Tourists generally enjoy a trip to the Tiger Mountain (Hushan) Great Wall, often simply for the scenery and the window on North Korea. This is a restored section of the eastern end of the Ming Great Wall. Climbing is difficult because the steps are steep, and walking it may take two or three hours, but the experience and scenery are memorable.
- Chinese: 虎山 hǔ shān /hoo-shan/ 'Tiger Mountain'
Where is the Tiger Mountain Great Wall Section?
This section of the Great Wall is in a small village named Hushan in Kuaidian County, Liaoning Province. It is 12 km from the city of Dandong. It is on mountains on the border with North Korea.
Who Built It and When? — Hushan Great Wall's History
Built in the Ming Dynasty, the Hushan Great Wall is the eastern starting point of the Ming Great Wall.
The wall was named for its location at the south foot of the Hushan (Tiger Mountain), in a small village named Hushan in Kuaidian County, Liaoning Province.Hushan, so named because of its resemblance to a crouching tiger, was of strategic importance in ancient times. It adjoins the roaring Yalu River on the south, faces Yizhou Ancient City in North Korea across the river.
The Hushan Great Wall was built by the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in this strategic area on a mountain overlooking the Yalu River. The river is an important natural land barrier.
The Hushan Great Wall and its fortifications were built in 1469, and it was called the Border Wall in ancient times. They built it in order to prevent intrusion from Mongol forces and Jurchen tribes to the north and to protect the northeastern border from Japanese or Korean attacks from the south.
The Ming Empire extended along the present North Korean border along the Yalu River. At one time, the Ming controlled a large area north of the Hushan Great Wall section that the Jurchen people contested.
Hushan Mountain is a mountain overlooking the flat plain of the Yalu River and Korea. Military strategy stresses the importance of controlling the commanding height for control of a region.
To build a relatively complete defensive system, along the main body of the wall, they built wall platforms, watch towers, beacon towers, and a moat. This fortification was probably useful in the defense of Dandong, a Ming city 15 kilometers to the southwest.
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History of Discovery and Reconstruction
Hushan Great Wall Facts
- Height: 8 m (26')
- Bottom width: 5 m (16')
- Top width: 4 m (13')
- Construction material: Bricks and stones
This section of the Ming Great Wall was discovered in 1989 and excavated. Before that, it was believed that the Shanhaiguan Pass section of Great Wall 400 kilometers to the west was the easternmost extent of the Ming Great Wall. Now it is known that the 8,850 km (5,500 miles) Ming Great Wall stretched from here to Xinjiang far in the west.
In 1992, the present 1.25 kilometer (0.77 mile) of wall was erected. It has become the principal tourist site in the Dantong area. Three towers have been erected on it.
- Main features: This section of the Great Wall provides good scenery and views of North Korea across the Yalu River.
- Onsite museum: The Great Wall History Museum next to the wall is an option for those wanting more information about the Hushan section and the rest of the Great Wall.
- Less crowded: It is a much less crowded section of the wall than Mutianyu or Jiankou.
- Optional road: The connecting trestle road is a further approximately two kilometers of road you can walk. Highlights of the walk include getting to within a few meters of North Korean territory and seeing North Korea up close.
- Best view: The top of the highest part of the wall has a wonderful all around view.
- Time: about two or three hours for a good view and to walk the trestle road. Plus about half an hour to see the museum if you wish.
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Great Wall History Museum
The Hushan Great Wall History Museum mainly introduces the history and defensive function of Great Walls of different dynasties. It one of several such Great Wall museums such as those at Jiayu Pass, Bada Ling, and Shanhai Pass.
The exhibits include artifacts that have been discovered in the area such as Ming military equipment, pieces of pottery, and bricks from the original wall. There are also large oil paintings and sculptures. You can learn about the history of the Ming wall and the Ming Empire and about the Qin Great Wall and events in the Qin Empire.
Suggested Walking Route (4 hours)
Touring route: After getting the tickets, you'll first enter a square that is the start of the Hushan Great Wall climb. Along the way, you'll see 12 gate towers, and see some Ming-style buildings.
The highest peak of Hushan has a beacon tower. It was a great advantage as an observation tower over the plains. From there, you can look down and see North Koreans in the fields or on patrol. You can also see the Tonggun Pavilion in the distance that is one of North Korea's best scenic spots.
An ancient trestle road, about 1 kilometer, comes after the Beacon Tower. It is built along the cliff near the bank of the river. There are drawbridges and water curtain caves that were caves with water flowing over them perhaps hid guards or troops or were used to store material.
Go down along the steep trestle road, and you will see the roaring water in the Yalu River. It is thrilling, but be careful walking there.
Along the trestle road, a there is another famous spot called "Cross-in-One-Step." It is the nearest place to North Korea, just several meters away. Locals exaggerate that they can cross to Korea in one step. A lot of people want to take pictures against the North Korean scenery and even dress up in North Korean clothes to pose.
