Dandong lies in southeast Liaoning Province, facing North Korea across the Yalu River and sharing waters with South Korea. It marks the northern starting point of China’s 18,000 km coastline and is Asia’s only border city with a port, airport, high-speed rail, river port, sea port and expressway. This heroic city was baptized by the flames of war during the Korean War.
Situated along the Yellow Sea and Yalu River, Dandong enjoys four gentle seasons without extreme cold or heat, earning the fame of “Northeast's Suzhou and Hangzhou”. Due to its border location, locals are exceptionally friendly and down-to-earth, making it one of China’s safest cities. In 2010, authoritative media recognized Dandong as one of China’s top 10 most livable small cities.
Visitors can take a boat tour on the Yalu River, glimpse North Korea across the border, sample seafood specialties, and experience Dandong’s unique blend of cultures. With scenic beaches, historic sites, and hospitable people, Dandong promises an unforgettable travel experience.
Yalu River International Tourism
Experience the Yalu River International Tourism Festival in Dandong
The Yalu River International Tourism Festival is held annually in September in Dandong, when the weather is pleasantly cool and crisp. Main venues include Zhenzhu Park, and activities include opening ceremonies, receptions, Dandong snack fairs, cultural performances, tourism promotion, and travel route inspections. At night, a spectacular fireworks show illuminates the sky over the broken Yalu River Bridge, with its glittering lights reflecting on the water for a stunning scene.
Time: September annually
Join the festivities along the Yalu River in Dandong. Sample tasty street snacks while admiring folk arts and cultural shows. Cruise the waters separating China and North Korea. As night falls, watch in awe as fireworks explode over the epic half-bridge, set aglow in dazzling LED lights. Celebrating travel, culture and natural beauty, Dandong's scenic riverside festival promises dynamic fun for all.
Dandong Yalu Jiangkou Wetland International Bird Watching Festival
Experience the Dandong Yalu River Estuary Wetland International Birdwatching Festival
The Dandong Yalu River Estuary Wetland International Birdwatching Festival is usually held annually in April. During the birdwatching festival in April and May each year, tens of thousands of migratory birds gather at the Dandong Yalu River Estuary Wetland Birdwatching Park, creating a magnificent scene with over 120,000 birds soaring and flocking together. These migratory birds winter in New Zealand, Australia and nearby areas before migrating to Siberia to breed. On their migration path, they stop at the Dandong Yalu River estuary to replenish food and restore strength. During the festival, many domestic and foreign tourists, birdwatching enthusiasts, and photographers come to observe, research, and photograph.
Time: April annually
Marvel at masses of migratory birds flocking along the Yalu River wetlands in Dandong. Spot rare species with the help of experienced birding guides. Photograph avian acrobatics as egrets, herons and cranes take flight. Hear choruses of birdsong echo across the marshes. An acclaimed destination for birders, Dandong's spring festival celebrates the remarkable migrations along the China-North Korea border.
Dandong Hekou Peach Blossom Festival
Experience the Dandong Estuary Peach Blossom Festival
The Dandong Estuary Peach Blossom Festival is held annually in late April and early May at the Dandong Estuary Scenic Area. With the Yalu River shimmering in green and tens of thousands of peach trees dressed in pink blossoms, visitors can admire sweeping floral vistas and experience Korean ethnic culture. During the festival, there are also activities like a Dandong tourism resource exhibition, peach blossom photography exhibition and contest.
Time: Late April to early May annually
Wander peach orchards in full bloom along the Yalu River in Dandong. Pose for photos with delicate pink petals framing age-old bridges. Savor Korean snacks and appreciate folk performances. Watch masters compete in photography and painting. A springtime celebration of natural and cultural splendors, Dandong's seaside festival promises pretty hikes and sweet delights.
Qingshangou Manchu Culture Month
Experience the Qingshangou Manchu Cultural Festival
The Qingshangou Manchu Cultural Festival is held every September in the Qingshangou Scenic Area. During the festival, visitors can enjoy performances of Manchu singing and dancing, worship ceremonies, and dragon dances. They can also tour the Chinese Manchu Folk Customs Park to learn more about Manchu ethnic culture and customs.
