Rason is located in the far North East of North Korea, borders Russia and China and is the Special Economic Zone of North Korea. Definitely the less visited area of the DPRK and perhaps it’s status as an SEZ tends to make people question how “real” the DPRK it is. Whatever the reason may be, it’s become a true hidden gem of the DPRK.
With very few visitors and a relaxed atmosphere, Rason is one of our favourite places to go. The only place in North Korea where you can visit a market as a tourist as well the only place where you can exchange hard currency for DPRKorean Won at the bank (and at real rates too!). What’s more you can actually spend it in local shops and the market! You can also get a DPRK debit card, chat with students at the Foreign Language School, visit factories, drink at local watering holes and more! A great trip for returners or for people who want to see the DPRK that most people never do.
Meet your YPT guide at 10:00am at the Beijing Jingu Qilong Hotel near Beijing Railway Station found here. During this meeting, we’ll go through the tour’s itinerary, receive DPRK visas and tickets, as well as a great chance to meet your fellow travellers and to discuss any other questions you may have about the DPRK.
Walk to Beijing Railway Station and board the overnight sleeper train at 1:16pm for the journey to Yanji city.
Tuesday 24th March
Arrival in Yanji and transfer to the LiuJing Hotel – this hotel is very famous for being run by the DPRK in Yanji.
Explore Yanji city at your own leisure.
Dinner, drinks and or even Korean show at the hotel – extra charges.
Wednesday 25th March
Wake up early for an 8:30am departure to the border between the DPRK and China – 3 hour drive
Arrive at the Chinese Immigration Border to go through border formalities
Cross the friendship bridge linking China and the DPRK
Meet our two local Korean guides and head to the Rason International Travel Agency restaurant for lunch.
Visit the mosaic pictures of President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il.
Visit the Rason Foreign Languages School – here we can have an impromptu class and speak/teach English with the students.
Rason Kindergarten – watch a fabulous performance which is particularly famous in the region. We encourage tourists to bring some sweets, snacks and stationary to gift to the children.
Visit the Rajin Clothing Factory – one of the more interesting factories in town with a lot of outsourced production finding its way here.
Dinner at the Local Noodle House – here we can sample some very famous Pyongyang Cold Noodles
(Optional massage at the famed Rason Massage clinic 100 RMB for an hour)
Drinks and overnight at Pipha Tourist Hotel
Thursday 26th March
Short hike up Mt Sahyang – the highest peak in the region to visit a revolutionary site
Visit Golden Triangle Bank – it is permitted to exchange foreign currencies into Korean Won at an unpublished rate and to open a local DPRK bank account. Here you can use and keep your local DPRK debit card as a souvenir
Take a walk in the streets and around the public square
Visit Rason Art Gallery – Most of the works here are also for sale with some of the DPRK’s top artists having paintings featured
Rason Bookshop and Souvenir Shop – books and a wide range of souvenirs are available here.
Trip Highlight – visit the only private market where tourists are able to visit in the DPRK. Here it is possible to see what’s available for normal citizens to buy and sell. Tourists can use local DPRKorean Won as well as other hard currencies. This is one of the best and cheapest places on the planet to buy some great seafood, soviet clothing, cigarettes, alcohol and other goodies.
Take a walk in Haean Park – great for snapping photos of the locals and families. If you’re game you can even hire a pair of skates or a skateboard to challenge the kids.
Visit to the Czech Joint Venture microbrewery for a cheap pint.
Visit the Rason Port and hear about how it’s developing within the Second Economic Zone.
Visit a very unique Ukranian restaurant for a pre dinner drink.
Kumyong Restaurant – one of the more regarded restaurants in town where we can also add some fresh seafood from the market we bought earlier to the kitchen.
Drinks at a local bar near the central square.
Friday 27th March
Up early and check out of the hotel.
Visit Pipha Island for scenic ocean shots of the East Sea of Korea
Visit the Imperial Hotel & Casino – this astonishing 5-star hotel and the casino was built by Hong Kong Emperor Group (although they no longer own it). Here we can take a look around and relax over a coffee or a beer and hopefully see a Moranbongesque live band.
Visit a Joint Venture Seafood Factory on Pipha Island.
Drive to Sonbong to visit the Sonbong Revolutionary Site.
Drive to the three-point pass where the borders of the DPRK, China and Russia meet. Fantastic photo opportunity here!
Visit the monument of Admiral Ri Sun Xin
Picnic lunch at the three point pass overlooking China and Russia
Visit the DPRK-Russia Friendship Pavilion
Drive to DPRK customs and cross back to China through immigration
Coach transfer back to Yanji where our tour ends!
If you need to organise a flight, train or an overnight in Yanji please contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.
• Twin share accommodation (single supplements are available for an extra 40 EUR per night).
• Train from Beijing to Yanji.
• All meals in the DPRK unless specified in the itinerary.
• Korean and western guides.
• Air-conditioned bus and driver.
• All entrances (unless otherwise stated).