Dalian travel guide: what to do and where to stay in Dalian, China
Dalian is an absolutely beautiful place to visit. The city is filled with beaches and cherry blossoms, with a picturesque view around every corner. Thanks to its role as a central point in the Russo-Japanese War, a lot of the “old” architecture in the city has a mixture of Japanese and Russian influence, giving the city a beautiful appeal.
However, as a large city, it has more to offer than just scenery and architecture. If you are interested in trying out new food or enjoying a night out, there are options for that as well.
Where is Dalian?
Dalian is located in the northern part of China, not far from the border with North Korea; it is the second-largest city and the largest port in China’s Liaoning Province. To give you an idea of the size of the city, Dalian is made up of eight districts and three sub-cities including the Zhongshan District, the Xigang District, the Shahekou District, and the Ganjingzi District. It has a population of around 6.7 million people, so it certainly isn’t small!
This makes Dalian an extremely varied location to visit. Whether you want history, nature, or nightlife, there is a little something for everyone.
For example, if you want to see beautiful shorelines, you don’t need to look far because Dalian has 1,906 km (1,185 miles) of coastline. If you want to see the city, there are plenty of city squares to visit.
Where should you stay in Dalian?
A big question when you are going to visit anywhere in the world is where to stay during your trip. Luckily, in Dalian, you have a wide array of accommodation options.
Since Dalian is such a big city and a tourist attraction, the classic option of staying in a hotel is a good choice — there are plenty of hotels right in the city so you can stay close to the attractions you want to see. There’s also a wide range of resorts available if you’re looking for a little more luxury when you travel.
Hostels, AirBnb, and couchsurfing are other options to consider — there’s something for every budget.
What to eat in Dalian
As a port town, Dalian is well-known for its fresh seafood. Some popular dishes include those with fish, shrimp, crab, and shellfish. Particularly, make sure to try stir-fried prawns, steamed sea bream, and lantern-shaped steamed abalone.
How to get around in Dalian
Renting a car in another country can be a difficult task. Since China doesn’t allow you to hire a car with an international licence either, you might be left wondering how you’re supposed to get around on your trip.
The city has a great public transport network, and you can choose between several modes of public transportation: hop on the metro, a city bus, or tram. Taxis are also widely available.
If you are interested in learning more about Dalian and seeing some of the tourist attractions, though, there are tourist buses that will take you around the city and show you some of the most popular sites.
What to do in Dalian
It is generally agreed that the best time to visit Dalian is during the spring or summer. This is because at this time during the year, you will get to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom and it’s the perfect time to visit Dalian’s beaches.
Other than seeing nature, though, what can you do in Dalian?
If you want to see the city life, heading into downtown Dalian is your best bet. In particular, Zhongshan Square is a famous landmark of the city. Alternatively, you could visit the western part of the city and see Xinghai Square which is the largest square in Asia.
As a port town, there is also the chance to see some marine life. Of course, you can see this naturally at the beach, though there are also a variety of aquariums and ocean parks to choose from. If you’re not a fan of captive animal displays, check carefully before you make your choice, as many of the parks include large animal shows.
Where to next?
So, once you visit Dalian, where do you go next? The easiest answer is to visit more Asian countries and cities. Dalian is a hotspot for culture but it can’t encompass the entirety of the varied culture and history of Asia. To learn more and have more adventures, you should consider other cities in Asia. Explore more of China or hop on a budget flight — there are direct links to Korea and Japan (among other options) from Dalian’s Zhoushuizi International Airport.
Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path and visit places other than popular tourist sites while you travel.