Time: September annually
Immerse in the captivating culture of China's Manchu minority during this lively event in Qingshangou. Watch martial arts displays honoring the bannermen of old. Browse handmade crafts from Manchu artisans. Savor traditional cuisine featuring wild mushrooms and ginseng. As bonfires burn under the moonlight, join in the circle dances and hear ancient epics sung by master Manchu storytellers. Celebrating a proud heritage, Qingshangou's festival promises a fascinating window into enduring Manchu traditions.
Tianqiaogou Maple Leaf Festival
Experience the Tianqiaogou Maple Leaf Festival
The Tianqiaogou Maple Leaf Festival is held annually from late September to mid October during autumn in Tianqiaogou. It is an influential local tourism festival. Every year around October 1st, the mountainsides of Tianqiaogou are cloaked in vibrant red maple leaves, earning it the nickname "the place with the reddest maple leaves in China".
Time: Late September to mid October annually
Be dazzled by fall foliage at its peak during Dandong's maple extravaganza. Stroll along gushing creeks surrounded by maples blazing in crimson, orange and gold. Ride a chairlift overlooking vast forests radiant with color. Sample seasonal delights like maple cookies and maple candy. As leaves rustle in the autumn breeze, relax with a cup of tea and soak up the magnificent mountain panoramas. An ideal escape for leaf-peeping and nature walks, Tianqiaogou's autumn festival promises a vivid display of natural beauty.
Best Travel TimeJune to early August is the summer in Dandong. As a coastal city, the climate in Dandong is not very dry and hot, and the seafood is delicious, making it the best season to eat seafood. From October to November, Dandong enters autumn, which is the perfect season to admire red leaves and ginkgo biloba. In addition to the red leaves in the mountains, Liuwei Road, Jiuwei Road, Qijing Street in Dandong City, as well as the streets at the entrance of the Anti US and Korean Aid Memorial Hall, are all excellent places to admire ginkgo biloba leaves.
Here are draft paragraphs in American English about clothing suggestions for traveling to Dalian and Dandong, China:
Dalian has an obvious maritime climate, with July and August being the hottest months, averaging 20-30°C. Most of Dalian's rain is concentrated in the summer, so be sure to pack rain gear if traveling then. Spring and fall are drier with pleasant weather, so normal autumn attire works well. Winters see little rain/snow, but January is the coldest month, averaging -2 to -9°C, so bundle up for the cold.
Dandong has a temperate climate with distinct seasons and brief periods of extreme cold (below -10°C) or heat (above 25°C). Spring and fall are short, warranting long sleeves and pants/skirts. Dandong’s high summer rainfall means bringing rain gear is wise, along with T-shirts, shorts, and lightweight clothing. Winters require extra insulation like down jackets and wool coats to stay warm. Checking forecasts and packing versatile layers that can be added or removed will ensure comfort no matter when you visit Dandong.
Dandong is a great destination for a self-drive trip, especially in the fall. Common starting points include Dalian, Tianjin, and Shenyang. From Shenyang, take the Shenyang-Dandong Expressway, passing Taoxian, Bian'niu, Liuqianniu, Shiqiaozi, Benxi, Nanfen, Caohukou, Tongyuanbao, Fengcheng, and Wulongbei before arriving in Dandong, around 225 km total and a 2.5 hour drive.
The expressway is a 4-lane dual carriageway in good condition with light traffic, and speed limit of 110 km/h (68 mph). Watch for speed cameras on bridges. Services are limited after Shenyang - stops include Liuqianniu (28 km), Shiqiaozi (43 km), Tongyuanbao (131 km), and Fengcheng (184 km), with restrooms and small stores.
The direct expressway allows an efficient self-drive getaway to Dandong and its borderside attractions. Car rental is available in major cities. Just be sure to have a Chinese driving license or IDP and mandatory insurance. With proper documents and some preparation, Dandong's history and scenery make for an engaging road trip from Shenyang or beyond.