Tiger Mountain Great Wall, Dandong （丹东虎山长城）
Dandong, the main gateway to the DPRK, is a fascinating border city bound by its location, history, and trade to North Korea.
Having played a key role in the Korean War, it is a city where Korean influence is undeniable.
War Plane used in the Korean War
It is a third-tier city where remains of past Chinese empires mix with remnants of the Korean War and which portrays, like no other place in China, the strong ties between both countries.
With the DPRK completely sealed off to tourism, a trip to Dandong offers a unique opportunity to have close-up views of life in North Korea.
Our Dandong private tours are guided by top qualified English-speaking guides who know the city inside out. We offer this trip in either 3 or 4 star accommodation. Please contact us for a quotation as this will depend on how many travellers will join.
Our Dandong City one day tour offers you the chance to have a glimpse into modern and ancient history as well as unique views of Sinuiju city, a major trading hub, in North Korea.
Unlike the Korean Autonomous region of Yanbian in Jilin province, Dandong is not largely populated by Korean ethnic Chinese. However, given its proximity to the DPRK, size and closeness to maritime commerce, there is more visible interaction with DPRK in this part of China.
We start the day nice and early and after breakfast drive across the shores of the Yalu River, viewing North Korea, to the outskirts of town. Our destination; Tiger Mountain (Hu Shan) Great Wall (虎山长城), the most eastern extension of the Great Wall.
Overlook the DPRK from the Wall's steep steps and see its villages across the narrow stream that separates both nations.
The awe created by the fact that this Wall is at some points literally only a few meters away from North Korea, the closest point being the "One Metre Hop" (一步跨), is only beaten by the breathtaking views that there are of the DPRK and the tranquility of the scene, occasionally filled with propaganda music in the background. Sometimes this area also offers you the chance to Korean villagers and local farmers.
Next, we head to downtown Dandong to the "War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea Memorial," aka the Korean War Museum. Original weaponry and vehicles used in the tragic Korean War are exhibited here.
With US troops approaching China, the Chinese sent in their soldiers, millions of them, including Mao Ze Dong's son who never returned (see our other Dandong tour below) hence the large number of US military equipment captured.
This museum was completely renovated and now has captions in English. If you've joined us on one of our tours to North Korea, you may want to contrast it to the Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang and see how the Chinese and Korean perspectives on the war compare.
After enjoying a well-deserved filling lunch, our next treat is a boat ride along the Yalu River. Cruise between Chinese and Korean waters to the point where you go by Korean ships and boats and where you can clearly see locals getting along with their lives on the Korean port in Sinuiju city.
Summer offers a great chance to see locals bathing on the Korean side of the river. Binoculars can be rented on the boat and do not be surprised if Koreans pleasantly wave at you, as the sight of foreigners is not that common.
Night views of the pier where we will start our boat ride along the Yalu River. Please note that the boat ride will be in the daytime!
Entrance to the Yalu River Broken Bridge
After our boat ride we will walk on one of Dandong's most famous spots; the Yalu River Broken Bridge (鸭绿江断桥). Built by the Japanese in 1911 to connect Korea and China, the bridge was heavily bombed by the US during the Korean War to avoid Chinese troops from crossing over to the DPRK.
The end of the Yalu River Broken Bridge
This "half bridge" runs parallel to the Friendship Bridge that connects both countries and that we use when entering and leaving North Korea by train up until the middle of the Yalu River. Walk to the end of the Broken Bridge where you will stand face to face with Sinuiju. And, if you want an even closer peep of North Korea, there are binoculars there.
We then head to Dandong train station where we can take some pictures by Chairman Mao Ze Dong's Statue which stands tall and shows the Chinese people the way. Just a few hundred metres away, across the Yalu River and in the main square of Sinuiju city in North Korea stand two giant bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il.
This one day tour sees us meandering about 70 kilometres north of Dandong city along the Yalu River, arriving at the point where Chinese soldiers entered Korea in the Korean War. We will be able to go on the bridge used by Chinese troops, including Chairman Mao's son, Mao An Ying, who perished in the war and whose remains are in the DPRK.
Moreover, we will be able to see what life is like in small North Korean towns and villages, as the boat trip here offers incredibly close views of what seems a completely different world.
Views of the DPRK from a boat ride in Hekou Village
Check our Hekou Village Tour itinerary. This trip can be combined with our Dandong City Tour above, making it a two day tour.
Statue of Chairman Mao Ze Dong's son, Mao An Ying, in Hekou Village
What is a trip to Hekou actually like? Some of us headed up there after one of our DPRK Summer tour. Read our full tour report!