Dalian SightseeingLearn about Dalian's Landmarks and Immerse in Chinese Culture
Dalian is one of those rare cities that have the appearance of a major metropolitan hub but the mindset of an island resort. The sea and mountains surrounding it provides enough geographical awe for the Discovery Channel to produce nine months worth of programming; however, the city lacks historical relics for architectural history buffs to enjoy. Sunbathing, fishing, boating, hiking and camping are all within minutes from downtown. Urban fun options are in abundance as well, and include hunting, go-Karting, and cultural performances. Below are some listings of popular destinations visitors tend to flock to within the city.
Located to the south of the city centre, this tourist area is somewhat misnamed, as there really isn't any beach to speak of. Instead, they are a number of tourist attractions, the most prominent of which is the slightly pricey Polar Aquarium. Though pretty and popular with Chinese, the area is unlikely to hold the attention of more jaded overseas tourists for long and is perhaps best seen as a starting point for journeys along Binhai Road.
Like Tiger Beach, Donghai Beach is not so much a beach as a cluster of tourist sights. The sights here are somewhat more interesting than at Tiger Beach, with some nice modern art sculptures and mock fossils along Binhai Road a little way up from the beach (this stretch of road also includes a strange section of sloping road where cars appear to roll up the hill, and most taxi drivers will be happy to demonstrate the phenomenon to tourists even if not asked). Again, like Tiger Beach, Donghai Beach is a convenient place to start journeys along Binhai Road.
The Zhongzhan Square, in the heart of the city's financial district, is surrounded by some of the best examples of colonial era architecture in Dalian as this area is dotted with Japanese and Russian style-like buildings.
Though the square was first laid out by the Russians, most of the buildings were built between 1910 and 1920 by the Japanese. The square itself serves as a social hub, with locals gathering during the evening to play hacky-sack or watch football games on the big screen above the Dalian Hotel. The square is particularly charming in the evenings, when locals gather to dance, sing and generally strut their stuff!
On Sundays, there's also an English corner from 1:00 pm - 7:00 pm, which can be a good place for new arrivals to get help and advice from locals eager to practice their English.
Take the trolley bus 203 to Sheng Li Bridge stop to end up on a street which epitomizes 19th century Russia, created to add an exotic touch to the seaside city. This street is about 1000 meters north of the Zhongshan Square and not far away from the Tianjin Street shopping circle.
As the first avenue of the city, it was constructed 100 years ago when Dalian commenced its construction. Now the street has been renovated to accommodate the tourists. The 430 meter long street consists of 20 Russian and European style buildings.
South of Zhongshan Square the 500 meter long street showcases a typical Japanese layout and is swarmed with Japanese style restaurants, teahouses, and flower stores.
The authentic atmosphere embodied by the above two streets makes it possible for tourists to feel like they are in a foreign land.
Fairy Cave Town (Xianren Dong Town) is a beautiful small town in Zhuanghe County of Dalian. Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park and Bingyu Channel are located in the town, making the place a fairyland of mountains and springs.
Labour Park, to the south of the Qingniwa shopping area, is the largest park in Dalian. The park contains a number of attractions, including a small aviary area, a few man-made lakes, and an amusement park. Off season, the park is free and can be a pleasant place to take a stroll.
Tel: (86411) 8364-5363
Xinghai Beach is one of the four great bathing beaches, and is located at the center of Dalian Xinghai Gulf Spot. The shore line is more than 800 meters long, and the total dimension of the beach is 41,000 square meters. The bathing beach puts the comprehensive administration system in practice, as it is completely equipped with service facilities.
Fujiazhuang Bathing Beach
The Fujiazhuang Bathing Beach is situated in the center of Dalian Harbor Spot. There is 450 meters of shore with about 31.5 meters worth of sand width. Far away from the industrial and the medical districts, the seawater is less polluted and looks rather bright and clean, while the sand quality is very soft.
