Located in the far northeast we arrive here after a 30 hour train ride from Pyongyang! The islet is probably best known for being right next to the Imperial Hotel & Casino. There are several casinos in Rason but this is without any doubt the king of them all. This is the only part of the country where tourists can visit public markets and use the local currency (DPRK Won) freely in shops, markets, restaurants and hotels throughout the region. A curious and attractive corner of a bizarre nation, where North Korea borders both China and Russia and the government is slowly trialling a more open economic system. Separated from the rest of the country, a country within a country almost (with a border fence to prove it), Rason opened for investment. Made up of two cities — Rajin and Sonbong — Rason is the North Koreans’ answer to having a unique economic zone away from Pyongyang, similar to how Shenzhen operates in relation to Beijing. Photo courtesy of Yonhap News UPDATED at … The name Rason comes from a combination of the names of Rajin city and Sonbong county. Yanji in China | KTG® Tours | is the capital of Yanbian, a Korean autonomous region in Jilin province, China. It has attracted a lot of foreign investment and used as an experimental area.. There are several ways to access this corner of North Korea: On the Russian side it is possible to exit the DPRK via Khasan and then from there you can move to Vladivostok and fly to Pyongyang. You can see the fish in different sizes. Rajin-Sonbong Special Economic Zone - 2 Day Adventure in the far Northeast of North Korea Rajin-Sonbong, aka Rason, is a Special Economic Zone located in the far northeast of the DPRK, bordering Russia and China. Pyongyang to Rason with KTG - exploring the DPRK by train with locals. Rason was original founded as the Rajin-Sonbong Economic Special Zone in the mid 80’s although the ‘Law of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on the Rason Economic and Trade Zone’ was not formally put into place until 1993. Being an autonomous capital of sorts, Rajin is slowly being upgraded and now has, by North Korean standards, a comparatively affluent air about it. On paper, Rason offered everything to seemingly keep all parties happy: a distance from Pyongyang; a rail link with Russia; an ice-free port; and a border with China’s Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture. Rason is home to some of North Korea’s finest lagoons, beaches and hills © Carl Meadows. The train is full of people going to the eastern part of the DPRK and the far northeastern part as well as of workers going to Russia. We will be able to visit for example a local bank, the Golden Triangle Bank, and a private market where locals sell and buy goods. Yes, some business has come; the Russians have been trickling money into developing the rail infrastructure and the aforementioned ice-free ports, while China, Mongolia and others have dipped their toes into certain other waters, but most of the business is still small scale and speculative, with many of those who have decided to try their luck in Rason having political or ethnic ties to the DPRK. If you visit Pyongyang you may see thousands of people gather at the exhibition centre in the capital on major holidays, such as the birthdays of the leaders. Probably not something you expect to do when going to North Korea. The twin cities of Rajin and Sonbong are situated in this area in the extreme far north of the country near the border with Russia. Football kits, electric fans, fresh seafood, bicycles, motorbikes, kayagums (traditional Korean instrument), fruit... you name it, this market has it! For over twenty years, North Korea has periodically attempted to bolster its economy through the creation of SEZs, starting with the establishment of the Rason Special Economic Zone in the far … Rason, North Korea’s Special Economic Zone located in the far Northeast of the country, is undergoing change at a pace unseen in its twenty-year existence. One of the local Rason guides, Mr. Kim, once told us that he was guiding some travellers from the US (this was before the US imposed a travel ban on its citizens from going to North Korea) through the market. © Copyright 2008-2021 www.north-Korea-travel.com. It is common to see children having fun and skating in the park. These include guide books on how to invest in Rason and the policies of the country regarding foreign investment in the area. KTG® Tours | The Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture is located in Jilin province, Northeast China, bordering North Korea (DPRK) and Russia. Please note that we can help with the flights Pyongyang – Yanji, Yanji – Pyongyang, Pyongyang – Vladivostok, Vladivostok – Pyongyang. Northeastern Chinese businesses far from the sea used to be major clients as it was cheaper for them to buy seafood from DPRK and have it transported to them vs buying more expensive seafood from other areas in China, have it transported frozen to them. Most of the JV in Rason involve Chinese or Russian companies. Please note that although this is a remote area of the DPRK that many Chinese tourists, especially from landlocked areas in the Dongbei (northeast) region of China go to Rason. You will be asked to enter a 4 digit pin and voilà the card is yours. can be visited in the DPRK other than this Special Economic Zone of North Korea. You can see China, Russia and the DPRK meeting in the picture above. Where President Kim Il Sung re-entered Korea after the Liberation from Japanese colonial rule. 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