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DandongDandong lies on the southeastern border of Liaoning Province, in a region historically known as Manchuria. It is located beside the Yalu River, near the Yellow Sea. The river divides China and North Korea, and Dandong is the main border crossing.

Southern Liaoning is mountainous and forested, enjoying a pleasant climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are quite mild with long hours of daylight; winters are often well-below freezing and bring occasional snow. Spring and autumn are long and pleasant.

DandongDandong is developing into the economic and social hub of the region. Today the population numbers well over 700,000, mostly from the Han, Korean, Manchu, and Hui ethnic groups.

In addition to most major Chinese cooking styles, Dandong boasts some delicious and affordable Korean cuisine. There are many Korean immigrant families (North and South) which have opened restaurants throughout the city.

DandongDandong is also developing a tourist economy based on its border status. While entering North Korea can be difficult for foreigners, tourists can take a cruise right up to the North Korean side of the river for a closer view. The restored easternmost extension of the Great Wall is just outside the city and attracts many visitors, as does the Korean War Memorial Museum in the center of town. For many the city itself is the most interesting attraction with its international population, scenic views, and BBQ stalls on every corner.

The Western presence in Dandong is minimal. This remains very much a small Chinese city on the fringes. There is the ubiquitous KFC and a small handful of other establishments that cater to the occasional passing foreign tourist, but by and large the twenty or so resident Westerners live life with the locals and enjoy an immersion experience.

Dandong has a very small expat community. Foreigners living here enjoy a highly immersive experience which is well suited to learning the Chinese language and experiencing what a “real” Chinese city is like.

The city is connected to the rest of Northeast China through an extensive rail network. Overnight trains leave for Beijing every evening, as well as Harbin and Changchun. Shenyang and Dalian are both about 3 ½ hours away by bus. In addition, the heavily forested border region along the Yalu River in Liaoning and Jilin provinces has some of the most fascinating and beautiful rural areas in China.



 
 
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March Semester 2014
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