The Wooden-Club Bathing Beach
The Wooden-Club Bathing Beach, situated to the east of the Dalian Seashore Spot, is about a 75 meter long beach. The beach is composed by homogeneous little pebbles, and the water is very clean. The undulating mountains surrounding the bathing beach are decorated with dense woods and sharp cliffs, forming a picturesque environment and beautiful landscape.
The Golden Sands Beach
Xinghai Park is a long walk or short tram ride southwest along Zhongshan Road from the Modern Museum in Dalian. Besides the usual rides, souvenir stands, and restaurants, the park features Sun Asia Ocean World, boasting a moving observation platform within a 118 meter underwater tunnel in the main tank.
Because Dalian is a beautiful seaside city, there exists a Sun Asia Underwater Sea Aquarium which boasts a moving observation platform within a 118 meter underwater tunnel in the main tank. Here there is also a polar zoo with penguins, polar bears, and whales for tourists to enjoy.
Tel: (86411) 8289-3000
Dalian is the home of three zoological parks: Dalian Forest Zoo, Shengya Ocean World, and Polar World.
The Dalian Forest Zoo has a free-range animal section as well as a more traditional zoo. It is located at Baiyunyanshui, a lovely spot in the south of Dalian. Facing the sea, the Forest Zoo covers an area of 7.2 square kilometers.
Shengya Ocean World includes an underwater conveyor through a transparent tunnel. The Polar World is the only park devoted to polar animals in China.
Tiger Beach Park is ranked as one of China's largest aquariums. Tourists can view penguins, sharks, live coral, and numerous other species. The performance pool stages diving shows and other action packed events.
Address: No. 3 Tiger Beach Street, Zhongshan District, Dalian
Dalian Radio and Television tower makes a worthwhile visit for people interested in architectures. Located on Mountain Lu (Green), which is south of Dalian Laodong Park, the tower soars 360 meters above sea level and boasts a foundation base of 190 meters, a world record for a girth. The third floor's Observation Hall offers stunning views of Dalian and beyond, and there are several huge telescopes to impress the astronomy buffs. A revolving restaurant showcases the second floor, while the bottom floor is highlighted by an internet cafe.
As an alternative to getting up, people can walk up a little known side path, which offers both peaceful greenery in the centre of the city and spectacular views. To get to the side road either walk down the east side of Labour Park or take buses 2 or 5 from Qingniwa and get off at the Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital stop and walk back towards the park.
The road up to the tower is actually a tiny side road underneath a flyover just south of an old red bricked school next to Labour Park. Though somewhat difficult to find the road is relatively simple to follow, the only junction is about a third of the way up, next to an artificial lake and the Dalian Circus Academy. The lake makes for a nice place to take a break. Keep going straight ahead at the junction then simply follow the road to the peak. The walk should take between thirty minutes to an hour. Getting back down involves either walking back the same way or taking the cable car or slide down to Labour Park.
Address: Mountain Road, (South of Dalian Laodong Park), Dalian
The Olympic Square, symbolizing the Olympic spirit, stand in the north as part of the 42,000 square meter public square. A large screen displays live football matches during the football season, attracting multitudes of local fans. Underground is a two-level shopping arcade, a supermarket, beauty salon, retail shops, and snack stands.
Address: Between Zhongshan Road and Wu Si Road, Xigang District, Dalian
There are in excess of 700 small islands around Dalian. Of particular interest to tourists and bird watchers is the Birds Island which lies three miles offshore from Dalian. Here hundreds of different winged species pause in its craggy cliffs during migratory season.
Another island frequently visited by people of Dalian and tourists alike, especially during the summer season, is the Sanshan Island. On this island one can find many tiny villages along its rocky coast bringing an abundance of maritime charm. Here there are always a lot of beach parties and festivals. Beach bonfire parties are common summer happenings.
Located just off the coast from Bangchuidao beach Bagchui Island is a small, uninhabited islet and a nice place to spend a relaxing few hours exploring or nature watching. You can get to the island by using the tourist ferries that leave from Xinghai Square and Tiger Beach.