If you venture outside of Dandong to the Tiger Hill section of the Great Wall and to the "One Step" section of the river, you may notice that there are a few small boats tied off.
You may barter with the drivers down to ~20RMB depending on the size of your group or your negotiation skills. The waters are neutral between China and North Korea, but the water way here is small enough that both are within arms reach.
The ~20 minute ride will take you along the back side of Tiger Hill and let you view the local section of the Great Wall from the back side. You will also be within a few feet of the guard fence of North Korea. If you are lucky, you will see the North Korean armed soldiers doing their patrols.
The Museum In Aid of North Korea Against American Aggression costs 10 RMB (not sure if that's student price) for the side museum. That houses a weird assortment of terracotta warriors, some stuff about the Chinese side of the Korean war and the history of unequal peace treaties, all in Chinese; and you can go up the 53-metre-high tower.
Personally I didn't find it very interesting to climb up the Museum tower, and the admission wasn't worth it for the exhibits involved.
The terracotta stuff felt VERY spooky, maybe because it was kinda down in the basement?
The Museum tower is 53 metres high, and 11 floors of climbing on the inside on the scary, rusty iron ladder rungs. Figure out the height of each floor and you'll know why I didn't enjoy climbing the tower; you'll feel like you're ascending almost 90 degrees vertically, not unlike a chimney sweep!
15 RMB (student price) for the main museum, IIRC 30 RMB for normal entry.
The "short bridge", built by the Japanese in the 1920s, used to connect China and North Korea, but was bombed out during the Korean War. Nowadays the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge connects the two, but you can still walk along the (reconstructed) Chinese side and take a look across the river to North Korea.
We paid around 35RMB for two of us to take a speedboat ride across the river to the North Korean side. The driver took us right up to the other side for about 5 minutes, letting us see a North Korean school, some cranes, and boats up close. There were plenty of North Koreans hanging out along the riverside, and the schoolkids with their red scarves waved at us as we approached. Although speedboats go past the other side all the time, the locals seemed curious and interested all the same, and some of the men on the boats appeared irritated, although none threw any rocks at us(as mentioned in Confucius' VT page about Dandong). There are plenty of people who are willing to take you across at the riverfront.
Across the Yalu River is North Korea - as you near the riverfront you'll see a large smokestack in the distance, which is actually in North Korea! It's close enough to make out people walking around on the other side. Walk to the end of the "short bridge", bombed by the Americans during the Korean war, and use the binoculars there for a closer look.
You are in Dandong. In your hotel, you have probably already clicked through all of the TV channels at least twice to see if you can get the TV station from Sinuiju, North Korea.
Well you can't, at least not without making a few "ahem" minor easy-to-make modifications to your TV set.
Here is what to. Speaking from personal experience, it worked great for me!!
1) Go to the back of the TV and detach the Cable TV cable.
2) Take a metal coat hanger and bend it so that it opens up. If you do not have a metal coat hanger then try and find a piece of wire, the longer the better.
3) Stick one end of the coat hanger (or wire) into the center hole of the cable connection on the TV.
4) If using a wire, try placing the other end near a window if possible, or attach it to something metallic.
5) Turn on the TV, and play around with the menu functions on the remote (under setup if you can find it) until you figure out which buttons to push to get the TV so that it automatically starts searching for new stations. This will be much easier if you can first set it so it displays in English!!
6) If you have managed to get your TV in the station search mode it will quickly find the North Korean channel because it is located in the low single digits.
7) Next, try moving the coat hanger or wire around to improve reception.
8) Sit back and enjoy the show. If you are lucky you will see spectacular parades with up to a million people jumping up and down in frenzied hysterics, torchlight parades, propaganda news reals of Kim Jong Il inspecting dams, giving on the spot guidance etc. followed by cheering mobs. Best of all....it's commercial free!!!!
9) When leaving your hotel, as a courtesy to preserve the sanity of the next guest, please do not forget to take out your "antenna" and re-attach the original cable to the back of the TV.
