Our Rason Gambling tour adds a unique spin to our usual Rason visit. Whilst there is famously a casino on the ground floor of the Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang, it pails into insignificance when compared to the Imperial Hotel and Casino of Rason. Not only is it a full all out casino, but is the most luxurious hotel in DPRK.
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 which allows experimentations with elements of capitalism.
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 area where you can exchange hard currency for North Korean Won at non official rates. You may also apply for your very own DPRK debit card, visit local factories, drop by joint ventures restaurants and more. A great trip for returners or for people who want to see the DPRK that most people never do.
We’ve mixed elements of gambling as well as touring, and exploring the culinary delights that this region has to offer. Group A members start and finish the tour in Beijing, Group B members can start and finish the tour in Yanji.
Group A members will meet your YPT guide at 10:00am at the Beijing Zhong Gu 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 travelers 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.
Dinner, drinks, and overnight on the train.
Arrive in Yanji at 2:06pm and transfer to the Liujing Hotel – coincidentally this hotel’s name in Korean is Ryugyong Hotel, the very same name of the giant pyramid hotel in Pyongyang. This hotel is owned and operated by the DPRK state.
Group B members will meet with Group A members at the hotel
Walk down the main street of Yanji where South Korean businesses have opened restaurants and cafes nearby the Yanbian University
Dinner and drinks at a North Korean restaurant nearby – accompanied by a North Korean musical performance
Overnight at Liujing Hotel
8:00am departure to the border between the DPRK and China – 2 and half 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
Check into the Imperial Hotel – this astonishing 5 Star hotel and casino built by Hong Kong investors.
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.
Visit the only private market where foreign visitors are able to visit in North Korea. Here it is possible to see what’s available for normal citizens to buy and sell. We will have access to 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 locally made goods.
Visit the Czech Joint-Venture craft beer bar evening drinks
Dinner at the Local Noodle House – here we can sample some very famous Pyongyang Cold Noodles and local performance. The noodle house will also prepare any seafood you had purchased from the market.
Overnight and the Imperial Hotel & Casino
Breakfast at hotel with the morning largely to yourself to gamble at the casino, or relax on the private beach behind the hotel. The group vehicle will be on standby if you wish to do more exploration of Rason.
Optional visits include:
Rason Bookshop and Souvenir Shop – books and a wide range of souvenirs are available here.
Visit the Rajin Clothing & Shoe Factory – one of the more interesting factories in town with a lot of outsourced production finding its way here.
Head into town for lunch at Kumyong Restaurant
Return to hotel for leisure or option visit to Rason Art Gallery – Most of the works here are also for sale with some of the DPRK’s top artists having paintings featured
Dinner nearby the central square at a Ukrainian Joint-Venture Restaurant with authentic dishes and karaoke
Return and overnight at Imperial Hotel & Casino
Breakfast at hotel
Leisure morning at the casino with option to visit Pipha Island for scenic ocean shots of the East Sea of Korea – optional boat ride to see local seals on the reef
Check out of hotel
Drive to the three-point pass where the borders of the DPRK, China and Russia meet. Incredibly unique photo opportunity.
Picnic lunch at the three-point pass overlooking China and Russia
Visit the monument of Admiral Ri Sun Xin – most famous within the country for designing the Turtle Ship
Visit the DPRK-Russia Friendship Pavilion
Drive to DPRK customs and cross back to China through immigration
Met by our private bus for the journey back to Yanji
On the way back we stop at the Tumen border crossing where it is possible to buy a number of items not available in North Korea, with YPT able to get the best prices in town
On arrival in Yanji Group B members tour concludes, Group A members check into the Liujing Hotel
We finish our last night of the tour by heading out for dinner in Yanji, with the cuisine famous in the northeast region of China
Overnight at LiuJing Hotel
Saturday 28th August
Free morning to explore Yanji by foot
We finish our journey by heading to Yanji East Railway Station to board the 1:26pm fast train to Beijing.
• Single deluxe accommodation.
• Train from Beijing to Yanji and Yanji to Beijing.
• All meals in the DPRK, and evening dinner in Yanji.
• Korean and western guides.
• Air-conditioned bus and driver.
• All entrances (unless otherwise stated).