Dandong is the largest Chinese city to border North Korea, making it the largest hub for business, trade and tourism with North Korea. It is located on the southern border between China and North Korea in China’s Liaoning province. The borders are divided by the Yalu River which flows from Mt. Paektu down to the Yellow Sea (West Sea of Korea). Dandong is easily reachable by domestic trains and flights within China.
Greater Dandong has a population of 2.5 million with roughly 800,000 residents based in the city. The city has inherited Han Chinese, Manchurian and ethnic Korean culture, with 80,000 of those residents from North Korea. The North Korean border town city adjacent to Dandong across the river is Sinuiju, a city of roughly 400,000 North Koreans and the DPRK’s largest border city to China.
Dandong is primarily split into two districts – old town and new district. The old town consists of the majority of the tourist attractions including the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge which connects Dandong to Sinuiju, the Broken Bridge and Dandong Railway Station. The New District is located 30 minutes away from old town and is used as the economic trade zone for North Korea.
The city has a few unique attractions that make visiting this quiet border town well worth it. It is home to the east end of the Great Wall of China which is believed to date back to 1469, during the Ming Dynasty, as well as the Yalu River Scenic Area which divides both the DPRK and China. Dandong is considered an important historical city due to China’s involvement in the Korean War with battle scars that can still be seen throughout the city today, most prominent of which is the US bombing of the Friendship and Broken Bridge.