Help me want to go to China
August 11, 2008 6:13 AM   Subscribe

Accidental Tourist: It looks like I have 8 days between planes in Shenyang, China in September. Will Beijing still have the cleanest skies it will ever have during my lifetime? Should I instead take the opportunity to see Harbin/Dalian/Dandong/the far NE? Is there somewhere I've forgotten? And how can I get out of Shenyang quick-like?

I've nearly forgotten spoken Mandarin, but I can read okay. I'm a mid-twenties female traveling alone and probably staying with people through couchsurfing. I like food, walking around, and you-can-only-do-this-here opportunities. I am not interested in shopping for brand-names or knock-offs. I do already have a visa for China, and do not want to take any more airplanes.

and if any of you in these territories is interested in dinner or hanging out during the week, I would love to hear it!
posted by whatzit to Travel & Transportation around Shenyang, China (2 answers total)
"and if any of you in these territories is interested in dinner or hanging out during the week, I would love to hear it!"

Try CouchSurfing
posted by WizKid at 7:37 AM on August 11, 2008

I visited Dandong in summer 2006 and had a blast. It's separated from a North Korean city (Sinuijiu I think) by the river, and you can see buildings and people on the other side. There's also a couple genuine North Korean restaurants in the city - look for the Chinese and DPRK flags over the door. I'm not quite sure how they work, but they have North Korean waitstaff working there, serve traditionally North Korean fare (cold noodles, etc.), have North Korean karaoke, etc. You can also ride a speedboat and he'll drive right up along the North Korean side of the river - quite an experience! And at the end of the day you can always buy various North Korean memorabilia, like Kim Jong Il pins or what have you.

You can also go up to Hushan (虎山 Tiger mountain) Great Wall, it's the easternmost point of the Great Wall. It's newly renovated so the wall isn't that exciting itself; what's more exciting is that it goes right along the North Korean border, and at the end of the wall, there's "Yi Bu Kua"(一步跨, "one step cross"), where the river gets very, very narrow. Depending on the time of year, you can actually step over to the North Korean side. In my case, I went during summer and the water level was very high, so I had to do some swimming (not recommended!)

I wrote an entire blog post about my Dandong and North Korean border crossing experience, you might find it interesting. I also went to Dalian (nice city) when I was up NE. If you have any questions just drop me an e-mail!
posted by pravit at 10:11 AM on August 11, 2008

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