Tiger Mountain Great Wall

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History and hedonism run side by side in Liáoníng (辽宁). Walled Ming dynasty cities rub up against booming beach resorts, while imperial palaces sit in the centre of bustling modern cities. Nothing quite captures the fun and distinction, however, as much as seaside Dàlián, with its golden coastline and summer beer festival, and former battlegrounds where Russian and Japanese armies wrestled for control of the region in the early 20th century. In Dāndōng, regional tensions of recent history are causing some spine-tingling at the border with North Korea. The Yālù River here brings you within glimpsing distance of the hermit kingdom from a boat deck or halfway across a bridge.


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