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Discover Dalian

Since 2002 - You have a friend in Northeast China.



dalian app




x 2002-2014 copyright SongLi Photo and Discover Dalian. All rights reserved.

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Discover Dalian is a personalized tour and photographic service in English that introduces foreign visitors to every aspect of history and culture for this dynamic coastal city in Northeast China.

Originally established by Russia, then later occupied by Japan, Dalian has a long history as an international sea port supporting commerce and tourism from Japan, Korea, and other traditional Asian regions for over a century. However, in recent years there has been a gap in services for visitors from native English-speaking countries.

Discover Dalian was created to fill this need.

Fast Fact: Dalian is the center of foreign trade in Liaoning Province as well as the second largest international commercial harbor in China. It is one of those rare cities that has the look of a major metropolitan hub, but the mindset of an island resort. With a mountainous panoramic beauty encircled by beaches and host to year-round festivals, the many attractions of Dalian are all just a few minutes from historic downtown.

active tour
buddha tour
cultural tour
forbidden tour
golf tour
historic tour

"When you visit a new town, you call a friend living there to help show you around. This was my idea and philosophy for Discover Dalian, and my goal is to be a friend you can count on in this foreign land." --SongLi

The Discover Dalian tour collection is a revolutionary idea, offering in-depth attention and photographic services without equal from Dalian's resident foreign expert and celebrity, SongLi. His fame as the first foreigner to host the evening television news in Northeast China from 2004, and the popularity of his detailed historical novels which were set during Dalian's colonial era, has brought a great deal of attention and renewed interest in the city and its role in Manchurian history.

His iconic and groundbreaking 2008 photography book "Everyday Dalian" became a hallmark representation of the city and its population, an intimate cultural look complied over six years. His 2009 photography book "Dalian Ghost Stories" remains the first and only historical documentation of supernatural events and sightings in Dalian from 1858 to 1958.

kung fu tour
museum tour
scenic tour
shopping tour
spiritual tour
zoo tour

"My service is personal, catering to the needs of my clients. That is why I do not offer tours to groups larger than four people. You will see the real side of Dalian, and I will document your adventure at every step." --SongLi

Having lived and worked in Dalian for several years, and from the extensive research needed to write his novel, SongLi has a deep affection for his adopted city. This passion can be seen in his many public and private efforts to internationally promote China's most livable city. SongLi is also a Consular Warden for the U.S. Consulate General (Shenyang), and is responsible for contacting American citizens in the case of an emergency.

The Dalian Municipal Government recognized his personal work when they commissioned him in 2005 as the official English voice to present the city to the WTO (World Trade Organization) meeting held in Dalian, one of China's most treasured cities. The Geneva, Switzerland based World Economic Forum also used the DiscoverDalian.com site as its official introduction and guide for the city. Dalian hosted the "Inaugural Annual Meeting of the New Champions" from 6-8 September 2007.

DiscoverDalian.com, SongLi, and the Dalian Coast-To-Coast Trek were also featured in a series of special TV broadcasts on China's International Network CCTV4 and the Liaoning Province Network LTV on July 19th and 20th, 2008. This adventure is featured in the 2010 SongLi photobook "A Walk Across Dalian" which uses images from his journey to share a unique perspective of the city.

On February 2, 2011 SongLi was invited to lecture on Dalian history at the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History. Formerly known as Yokohama Bank, the institution had originally financed development for the new colonial city of Dairen after 1905.

The first iPhone and iPad app about Dalian was released by SongLi on May 1, 2011. SongLi created the compressive and free universal iOS app as an extension of the Discover Dalian website, following the evolving social habits and use of mobile technology.

dalian china WEF
CCTV4
Liaoning TV

"Dalian is growing at an unbelievable rate, and I witness it daily. I am outside all the time, regardless of season or weather, exploring the city on foot to record its history and on-going development. As an artist and photographer, I like to take the paths less traveled and talk with real people. I want them to understand that I am not just passing through, but belong here." --SongLi

It is from this special perspective, using SongLi's own personal experiences, that Discover Dalian can offer its tailored and unique tours. It is also why Discover Dalian only uses the private photography of SongLi to show featured tour locations. Other than historical images taken decades ago, no pictures seen here have been taken from any other public or governmental source.

dalian then and now
dalian history map
dalian torch relay
self-tour
dalian trek

A decade and counting: Discover Dalian began over ten years ago on June 25, 2002.
Thanks to all those visitors over the years for your loyalty and support.