Wandering Around Rason, North Korea {PHOTOS}

Wandering Around Rason, North Korea {PHOTOS}

In 2019 I visited Rason, North Korea. For years I’d been so curious about visiting the secretive state, that I’d even had a trip planned in 2014. That one I had to put aside, but as I’ve been based in Hong Kong of late, travelling to North Korea became more viable this time around.

Part of my curiosity with travelling has always been visiting destinations that have no mass tourism, an unknown reputation, and are deemed ‘off the beaten track’. We all know North Korea fits those descriptions entirely, but I wanted to experience more than just most peoples first-time destination, the capital, Pyongyang.

I reached out to Young Pioneer Tours, arguably the top tour agency that provides trips to North Korea, and was offered an opportunity to visit.


Where is Rason?

With no international airport, my trip to Rason saw me take a seven-hour train from Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Station into Beijing, followed by another 36 hours to Yanji, eastern China. A three hours bus trip to the China-North Korea border, it was a further two hours inland.

Here are some exclusive photos of the views during my time in Rason, focusing on landscapes and buildings that were all part of the wandering around in the north-eastern city.


China-North Korea border





‘Beerhouse’ bar, part of a Czech joint venture


As you may have heard, you aren’t allowed to just get your camera out and take photos as you please. You have to have permission by the North Korean guides or incredibly sneaky photo-taking skills.

Their argument is photos can be used as ‘propaganda’ in the west, to make North Korea look poor and impoverished.

According to our Australian guide though, the photo-taking rules were still a little more relaxed in Rason than other parts of the country.


Visitors can open a local DPRK bank account at the Golden Triangle Bank


Joint Venture Seafood Factory, Pipha Island


Rajin Clothing Factory (outside)


Gas station


Despite the images depicting nice weather, it was bitterly cold in Rason. We visited in February, the breeze was icy and the air brisk.


A Mon-styled gate in Haean Park



When I was exploring Rason, I took out travel insurance with…




Rajin Kindergarten School



Central Square, Rason


Around the centre, the atmosphere was always quieter than anywhere I’ve ever visited. The lack of noise pollution was eery, but everything seemed in order and without issue.


Namsan Hotel, Central Square, Rason


Bipado Hotel Resort

Mosaic pictures of President Kim II Sung and General Kim Jong II


Typical posters found in North Korea often deemed as propaganda internationally


Photos provide the setting but words add the detail. You can read about some of my written work about Rason by clicking here







Three-point-pass bordering North Korea, Russia and China, DPRK-Russia Friendship Pavillon outskirts of Rason