Dandong, China (formerly Andong prior to 1945) is a city of two million inhabitants, situated on the Yalu River in China’s southeast Liaoning province. Dandong is unique in that it’s China’s largest city on the Sino-North Korean border, facing the DPRK city of Sinuiju. China is responsible for around 40% of North Korea’s export trade and a large portion of that trade passes through Dandong to Sinuiju and vice versa.
As many as five million Chinese tourists visit Dandong annually to catch a glimpse into life in the Hermit Kingdom. Upwards of 10,000 of those Chinese tourists travel across the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge to visit Sinuiju.
Dandong is well off the beaten track when it comes to tourism. For those who travel here, this is their only chance to have a glimpse into life of the Hermit Kingdom. For the vast majority this is as close as they get to North Korea. Local Chinese companies have set up DPRK-themed boat tours, photo opportunities with Korean traditional costumes, as well as ubiquitous North Korean goods such as stamps, cigarettes, alcohol, and clothing.
One of the biggest attractions of Dandong is the Broken Bridge. Located directly next to Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge, the Broken Bridge was bombed by the U.S Military during the Korean War. Though it was repaired several times during the war, the DPRK decided not to repair the Broken Bridge for good at the end of the war, leaving it broken as a reminder of the destruction caused by the Americans during the war.
In this video, YPT North Korea Tour Manager Rowan Beard takes us along the waterfront and Dandong and for a tour of the Broken Bridge.