Thursday, July 20th to Friday 25th, 2017
(6 days / 5 nights)
July 19th-20th 2017
Mt. Paektu & the Borderlands overnight trip (details to be announced)
Pre-Departure Briefing, Lecture and Workshop:
A pre-departure meeting and workshop will be held in the afternoon on July 20th, 2017. The specific location and time will be sent to registered participants.
July 20th, 2017
Day One: Yanji: Center of China’s Korean Ethnic Minority & Border Trade & the Gateway to the DPRK
We begin our journey exploring the dynamic city of Yanji, located in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture of China. This is one of the largest centers of trade and business between the DPRK and China which includes many joint investment projects, factories, and restaurants employing DPR Koreans in the thousands. We will gain a greater understanding of the people and as well as the differences and similarities to compare these regions by exploring markets, local specialty products, and through meeting face-to-face local traders and businessmen involved in cross-border trade. We’ve organized a special interactive workshop with China’s top authority on DPRK-Chinese trade, politics, and economy, to discuss current issues & events, historical calamities, strained relations and the prospects for further development the region followed by a Q&A.
In the late afternoon, we will have a briefing about this region and a comprehensive trip introduction with PCE’s director, DPRK and local expert, Michael Spavor. For dinner, we will visit a Yanbian Chinese joint venture restaurant which employs DPR Korean waitresses, who will perform privately for our delegation and we will also have the opportunity to dance, sing, and chat with them and get their thoughts on life and working in China. Overnight: Yanji
Note: How to get to Yanji, China
A local Chinese-Korean (조선족, Joseonjok) friend and cross-border trader, selling his DPRK, South Korean and Chinese food products and goods in a small local market. A variety of products like red pepper powders, nuts, edible mountain mushrooms, and roots are all products from the DPRK. They are all proudly displayed as “MADE IN DPRK” and these products are well known and valued in Northeast China to be organic, naturally grown and processed with no artificial preservatives or chemical fertilizers. Yanji, China (Paektu Cultural Exchange).
July 21st, 2017
Day Two: Tumen Industrial Complex, Borderlands & the Rason SEZ
After a short drive to the Tumen/Namyang border towns, PCE has special permission to visit a joint-venture factory in a private industrial complex where about 2500-3000 DPR Korean laborers are employed to produce electronic goods, engage in food processing and other manufacturing.
We then drive along the tumen river for a glimpse into rural life across the river in the DPRK then arrive at the Quanhe-Wonjong, DPRK-China border crossing for immigration and border formalities to enter the DPRK’s first and most successful Special Economic Zone. We have permission to speak to local officials and view some of the city’s newest infrastructure developments which are under construction or under renovation. We will walk around the Rason City Port, which is currently being used to ship Russian coal to several China ports. We have been invited by the local university to observe classes and speak to some of the students and faculty. We can watch or join in some friendly sports matches. In the evening, we can enjoy European Beer and food at the Czech micro-brewery where we can learn about this European start-up investment. Overnight: Rajin
Quota inspection at a shoe and garment factory in the Rason SEZ, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange).
July 22nd 2017
Day Three: Rajin, Songbong & Factory Visits
We will conduct site inspections of a trading company and a few DPRK-China JV investments (the new Rajin Bag Factory, and the Rajin Cigarette & Tobacco Factory), where we have arranged a factory visit including a talk with the managers to discuss production, labor practices, and how the 2015 and 2016 flooding and the US and European sanctions have affected recent business.
We will visit a local bank to change foreign currency into DPRK won and then visit the massive Central Rason Market to bargain for unique items electronics & artifacts. The Rason market is one of the most amazing sites which can be visited in the DPRK, it is a wonderfully alive, sometimes dramatic and packed with people exchanging goods. PCE will take you on a guided tour sampling some delicacies, help you chat with merchants and have a great time. Note: Rason has the only local bank and actual market open to visitors in the entire country.