Then go back to the front gate area from "Cross-in-One-Step," and visit the Great Wall History Museum and get some refreshments for about an hour. This whole walking tour should take three hours for the hike and sightseeing and an additional hour or less for the museum.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
The best time to visit the Hushan Great Wall is in late spring, summer and fall before the snow falls. This is because the steps are a bit steep and slippery. There are handrails that help people keep their step, but if the stairs are icy or frosty, that could be potentially dangerous. In summer, you can see the green countryside all around. The countryside is a bit bleak in winter.
We advise our customers to try to avoid China's major holidays when the wall might be packed with Chinese tourists:
- National Day Holiday (October 1–7)
- Labor Day Holiday (May 1–3)
Tickets and Hours
- Tickets: There is a 60 RMB main ticket and a 10 RMB museum ticket.
- Hours: 7 am to 5 pm
Getting to Hushan: Independent, Group, or Private Tour?
Hushan is about a four hours drive from Shenyang. There is no convenient direct public transportation from Shenyang or Beijing to this part of the Great Wall. The K27 from Beijing to Dandong at 17:27 gets in to Dandong at 07:15, and is the best train. There are limited flights from Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen to Dandong Langtou Airport.
Going Independently — public transport is full of hassles, be patient!
Traveling on your own you may meet a lot of hassles and trouble such as the language barrier, lining up for tickets, and figuring out the best travel routes.
China's public buses (that go out to the countryside) are always packed, so if you do plan to take a public bus, be prepared for trouble getting a seat. No English is spoken.
Taxi: Depending on where you are in Dandong, taxi may cost at least 40 or 50 RMB. Here is the address in Chinese to show the driver: 虎山长城, 虎山村, 虎山镇, 丹东, 辽宁. Unfortunately, taxis going back are difficult to find on site, so it is best to prearrange for a taxi to pick you up or go back in another way.
Bus 215B leaves Dandong Railway Station at 06:30 and 15:30, and it leaves from the Hushan Great Wall at 07:40 and 16:40. Unfortunately, the bus might be in high demand, and you might not get a seat. The bus ticket costs CNY 2 (25 cents USD).
Other buses leave every hour from the Dandong Long-Distance Bus Station (6 RMB, 1 USD).
Group Tour — cheaper, but less flexibility
Some companies may provide one-day group tours to Hushan. These tours may include souvenir store visits or eating at a tourist-trap restaurant for commissions.
A group tour will get you there in a coach full of Chinese tourists. You might have to go to a designated hotel to catch the coach and then walk at the slow pace of a noisy crowd with a bullhorn on the wall.
Private Tour — free of hassles, more flexibility
The most pleasant way is, of course, to take a private tour. Our driver and guide will wait for you at your hotel lobby and drive you to the wall by air-conditioned car.
A private tour means more flexibility, and you will be taken care of by your private guide and the driver. This will save the hassle of public transportation or arranging for a taxi. But our guide knows how to help you enjoy the visit.
- Your guide will arrange your entry tickets (in advance), saving you a lot of time and trouble lining up. Tell him or her whether you want to visit the museum.
- Our guide will help you go at the best time.
Our experienced guide will also help you discover more about the history and culture of the Great Wall. You'll make the most of your visit. Create a Dandong tour>>
What to Bring?
Water and snacks: Bring your water and snacks for the visit with you because water might only be available from a stall at the very top. You might not like the snacks and food available.
Clothing: Bring rain gear if you choose to go on a rainy day. Shoes with good traction are essential. Bring a sunhat and cover your skin if you have light skin.
Some of the steps are two feet high, coming up to the kneecaps. It would be a hard climb for elderly people or children below the age of 8. If the wall is slick or icy, be careful and use the handrails.
Besides the kilometer of Great Wall, there is the "trestle road" that you can walk for another kilometer or two. Keep your footing especially if the route is slick.
Where to Stay?
Dandong hotels: Moderately priced rooms most tourists would want to stay at range from 25 to 55 USD. We can arrange your room for you per your request and maybe even find a discount.
See other Great Wall Sections
Jiumenkou Great Wall: For different scenery and a contrasting Great Wall section, you can can to the Jiumenkou Great Wall that is on the border between Liaoning Province and Hebei Province. It is another restored section with a bridge that spans a river. It is 7 or 8 hours away by private vehicle.
Dandong: Just 20 km (1.2 miles) away, the border city of Dandong has interesting Korean (Manzu) cultural areas and Korean restaurants.
There is an old section of the Qin Dynasty Great Wall nearby that is another of Yulin's top attractions. That empire built a 267 kilometer wall in this area, and this is some of the remains of that wall.
Dalian: This major Chinese port city is known for the Shengya oceanarium. It is four and a half hours away and has an international airport and starred hotels.