Once an obscure port tucked away in the corner of Liaoning province at the confluence of the Yalu River and the Yellow Sea, DANDONG is now a popular weekend destination for Chinese and South Koreans, who come to gaze across the river at the listless North Korean city of Sinuiju. Foreigners from further afield are also drawn to the massive memorial and museum dedicated to the defence of China’s communist neighbour against imperialists during the Korean War. All in all, Dandong makes a worthwhile weekend trip out of Beijing or a stopover while touring the sooty northeast, as well as a convenient departure point for Changbai Shan.
Dandong remains small enough to feel human in scale, and the tree-lined main streets are uncrowded, clean and prosperous. A strong Korean influence can be felt: vendors along the riverfront promenade sell North Korean stamps bearing slogans such as “Become human gun bombs!”, and North Korean TV is on view in Dandong hotels.