Quiet getaway by the sea

Journeys end

Ilanded at Dalian in a rather unearthly hour, thanks to a flight delay on a freezing December night. My first impression of this beautiful northern coastal city in China was simply one of awe, what with the six-lane smooth roads and skyscrapers.

Dalian Economic and Technological Development Zone (DETDZ) is one of the first national economic and technological development zones in China. Situated on the Dagushan Peninsula in the northeast of Dalian City, Liaoning Province, it faces the sea on three sides, and towards Japan and Korea. Dalian is the marine gateway of northeast China.

It is also an important port, and a trade, industry and tourism city. It is surrounded by the Yellow Sea on the southeast and the Bohai Sea on the northwest from the centre, and the Qianshan mountain range of Chang Baishan passes through the whole region making this city picturesque.

Dalian is home to some of the finest parks and sea creatures. Shengya Ocean World inside Xinhai Park has the longest transparent underground sea channel in Asia. The main display area has more than 300 species of fish as well as coral reefs and floating sea grasses. Another must-see destination is the Charm of the Sea Square, spread over 3,80,000 sq km.

At the centre of the square is a large sculpture, consisting of five white steel pipes with differing curvatures. The sculpture is 19.9 m high, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Dalian. The sculpture resembles a flying dragon, thus the name, Charm of the Sea Square. The Laohutan Ocean Park in the middle of Binhai, south of Dalian, has four theme parks, a coral garden, a polar garden, an aviary, and a sculpture garden.

In fact, Dalian is the silicon valley of China. The city has attracted several IT companies to set up shop. Likewise, Dalian also houses skyscraping shopping malls. Dalian is also known as the ‘Fashion City’, where the annual Dalian International Fashion Festival is held. However, use of English for communication at stores is also very limited, and you need to use a calculator to bargain at smaller market places.

The city is scenic, and as a local puts it, “You can see the sea from almost any part of Dalian.” The weather in Dalian is pleasant. However, winters are chilly, with temperatures well below the zero degree mark.

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