Dalian - The Pearl of The North

Located at the southern tip of Liaoning province and Liaodong peninsula, Dalian is a beautiful and well-run little city. Because of its strategic location and ice-free port, Dalian has historically been a place the military might fought for. From 1894, Dalian was controlled by Russia and Japan until 1945.

Dalian is more progressive, prosperous and better organized than Shenyang. Its government has been trying very hard to develop Dalian into a major economic force while maintaining its foreign flavor.

Dalian is famous for its fresh seafood, peaches, strawberries, apples and beautiful girls. Traveling in China, one will consistently find restaurants boasting their specialty in Fresh Seafood From Dalian. It's becoming a brand itself.

Nature and scenic spots are also worth a trip to Dalian. There are many nice and pollution free beaches around Dalian. Mountains around it are perfect for hiking.
Dalian City Ratings
** The following ratings are based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.
History(5) Art(6) Local Culture/Unique Tour(4)
Nature/Scenic(8) Food/Shopping(8) Night Life(6)
Religion(4) Adventure/Sports(7) Reasonable Cost(7)
Recommended Days of Stay: 2

Quick Facts
Population - 5.38 million
When to go
Tourist Season - May 1 to October 1;
Coldest Months - January and February, with temperature as low as-21C( for one or two days);
Hottest Months - August, with temperature as high as 34C;
Annual Precipitation - 600-800 millimeters
Getting In and Out
By Air - Dalian is forty minutes from Shenyang and less than an hour from Beijing by air. Dalian has direct flights with 41 cities and most major Asian cities.
By Train - Dalian is twelve hours from Beijing and five hours from Shenyang by train.
By Ship - Dalian is 32 hours away from Shanghai and 15 hours away from Tianjin.


Dalian was known as Port Arthur during imperialist times. Dalian was seized briefly by the Japanese in 1894, but was leased as a naval base for 25 years to Russia in 1898. In 1905, Japan took over Dalian again in a surprise attack after the relationship with Russia soured over Manchuria.

Russian and Japanese influence can be seen everywhere in Dalian with its old tsarist architecture. People of Dalian are also much neater with their environment.

Old Port Arthur ***
Port Arthur is a 1900 tsarist-built fort on Jiguanshan Hill. Russians built it to defend the attacks from Japanese. It also functioned as a prison. Only a part of the old Port Arthur is open to the public.

Local Culture/Unique Tour
Dalian Fashion Festival ***
People of Dalian are very fashion conscious. Every June, Dalian hosts a national festival to celebrate fashion. The whole events consists of fashion shows and parades. It can be an interesting experience.

Tiger Beach and Star Dust Park*
These two parks are the most famous parks in Dalian. However, because of tourist crowds, these two places can be quite hectic. Try to avoid them. Instead, go to Bangchuidao or Binyu Valley or ask a local person where to go.

Bangchuidao is the most famous swimming beach in Dalian. It has very clean water and tight security. You will have to stay in Bangchuidao Hotel to enjoy the best part of the beach. When the Chinese paramount leader, Deng, was alive, he used to come here in the summer to relax.

Bingyu Valley****
Bingyu Valley offers you a taste of Guilin in Dalian. It's about 90km from Dalian and quite close to North Korea. Binyu has 40 peaks and 20 caves to be explored and covers an area of 47 km. With its oddly shaped mountains, clear streams and green grassland, Bingyu Valley acclaims itself as the small Guilin.

When visiting Bingyu, try not to stay in hotels. There are cottages available in the mountains that offer you good opportunities to explore the mountains more thoroughly.

Food/ Shopping
Famous Local Food
Sea food

Famous Local Restaurants
Shang Palace - This restaurant is located in Shangri-La and is famous for spicy jelly fish and lemon duck.

New Orient Seafood City - This restaurant offers swimming fish, live shrimp and all kinds of other fresh seafood to its patrons. Prices are moderate unless you order exotic dishes such as stewed shark fins.

Everyday Fish Port - Everyday Fish Port is a local restaurant chain that offers fresh seafood at much more moderate prices than the two mentioned above. Give it a try.

Night Life
Dalian's night life is very lively because of recent inflow of foreign business people. The most famous ones are J. J., Casablanca, and Wild Cat. They all have good dance music and are relatively more expensive.

Sun City in down town Dalian is an integrated entertainment center with Karaoke, discos and bars.

Snake Island****
25 nautical miles away from Dalian, there is an island famous for its dominant inhabitants, snakes. With an estimated 13,000 pit vipers, this is a snake sanctuary. Currently, there is a research center studying the medical benefits of the venom.

With a permission, you can go to this island and watch, from distance, snakes snatch birds from the air and swallow them up.

Dalian is right by the ocean. It is rather hilly as well. Scuba diving, fishing and hiking can be arranged. In addition, the Japanese crowd also brought golf with them. There are three golf courses in Dalian.

Bowling is a very high class sport in China. Check out the Brunswick Bowling Alley if you want to have a taste of local yuppies' lives.
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