Statue of General Peng De Huai
Our other Dandong tour option is not in the city centre itself. Today we trundle about 70 km north of Dandong city, meandering our way often parallel to the Yalu River that separates China and North Korea, and arrive at a fascinating little village; Hekou (河口村).
The Korean War is tangible in Hekou Village
Famous for its peaches, Hekou is also the point used by Chinese troops to enter the DPRK in the Korean War. And this is tangible once there. Model tanks, planes, bronze statues, busts, and red flags commemorate the efforts of the Chinese People's Volunteer Army in the Cold War’s first military conflict.
A little-known fact by many is that Mao Zedong's son, Mao An Ying, participated in the Korean War and perished there. His remains are still buried in the DPRK.
We start early in the morning and take our private vehicle for about an hour, through lush hills and occasionally driving parallel to the DPRK.
War plane used in the Korean War, Hekou
After arriving in Hekou, we visit the Hekou broken bridge. Decorated with bright, red flags, this bridge was used by Chinese troops to enter Korea in the Korean War. It runs roughly to the middle of the Yalu River, just where the river’s water turns Korean.
You will have the chance to take some pictures by Mao An Ying’s statue. North Korea lays in the background.
Map of Hekou and North Korea
Picture of one of travellers in Hekou. The map depicts part of the boat trip route you will take.
One of the many bridges connecting China and North Korea
Seeing locals getting on with their daily lives in rural North Korea, in areas not opened to tourists, from so close is an unforgettable experience.
Glancing at the DPRK
A surreal glimpse into a completely different land and described by many as a dreamlike experience.
Gettting closer to the DPRK
Into the mist. You can see a North Korean village in the distance. Eventually you will approach the DPRK, being extremely close to North Korean soil and having the chance to see people getting on with their everyday routines.
Views of the Hekou Broken Bridge and of North Korea
After our intriguing Yalu River boat ride, lunch will be had at the local village by the river where you will have prime views of the Broken Bridge and of the DPRK. A fabulous chance to slowly digest what we have seen so far.
We then head south and go the most eastern extension of the Great Wall; Tiger Mountain Great Wall (虎山长城).
Main Gate of Tiger Mountain Great Wall
Located to the northeast of Dandong, the Tiger Mountain Great Wall was built in the Ming Dynasty, rising steeply over Tiger Mountain (Hushan), before descending to the banks of the Yalu River, just barely metres away from North Korean soil. Intriguingly, older fortresses dating back to the Koguryo and Han dynasties have been found on Hushan (Tiger Mountain).
The Great Wall in Dandong runs up steep, offering staggering views of North Korea
The walk on the Great Wall is steep at parts, and worth every single effort. As you reach its peak, the views of North Korean villages and fields, sometimes filled with propaganda music in the background, remind one that distance is not an essential factor when it comes to being worlds apart. You will then descend to the shores of the Yalu River, where you will be a few meters away from North Korea. The narrowest point being the “One Metre Hop” (一步跨).
We usually combine our Hekou Day Tour with a visit to the Great Wall. But please note that we can arrange other options instead in Dandong city, such as a visit to the Yalu River Broken Bridge in the city centre or to the War Museum.
We then drive to downtown Dandong where we will have time to pose for some pictures in front of Chairman Mao’s giant statue by the train station before ending our tour.
If you prefer to see downtown Dandong, then please see our Dandong City Tour below. You can also combine both tours.
Statue of Chairman Mao Ze Dong's son, Mao An Ying, in Hekou Village