Rason is the Special Economic Zone of North Korea that, if you believe the hype, will be a city of 2 million thriving businessmen within the next ten years. Whilst abstaining from comment on that particular claim, we will say that it’s definitely a YPT favourite within the DPRK.
So why, exactly, is Rason so special? Here are five things you can do there that you can’t do in any other part of the country.
5) Smoke “weed”
So, like, weed is totally legal in North Korea, right?
No – weed is not legal in North Korea. You can, however, buy hemp (poor man’s tobacco) and smoke it. Will it get you high? No it will not. But you can smoke it and Thug Life it up anyway.
4) Visit the private markets
Nowhere else in North Korea are you permitted to visit the private markets as you are in Rason. The markets are super cool, with a lot of Chinese and local products. It’s also one of few places in the country where you can buy stuff with North Korean won.
3) Change money at the bank & get a debit card
North Korean won is not a hard currency, so there are two different exchange rates. In Rason you buy won at the more accurate black-market rate, at the local Golden Triangle Bank. You can also set up an account and pre-load a genuine North Korean debit card! Alas, it will not work outside Rason. Nor will it give you lounge access at airports.
2) Eat BBQ outside the Rajin Hotel
The Rajin Hotel was originally built during the Japanese occupation of Korea, and is a sight in of itself. But it’s the square opposite that’s the real gem. At night, this place comes alive with indoor and outdoor BBQ, that can easily rival anything you might find in neighbouring China. You might even get a chance to indulge your inner tenor with a spot of karaoke.
1) Eat phenomenal seafood
Undoubtedly Rason’s best activity: go to the aforementioned private market, visit the seafood section, and load up! Never will you find better-quality seafood for the prices offered at the markets – the phenomenal crabs on offer deserve a special mention. For a small fee, the aforementioned BBQ joint will cook your seafood up for you, and you can enjoy it with lashings of soju. Happy days!
Check out Rason for yourself on one of our North-East tours!.