Wándū Mountain City

Top choice ruins in Ji'an

First built in AD 3, this city became capital of the Koguryo kingdom in 209, after the fall of the first capital, Guonei city (on the site of present-day Jí’ān). There’s little left of the original buildings, but the layout has been cleared and it’s immensely enjoyable scrambling about the terraces and taking in the views that surely must have been a deciding factor in establishing the capital here.

Down on the plains below the city, on a large shelf above the river, sits Jí’ān’s largest collection of giant stone cairns. Erected after the destruction of Wándū, this vast cemetery for the city’s noblemen is so far unaffected by mass tourism. The sight of the massive rock piles in fields of Spanish needle (Bidens pilosa) is probably the most photogenic in all Jí’ān.

Wándū is a 6.5km drive west of the train station.