Getting to the Benxi Water Caves in Liaoning, China
The Benxi Water caves is a partly submerged “river” full of cave structures. Cave structures being things like stalactites and stalagmites. I read on the internet that it is the longest karst cave system in the world. The discovery of the one in Palawan might beat it though. It is possible that they are different types so hold their own individual records.
In any case, to get to the Benxi Water Caves you could take an organized tour group. Usually, this is easier, but it is not always the case in China. Most of the tour companies target Chinese tourists. Instead, here is how to get the Benxi Water Caves by public transport. It will also give you a look inside.
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Getting to Benxi
I went to Benxi from Panjin. It was a single train ride away. Of course, you can figure out train connections from anywhere in China. If you want to fly, the closest airport is Shenyang. A bus from Shenyang to Benxi is a 90-minute ride.
When I got off at Benxi the train station was under construction, so it was not obvious that it was Benxi. The first person that asked me for a hotel I took. I did not bargain. It was 50rmb for a basic room, which I’m sure I could have gotten for 30rmb. I ended up paying 70rmb for the one with a computer. It was pretty close to the train station, down a dingy alley.
Getting To the Benxi Water Caves
I met with the husband of Grace, whom I met on Couchsurfing.org. He helped me get to the bus station. We took a taxi which cost 8rmb.
You can catch the #19 from Shifu Jie to the bus station. Shifu Jie is across the road from the train station.
Once at the bus station, buy a ticket for the Water Caves (本溪水洞国家公园) from the left of the main part of the station. Between ICBC and Unicom. 11rmb. The bus to get to the Benxi Water Caves leaves from outside that office and runs very often.
The stop for the caves is not obvious but the driver calls it out so pay attention. You get dropped off at the side of the road. Go through the bushes and over the parking lot to the ticket office. It costs 165rmb to enter which includes shuttle use.
Inside the Benxi Water Caves
I’ve been to caves before, but this one was awesome as it is the longest underwater cave system in China. You do a little walk, then get on a boat for about 40 minutes. They talk in Chinese, but there are signs in English. They’ve named all the formations to what they look like. At the start, there’s some tacky dinosaurs and stuff. The boat ride is good, even if I couldn’t understand the tour guide.
After the boat ride, you can climb the mountain and walk around the general area. There’s also a museum. I spent about 4 hours there.
Getting Back From the Benxi Water Caves
I took a shared car back. It cost 20rmb (I didn’t bargain). It can drop you at the train or bus station. I got off at the bus station to have a look around. At 4:00pm I met with Grace and her husband and they took me for Korean BBQ. It was a massive meal. I slept well that night on their very comfortable couch. They were great hosts.
Getting to Shenyang Airport
I caught a plane from Shenyang back to Guangzhou. Grace guided me since she was going to visit her parents there anyway.
The bus from Benxi to Shenyang was about 25rmb and leaves very often. It was a 90-minute ride.
Once in Shenyang we went for a small walk, ate duck tongue, and got the shuttle to the airport which cost 17rmb. Buy the ticket from the CAAC bus station. You can get there by taxi or city bus 237. It’s close to where the bus from Benxi drops you, but I wouldn’t know how to walk there.
On that flight I saw 2 things from the plane that I’ve never seen before:
- Another plane in flight.
- Fireworks from above, coming into Guangzhou at night.
Accommodation in Liaoning
Liaoning is the closest city to the Benxi Water Caves and is the best place to crash for the night. While in Liaoning I stayed in a dingy “hotel” and then with Couchsurfing host. If you don’t like the sound of either of those options, you can book something else using the form below.
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I had a great time at the Benxi Water Caves. Traveling in China is always a bit of an adventure so the journey to get there was cool too.
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