Day 6: A relaxing morning of sightseeing in Dandong, with visits to the Yalu River Broken Bridge and the Museum to Commemorate the War to Resist American Aggression and Aid Korea. Then our journey back to Beijing via Shenyang.
Waking up in the cozy bed of the Crowne Plaza Dandong, it took a moment to realize that we were indeed back in the comfort of China. We eventually made our way around 9 a.m. to breakfast.
The restaurant was quite busy, but the buffet was large and had a nice selection. I took advantage of the local kimchi dish and also indulged on the usual buffet options.
Jumping into a taxi we were off to start our morning of sightseeing.
We walked along the river towards the bridges. At the tourist wharf you can take boat rides along the river mostly to see into North Korea. No thanks.
Yalu River Broken Bridge 鸭绿江断桥
This is the original bridge that connected China and North Korea. Built in 1911 by the Japanese, it was bombed into oblivion by the US in 1950 during the Korean War. Since then, the North Korean’s have dismantled their side of the bridge, while China left it standing as a dark reminder of the war. Today it’s a fun tourist attraction!
Up the stairs from the ticket office are the anti-aircraft guns and a Japanese bunker. We walked to the end of the bridge which still has sections of mangled steel from the bombing. Parallel to the bridge is the Sino-Korea Friendship Bridge which we went over on the first day of our North Korea tour.
We happened to bump into Stanley (the Chinese guy in our cabin on our tour). We chatted a bit and watched the trains and trucks drive into North Korea.
Then we were back in a taxi.
The Museum to Commemorate the War to Resist American Aggression and Aid Korea
This tongue-twister is also known as the “Korean War Museum”. Perched on the top of a hill overlooking the Yalu River is a 53 meter cenotaph in honor of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers who died during the war. A bold war scene statue proudly stands in each corner.
The museum was free to enter and surprisingly politically correct for the most part. It was a large collection of memorabilia and weaponry from the war with Chinese/English explanations. A lady wearing the Chinese volunteer soldier uniform was giving a tour.
At the top of a circular staircase in a panoramic war scene room was costumes you could rent for some mind-blowing photo-ops. That was a highlight… being a Chinese volunteer soldier for three minutes.
Outside some war vehicles, planes, and tanks were on display.
The museum was very informative, fun to explore, and provided an interesting perspective on the war.
Back at the hotel, we packed up and had a coffee break. Then we checked out and headed to the bus station. There we stopped for a quick and set lunch from the restaurant next door.
Bus to Shenyang and Train to Beijing
With the recent storm, we couldn’t rely on the undependable flights so we played it safe. Train tickets were already sold out, so we had to transfer in Shenyang.
Total travel on the smooth ride was 3.5 hours.
Through the bus window, Shenyang looked like a huge and modern city. Unfortunately we didn’t have any time to wander. On arrival, we hailed a taxi to the Shenyang North Station to catch our high-speed train back to Beijing. The rest of the journey took about 6 hours.
Our arrival in Beijing concluded the adventure to North Korea.
Greatest takeaway: Don’t take anything for granted and appreciate everything you have.