Bleg for Dalian, China

After my trip to Shenyang, I’ll be in Dalian for the World Economic Forum.  Nonetheless I will get there a day early and have time to look around — what do you all recommend?


Why are the comments here so terrible?

Because they're from Brazil, #3 on the Misery Index.’s-most-–-and-least-–-miserable-countries-2016

It is good to know Romania is less miserable than Singapore. As dictators go, I have always found Ceaușescu funnier than Lee Kuan Yew. Romania is a credit for us, Latins. If Vietnam is less miserable than the USA, maybe the USA should ask for war reparations or at least development aid.

It is sad to see how Americans turn against their loyal friends and how they cajole and pamper their enemies. Apparently, the secret to bewell-liked by Americans is killing as many young Americans as possible. Germany, Italy, Red China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, all them are pampered and spoiled rotten by Americans while Brazilian loyalty and friendliness is punished.

Because one gets what one pays for and comments, unlike freedom, are free. If Cowen/Tabarrock paid the ten greatest commenters in the world to comment here, they would raise the average (is over). You pay peanuts, you get elephants.

The city' wide streets give a spacious feeling, The seafood restaurants offer fresh shrimp and crab. The scenic areas near Dalian Laohutan offer northern California-like views of the Pacific

Using Trip Advisor ( it seems like the most popular attractions in Dalian are:

1) Xinghai Square (don't know why)
2) Dalian Forest Zoo (cable car, and probably a zip line if you're more adventurous)
3) Dalian Zhongshan Square (don't know why; is it like Zocalo square in Ciudad de Mexico?)
4) Labor Park (why? maybe lack of any green spaces in Dalian)
5) Ji Di Guan - Pole Aquarium

Any one of those things, except maybe 1,3 and 4, should take a whole day.

If you enjoy walking, the stroll along the coast starting near the Grand Hyatt is magnificent as is the walk to the Buddhist Temple (take a cab to the entrance). And Russian Street lives up to its name.

I suggest taking a drive on Donglian Road, where the city has deployed a point-to-point ("interval based") speed camera system. Donglian Rd is a limited-access elevated highway. The system had 19 high-resolution cameras at entry/exit ramps in 2013 (there may be more now). The cameras record license plate numbers as cars drive past them and speed violations are determined by the duration the cars take to travel from one camera to the next. The net effect is that there is no way to game the system (i.e. slow down at a speed camera and speed up afterwards). My own experience driving on the road felt magical - everybody was driving at exactly the speed limit, nobody is passing anybody; and looking around you feel like you're in a sea of parked cars.
(Several evaluations from Western Europe have shown that point-to-point speed camera systems are very effective speed control systems)

We have some of these in Britain. Very effective, yes, but "magical"? Maybe the fact that it is on my daily commute has ruined the magic.

"Magic" is in the eye of the beholder. I study road safety policy for a living. I even find speed bumps magical. :-)

Why not just buy a Lonely Planet or some other guidebook?

You might drive down to Lushunkou. That is the site of what used to be called Port Arthur, and there's an historic prison and a museum if I remember correctly.

Some top-notch seafood there. It probably goes without saying that you should go somewhere with big tanks of fresh fish swimming around.

If you're up for something slightly more adventurous, there is a wheeled-luge track down from the hill where the observation tower is that is a real blast.

No idea what it was called, but there was an enormous shopping center that offers quite a bit of room for observation of economics and culture. The building was about 6 stories and probably a quarter mile long. The inside was a maze of different shops.

Eat as much street food as you can. Everything in the ocean is available on a stick. But really, drive up to Dandong on the North Korean border and witness the many businesses that funnel foreign currency into North Korea and eat real bibimbap.

A day trip to Lushun and the Japan-Russia Prison Site of Port Arthur should be well worth it. Lüshun City, formerly known as Port Arthur, is located at the extreme southern tip of the Liaodong Peninsula. Port Arthur first came into international prominence during the First Sino-Japanese War, and was home to the opening battle of the Russo-Japanese War. Also worth a visit is a former prison that got turned into a museum. Originally built by the Russians, this prison was significantly expanded by the Japanese. It gives visitors a feeling for the misery of prison life at the time, and also features old military equipment.

The square mentioned above, Zhongshan Square, was originally designed by Russians in the 1800s, but today is mostly visited for the classical Japanese buildings that line it, all built during the first half of the 20th century.

For Shenyang, the 9.18 Memorial Museum should be worth a visit - museums are a great way to learn to what a country ascribes importance (especially an authoritarian one). On September 18, 1931, in what came to be known as the Mukden Incident, Japanese troops detonated explosives in a section of railway near Mukden (today’s Shenyang) and blamed Chinese soldiers for the incident. The Japanese military then used this as a pretext for occupying the city. Today, 9.18 still lives on in collective memory in China.

As mentioned in the previous post, the Imperial Palace is well worth a visit. Much more intimate, and offering a great contrast to the forbidden city in Beijing.

Another fun exercise while in the Northeast is to find someone who is of the Manchu ethnic minority (the fifth largest in China) and can actually still speak - or God forbid, read - Manchu.

Had some of the best Muslim food in China while in Shenyang, but that's many years ago now which inevitably means the restaurant is long gone. The city also still has a mosque or two, but I forget exactly where.

Hi Tyler, I wrote some comments on the Shenyang blog post since I grew up there, but my mother is from Dalian - so, I've spent quite a bit of time here also.

My memories mostly revolve around food:
1. Salty fish with "biscuits"
This is basically small fish that are heavily salted then fried, and you eat it with thick corn bread pancakes. I think you can order it in restaurants, but I recall eating this as "street food" near the ocean with my grandparents.

2. Xia Pa Zi (虾爬子)
I think they're called mantis shrimp? But, I've never had someone definitely translate this for me. I've only ever seen them in Dalian, and they're best eaten steamed/ boiled.

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