Bathe in natural spring-fed pools Take a steam in an agate or crystal sauna Relax with a snack in a tranquil tea garden Along with traditional architecture and cooking techniques, the Japanese also introduced the love of the onsen (hot springs) to Dalian life. Join the club and spend a soothing day at Kerren International Spa Club. Head out in the morning (when crowds are thin) and steep in natural pools fed by waters from the mineral-rich Dagushan mountain range whose springs are famed for their healing properties. Soak au naturel in the ladies or gents-only hot springs spa (cover up if you venture into the fish therapy pool). Meet back up in the co-ed fire dragon spa and sweat in the cavernous saunas infused with healing crystals and minerals. A massage or acupuncture session should work out any remaining tensions. Splash around with the kids in the family pool or challenge them to ping pong in the game room. Finally, retire to the tea lounge for a snack as a musician plays the Chinese zither in the center of the tranquil garden. Hire a taxi for the 30-minute ride (depending on traffic) north of downtown to the spa. KERREN INTERNATIONAL SPA CLUB: 8 Haibin Road, Dalian Development Zone; 0411 8733 2518; www.kerrenclub.com; open 8 a.m. to midnight.; a bath ticket is RMB99.
Greet fishermen as they haul in the day’s catch Toast to postcard-perfect views Eat just-reeled-in delicacies Make like the well-heeled locals and head to the vibrant Fisherman’s Wharf dotted with seafood restaurants, beer gardens, and casual barbecue spots (note: weekends are the busiest). A 20-minute taxi ride from the Conrad Dalian and you’ll arrive at Tiger Beach Bay. Here you can preview your next meal as you watch fisherman unload the daily catch from colorful boats, just a stone’s skip from a charming Victorian village with luxury apartments and boutiques that could be mistaken for Martha’s Vineyard. From the promenade, wander towards the lighthouse (a replica of Bremen Port lighthouse in Germany), and hunt for shells along the rocky shoreline. Ready for a cocktail? Take an ocean-gazing seat at No. 78 Café and have a glass of wine or imported beer with seascape views. Pick up a vintage postcard as a souvenir from this memorabilia-filled restaurant that illustrates Dalian’s cross-cultural history. Move along to dinner at Enjoy Ocean, an award-winning restaurant set in one of the New England-style buildings (look for the clock tower) and uniquely themed interiors (care to dine on a tram?). Nothing, however, will distract from the main event of just reeled in delicacies: stone pot abalone, steamed clams, seafood dumplings, or flash stir-fried whelks. Hire a taxi for the 20-minute ride south along Zhongnan Road to Tiger Beach Bay and the entrance to Fisherman’s Wharf. FISHERMAN'S WARF (渔人码头): 66 Binhai Road East, (Tiger Beach Bay) NO. 78 CAFE: 78-3 Binhai Road East; 8887-7878 ENJOY OCEAN (品海楼): 72 Binhai Road East; 0411-8273-8088; 0411-8273-9088