If you want to see North Korean Movies, propaganda, parades etc. but do not plan on visiting the Dandong area any time in the near future, then please check out my website.
Address: Anywhere in Dandong where you can find a TV
Directions: Dandong and surrounding areas
- Arts and Culture
It was officially called "The War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid North Korea" and this museum offers the Chinese point of view regarding the Korean War.
Located atop Yinghua Mountain, the museum has exhibits outdoors as well as inside.
The outdoor exhibition has planes, artillery, and tanks used in the war as well as those seized from the enemies by China's troops.
Among the highlights of the indoor exhibits are propaganda brochures that the Chinese prepared for the amusement of the American military. You can also find canteens, mess kits and badges that once belonged to US and UN forces.
An American businessman saw a dog tag on display inside the museum in 1995 and reported it to the US embassy. It was later determined to belong to a missing F-86 Sabre pilot who was shot down near Dandong.
Directions: Northwest Dandong, right behind the 53 meter tall memorial tower. You can't miss it!
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
You've seen North Korea from Yalu River Park. You walked out on the Short Bridge and got a closer look. Now it's time for one of the best highlights of any Dandong trip; a quick speed boat jaunt to North Korea's side of the river for the closest view of the hermit kingdom.
For around 20 RMB (less than US $3) you will have your own private tour of the North Korean shoreline. The boats usually go the same route, slowing down occasionally to allow you to take photos of buildings and anything else you fancy.
Sometimes there are North Korean dock workers at one particular spot that get annoyed by the constant tourist paparazzi taking their pictures and they will throw things at the Chinese boat, but that's why you're in a speedboat so you can get out of that situation quickly.
The Chinese speedboat drivers won't get too close to shore unless you politely request them to do so. They are not allowed to stop in North Korean waters but they will slow the boat considerably so that you can take harmless pictures.
It's a fun thing to do while in Dandong and provides a little excitement as you perform your own private reconnaissance.
Directions: Speedboats are for hire on both sides of the Yalu River bridges.
- Sailing and Boating
The Yalu River speedboat ride was quite exciting, and you got SO CLOSE to the North Korean shore. Now you only wish there was some way you could actually set foot onto North Korean soil.
In Dandong, your wish comes true at nearby Tiger Mountain (Hushan). Please visit my Hushan page later to learn more about the place where it's possible to leap across the border as well as walk on the Great Wall!
Directions: Hushan is about 15 kilometers north of Dandong.
- Road Trip
After visiting Yalu River Park it's time to get on the bridge. Tourists are not allowed on the Friendship Bridge which links Dandong with North Korea for automobile and train transport.
However the Short Bridge is right next to the Friendship Bridge and you can see the remains of this historical monument from when the United States wasn't so friendly.
The Chinese decided to keep their part of the bridge after the Americans bombed it, perhaps keenly aware that they could charge admission in the future by turning it into a tourist attraction after ensuring its safety.
At least there's no fee for the free look through binoculars available for tourists who want a closer glimpse of the North Korean town across the river, Sinuiji.
Directions: Just south of the Friendship Bridge
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
Probably the first destination among all tourists to Dandong is the Yalu River Park next to the bridge. Here you can get that photo of yourself standing on the frontier of China and North Korea. To help make the photo self explanatory, the Chinese park staff have put up a couple signs that say "Yalu River" and show the two flags.
Yalu River Park also has gift shops selling North Korean stamps and currency for those of you who can't find any active VT members living in North Korea and need that final vacancy in your collection filled.
- School Holidays
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
hushan mountain, at the yalu river, is a lonely hill. the wall on it is the beginning of the great wall. on the top castle, you can see the korean town cross the river.
- Family Travel
it's the border of china and korea under hushan montain. it's just a small stream, you can easily step across it and enter the other country. but it is forbiden. we call it yi bu kua.
- Family Travel
it the second short bridge in dandong. same as inside dandong downtown, the bridge was also bombed by us military.
Directions: take taxi to hekou town
- Family Travel