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Here in my hostel in Beijing there's a European couple who want to travel to Dandong, which is a city right on the North Korean border.

So Wikivoyage lists some suggested places to stay but, along with all the places in their Lonely Planet, none of the places will accept bookings from foreign guests.

Obviously this is deemed a sensitive area. But also obviously it was recently possible to stay in places listed in the aforementioned travel guides.

Are there some known hotels or other accommodation in Dandong which have permission for foreign guests to stay, or is the whole city now off-limits to tourists who wish to stay overnight?

If it's really not possible to stay in the city right now, the closest place nearby where it is possible to stay would also be of interest.

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The couple managed finally, after several false starts, to make a booking with a branch of the Chinese hotel chatin "Home Inn". In one of the links in my previous question I recall somebody in some area even being denied accommodation by the same chain in some part of China. The couple are going to email me their experience and I'll then comment or answer. –  hippietrail Jan 14 at 8:34
    
Oh well they never emailed me, sorry I can't update ... –  hippietrail Mar 9 at 19:47
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The standard online Chinese travel agents (elong, ctrip) seem to be able to make bookings in Dandong, starting from Y160 (USD 26) or so for two.

I realize you can get cheaper dives in many places, but doesn't that answer the question adequately? The government probably wants a bit better control in a sensitive border area.

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Ah so maybe knowing where to look for booking hotels online in China might be the key. I never noticed those in my two months in China, but then again I was probably staying in the places you consider to dives (-: –  hippietrail Mar 9 at 19:51
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Perhaps. The one I booked through them in Harbin was pretty grim. It came with standard stinky worn carpet and a goldfish bowl containing a dead fish (that didn't get changed during my stay). Big room though. –  Spehro Pefhany Mar 9 at 19:55
    
Haha doesn't sound much different to the kind of rooms I stayed in then (-: –  hippietrail Mar 9 at 20:09
    
The Chinese reviews for cheap hotels are a hoot. "Urine smell". Water didn't work, complained and staff was rude. Etc. etc. ;-) –  Spehro Pefhany Mar 9 at 20:14
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