Yuan (梧桐花园), between Ningxia University and the Northern Minorities University. They deliver in New Town and Old Town Areas. The Xi Xia District location offers espresso-based specialty coffee drinks.
Napoli Italian CuisineA curious blend of western dishes and Chinese ingredients. Though it is well marketed the food in Napoli generally does not appeal to foreigners. If you are looking for something to remind you of home, you are better off finding an alternative.
UBC Coffee Housephone: +86 13895316985address: 84 Zhongshan North StreetFor when you need a Western food break.
Lian Yuan BarA well decorated bar, and the best in New Town. The staff is very relaxed and friendly, and there are unobtrusive musical performances every night starting 8PM-9PM.
Fall in Love Bar & Marry Baraddress: Hubin East StreetComfortable seating and a younger crowd, you can sit back with any of the local beers and relax.
The King Divine Luck ClubPopular club featuring dancers and a very impressive layout.
Baby FacePopular club featuring dancers and a very impressive layout.
Come BackAlthough traditional western coffee is hard to come by, this drink chain (which can be found almost everywhere in Yinchuan) sells their version of a coffee drink that can be served hot or cold. While it is still not western style coffee, it is quite good, somewhat similar to Starbucks' caramel macchiato.
Bob and Leo's BBQphone: +8613639519646address: beijing luoBob and Leo (chubby and happy twins) have some of the best BBQ chicken in Yinchuan, if not China. They both speak English and are extremely friendly. It is an outdoor grill with great selections of mutton and fish as well as a selection of vegetables. Cheap beers and the occasional expat make it a must-visit. Open late or until you stop buying beers.
Tongguan Live House 铜管现场酒吧phone: +86 138 9510 9556address: 地址：银川市西夏区801创意园内往东100米（北方民族大学对面）Laid-back rock n’ roll student bar. Imported beers and spirits. Live bands and alternative music. Hao Ting Ting is the bartender and she is very friendly, open minded and speaks English. Just as likely to see teenaged art rockers and students as grisly punks and misguided foreigners.
International Hotelphone: +86 951 6728688address: 25 Beihuan East Road
HelanShan Hotel Yinchuanphone: +86 951 2077301address: 1 Shoufang Road, Xinshi District
Kaida Hotelphone: +86 951 6021698
Ningxia Hotelphone: +86 951 5045131address: 3 Park Street
phone: +86 951 516 5888address: 160 Beijing Middle Rd, Jinfeng District