Later we will visit a local Department Store and some shops to get a feel of what domestic and imported products are being sold, by who for what prices. In the late afternoon, we will visit the beachfront area to either walk around, talk, play sports or go swimming in the sea with locals. After dinner, we can relax outside in the Rason’s Central Square to sample local drinks, liquors and maybe some “adventurous” snacks and delicacies. Overnight: Rajin
Discussion with assembly line manager at the Bomhyangi factory, Sinuiji, DPRK
July 23rd, 2017
Day Three: The eastern port city of Chongjin, factories & colonial history
After passing through the internal border departing the Rason SEZ, we will enter North Hamgyong Province, and begin the day on a scenic drive through the countryside. This province is one of the least visited regions in the entire country and was one of the hardest hit during the 1995-1996 famine (known as the Arduous March) and historically was one of the major Japanese areas with direct sea access during the Japanese occupation (1905-1945).
When we arrive in the East coast city of Chongjin, the third largest city in the country and provincial capital, we will take a walk around the central square statues, then we’ve arranged a local trolley ride can give us a better feel for this developing coastal city. We will visit the aging Susongchon Combined Foodstuff Factory which produces various food products, snacks, and alcohols in the region. We then visit a Japanese-Korean run hotel and restaurant for lunch and then the North Hamgyong Provincial City Museum, then a private art gallery where we view and purchase some amazing new and older hand-painted works of art for unbelievably low prices. We will observe a community computer and language class at the newly renovated provincial E-Library. For dinner, we will visit the Chongjin Seamen’s Club, the designated compound for foreign seaman to lodge, bathe, and shop while stopping over in the Chongjin Port. This place is popular among locals for their cold noodles (랭면), Karaoke, interactive song & dance performances, as well as it’s public bathhouse. We will have dinner and drinks until the late evening. Overnight: Chongjin
Street scene near the central market in Chongjin, North Hamgyoung, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)
July 24th, 2017
Day Four: Chilbo Mountain
In the morning, we embark on a spectacular drive winding along the beautiful east coast through local fishing villages, active open mining facilities, cultivated fields, and pastures.
After a relaxing hike overlooking the sea, we make it down to the beach then to the village where we will stay and engage with locals who are very eager to interact, eat, drink, and play sports with visitors. In the afternoon, we have arranged a special workshop with the local farmers or fishermen where they will demonstrate and teach their catching, harvesting, food processing skills and trades. After we prepare some local dishes together we will enjoy a feast and spend time with our homestay families and other villagers. We will spend the evening together with our new friends then we will each stay at different villager’s homes with their families at the country’s only homestay for foreign guests. After a dinner of garden grown and seasonal specialties we can go down to the beach, look at the sky filled with stars and relax, or for the adventurous, take a midnight swim. Overnight: Oceanside Chilbo Homestay Village
Late night fun sharing food, wine, stories, and electronic goods with one of the homestays in a Chilbo fishing village. Note the father of this household and fisherman shown here in the iPad photo, took this amazing photo of his son and our guest, after showing him some SLR photography basics. Chilbosan, DPRK (Mr. Ri Gwang-Chol, Paektu Cultural Exchange)
July 25th, 2017
Day Five: Chilbo, Kyongsong, Hoeryong and crossing the Tuman Namyang Border
The next morning, we drive to Kyongsong (famous for its hot springs), and along the way, we will visit a special Oceanside revolutionary site and a local fishing village.
End of Delegation
This program begins in Yanji, China
It is recommended to arrive in Yanji, China on the evening of July 19th (or on the morning of July 20th).
How to get to Yanji, China
This program and ends in Yanji, China
By Car: Arrive in Yanji | July 25th, 2017
Saying heartfelt goodbyes after a friendly sports and language exchange, North Hamgyoung, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)
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Disclaimer: This itinerary is tentative and subject to some changes. It is quite normal and expected for small changes on any delegation to the DPRK. PCE and our hosts always do our best to accommodate within our abilities. In the event of itinerary changes, PCE will arrange relevant alternative activities. All payments are subject to PCE terms and conditions.