Dandong (丹東) - One Hop To North Korea (北韓 - 朝鮮)

The city of Dandong (丹東) sat right on the eastern edge of Liaoning Province (遼寧) which made up one of the three North Eastern Provinces of China (東北三省). The city was made famous by the Damaged Bridge of the Yalu River (鴨綠江斷橋 ) during the Korean War (韓戰). We could see North Korea (北韓 - 朝鮮) across the famous river - at places, just a casual hop across. Sorry to disappoint you but, no obvious famine, no evidence of people fighting to get out and swim across; just farmlands, villages and tranquility. We reached Dandong after a 4 hours' journey from Dalian (大連) and were immediately impressed by Dandong's vitality and orderliness - the city being a main hub (2M inhabitants) which supported the Sino/North Korea Economic Initiatives. We visited the famous Damaged Bridge and strolled along the Yalu River for 2 hours and absorbed the atmosphere; we imagined and could almost sense the war planes droning, tragic casualties and battle cries of the Korean War. The bridge was bombed by US war planes to cut off supplies to North Korea from China. Now The Bridge stood as a monument to all that hopelessness, destruction and futility of another war between friends and foes. The site was surprisingly moving perhaps because the war happened not so long ago.
The next day we ventured on to the China's Eastern Great Wall (虎山長城) built during the Ming Dynasty (明朝) and we found there were numerous Korean (South) tourists visiting the Eastern Great Wall (as well as in Dandong) - a nice 15km trip out of town on a sunny morning. In the afternoon, we climbed up the Korean War Memorial (抗美援朝紀念館) in Dandong central which hosted thousands of important and informative items regarding the details of the Korean War and we were very satisfied to be refreshed with this chapter of our country's recent history.

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