Dalian is a major port located in the north of China. This city was a significant location during the Russo-Japanese war and you will see Russian and Japanese influences in the architecture of some of the old buildings.
You will find a port in the northern portion of the city and several beaches along the eastern and southern coastlines. Dalian is a modern city with lots of green spaces and is also known for its cherry blossoms.
The Bingyu Valley is 155 miles north of Dalian. You can head there to go hiking, to take a boat ride or to see the Buddhist and Taoist temple inside the Xianren Cave.
Lvshun is 25 miles south-west of Dalian. This city played an important part in the Russo-Japanese war and you can still see the Russo-Japanese jail. The White Jade Tower and Jiguan Mountain are also worth visiting.
You will come across many green spaces while in Dalian, including Zhongshan Square, Renmin Square and Xinghai Square, the latter being the largest square in Asia.
The Russian and Japanese occupation left a mark on the city. Head to Russian Street in the Xigang district to see some examples of traditional Russian architecture.
There are 3,000 cherry trees in the nearby village of Long Wangtang. You definitely need to see the cherry blossoms if you travel to Dalian during late April.
Also known as "Tiger Beach" and gathered around an inlet in the Bohai Sea, Laohutan Ocean Park is around 8 miles southeast of the city center, but it's definitely worth making the trek. Highlights include the massive 36 meter long tiger statues at the heart of the resort, as well as Polar Region Marine Animals World - one of China's leading places to see aquatic beasts like beluga whales at play. And on top of all that, there's a 4D cinema and death-defying ropewalk across the ocean - adding up to a day's worth of marine-themed activities.
Dalian's civic hub, Zhongshan is a great place to launch your exploration of what the city center has to offer, which may surprise you. For instance, there's Yuguang Street Church, which once served the city's small Anglican community, and has a charming red-brick construction. There's also the elegant 1914 Dalian Hotel - built by the Japanese rulers of the time as a fitting hotel for their railway terminus, and a key set for Steven Spielberg's "The Last Emperor". The French-style CITIC Bank is also eye-catching, but the whole area repays exploration.
Head due south for a few miles from Dalian, and you'll hit Fùjiāzhuāng Beach - the city's premier coastal getaway. With its picturesque bay and islands dotting the horizon, its large seaside park, and innumerable stores, bars and restaurants the other side of the hill, it's no surprise that this is the most popular spot for Dalian's locals when they need some sunshine and sand. There are woodland trails to get away from the throngs at the beach, as well as boats to hire, and even a few amusement park rides to keep kids happy.
Located on a promontory in the Heishijiao neighborhood, Dalian's Natural History Museum is a must for biology buffs (and anyone else, really). The largest purpose-built nature museum in the whole of China, it's a grand showcase for the northeast's biodiversity, featuring 200,000 specimens in total. If you're a taxidermy fan, you'll marvel at the sheer range of the animals that the museum has put on display, from whales and dolphins, to echidnas, giant pandas, and monkeys. However, the 17.1 meter-long whale is a definite highlight.
Justifiably designated a "scenic area", Bangchui can be found a few miles east of Dalian, and it's a stunning place to spend some time. The beaches are generally not too busy (if a little rocky in parts) and the bays are swimmable, while the coastline in Bangchui is achingly picturesque. And, if you're feeling active, there's a resort hotel with golf, pools, and tennis courts available - all within sight of the placid ocean waters.
It is best to plan your trip to Dalian during the spring or the fall. Winters can be cold and humid and summers tend to be hot. If you can stand warm temperatures, visit Dalian in late July to enjoy the beer festival.
The Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport (DLC) is only a mile away from the city. You can take a bus to the main train station for ¥5 or take a taxi for ¥10.
Reaching Dalian by train is easy since this city is connected to the China High Speed Rail service. Traveling between Shenyang and Dalian will cost you ¥340, taking the train between Beijing and Dalian will cost ¥270 and traveling between Shanghai and Dalian by train should cost ¥1,300.
Dalian is on a peninsula. You will either have to take the Shenyang-Haikou Expressway or the Hegang-Dalian Expressway to drive to the city.
Several buses connect Dalian with other major Chinese cities. You can travel by bus between Shenyang and Dalian for ¥100. A bus ticket from Beijing to Dalian should cost ¥340 and a ticket between Shanghai and Dalian should cost ¥480.
The Hilton Dalian is a great option if you want to be near the port. The Dalian Guonxin Hotel is another good choice, located near Zhongshan Square.
Xigang District – This is where you will find the People's Square. The Fujiazhuang Beach is located south of this district.
Zhongshan District – There are plenty of examples of Russian and Japanese buildings. Once you are done exploring this downtown area, head east or south to the Tiger Beach or to the Binhai Lu scenic area.
Kaifaqu – This area is located north of the city. It is worth visiting for the Xiangshui Temple and for the Golden Pebble Beach.
There are a lot of bus routes throughout the city. Fare is only ¥1 or ¥2. You will also find tram and trolleybuses with fares of only ¥1.
Taxi fare starts at ¥3 for the first mile and each additional mile should cost another ¥1.
You will find a few Avis location in Dalian. Renting a car should cost ¥140 to ¥200 a day.
Head to the Qingniwan area if you want to find modern department stores or visit the Shengli Square Shopping Center. If you want to shop for souvenirs, spend an afternoon exploring the Tianjin Walking Street.
The Xi'an Lu area has a Walmart, Carrefour and Parkson locations. A pound of potatoes should cost ¥3.5 and a quart of milk should cost ¥10.
Try Unome if you want a cozy atmosphere and some traditional food. The Riviera Restaurant is a fun experience if you want some Western cuisine and Wanbao is the best place for seafood. A meal at an affordable restaurant should cost ¥50 and eating at a seafood restaurant can cost ¥160 or more.