While there are plenty of activities, sights and places to enjoy in Dalian, everyone once in a while needs some time away from the hustle and bustle of city living. The following suggestions are convenient weekend getaways from Dalian you can enjoy without much preparation, travel time and expense.
Bingyu Valley 冰峪沟
Bingyu Valley 冰峪沟
About 150 miles (240 kilometres) northeast of Dalian is Liaoning Province’s answer to Huangshan. Picturesque Bingyu Valley Scenic Resort Area offers one the same idyllic views, peaceful tranquillity and unblemished nature that it’s sister mountain to the south has on a smaller scale. The area, which covers over 42 miles (110 kilometres) of land, consists of a resort on the shore of the Yinggua River surrounded by the towering peaks of Longhua Mountains. From the valley there are a series of trails that lead up into the mountains. From these trails you have breathtaking views of the valley as well the neighbouring mountains. Alternatively, rather than hike up the mountains, you can tour the valley via a boat tour along the river that offers similarly stunning views. While the area is accessible all year round, the best time to visit is in the late spring and summer when the weather is a bit hotter and the mountains greener.
To get there: On weekday take a bus from the Dalian Long-Distance Bus Station to Zhuanghe (30-35 RMB) then transfer to a local bus or taxi heading to Bingyu Valley. On weekends you can take a direct bus from the bus station at Victory Square (45-50 RMB). The trip from Dalian takes between 2 to 3 hours.
Accommodation: There are several hotels of varying comfort located near to, or in the resort area. Additionally, if you want to experience true rural living you can rent a room with one of the local farmers. Ticket prices for entry into the resort are 100 RMB.
Anbo Hot Springs
After a hard week of work or play, consider getting away to Anbo. Known for its therapeutic hot springs, Anbo is a perfect way to revive and refresh the mind, body and spirit. Throughout the city you will find a wide array of accommodation that offer “hot-spring” treatment of every shape and form, from a hotel’s hot spring water pump and their room’s showers, to more traditional spas that offer you the chance to sit and soak in hot spring water, which according to the city government, contains over 10 types of minerals known to cure such problems as sore muscles, rheumatism and stiff backs. Even if you are completely healthy, a shower or soak in the hot spring water may have the effect of prolonging life.
To get there: Anbo is about 90 miles (150 kilometres) from Dalian and can be reached on a long distance bus from Dalian Long-Distance Bus Station or by hiring a cab. Bus tickets cost between 30 and 40 RMB and the trip takes about 3.5 hours.
For anyone interested in trivia, a trip to Dandong will be an interesting experience for several reasons. First, it is home to the most eastern section of the Great Wall. Second, it is one of the areas, during the Korean War, where US forces attempted to stop Chinese troops from crossing into Korea and third, Dandong marks one of the only locations you can safely peer into North Korea. In Dandong, not only is it possible to see the bombed out remains of the Yalu River Bridge where American planes were only permitted to target the Korean half for fear of inciting the Chinese army, but you can also take a tour of the quirky Museum to Commemorate US Aggression where for 30 RMB you can learn about the Korean War from a decidedly Chinese perspective. For the more intrepid, you can take a boat for 10 to 30 RMB to the mid-point of the Yalu River for a closer look into the “hermit kingdom.” If you’re interested in seeing the Great Wall, a number of buses run from the city to Tiger Mountain, where the wall is located. Entry to the wall costs 40 RMB. The trip takes about 30 minutes and the bus price is 4 RMB. In addition to the trivia aspects of Dandong, you will find a good range of Korean cuisine from Korean barbecue to bulgogi.
To get there: Take a bus from Dalian Train Station for 80 RMB. The trip needs about 4 hours.
Accommodation: Dandong has a range of hotels and guesthouses available throughout the city.
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