About the Mission

This trade and investment development mission lead by Michael Spavor explores the current economic environment and various business opportunities in NE China and the Rason Special Economic Zone in the DPRK (a.k.a. North Korea). We will observe and participate in the 6th annual 2016 Rason International Trade Exhibition (RITE) located in the city of Rajin. During this delegation we will meet with foreign experts, DPR Korean, Chinese, Chinese-Korean businessmen and government officials, attend seminars and meetings and experience this region’s unique character and charm. We will also enjoy some of the local Chinese, Chinese-Korean and DPR Korean unique cultural features and culinary specialties and learn more about the economics, politics and history of this diverse region of the world located in what has been called the Tumen Triangle.


Focused Trade and Investment Industries

Garment manufacturing, seafood processing, light industry, agriculture, wind energy, transport, logistics, hotels and restaurants among other services and industries.

Who Should Attend

  • Executives of small, medium or large-size international companies and others interested in learning more about Trade and Investment opportunities in the Rason Special Economic Zone

  • Businesses interested in making new Trade and Investment partners in the DPRK

  • Organizations and individuals interested in business, trade and investment opportunities in DPRK

  • Individuals also interested in learning more about the culture, economics and history of the Yanbian, Rason or the “Tumen Triangle” region



  • Direct access to investment-seeking stakeholders of state-owned companies in the Rason Special Economic Zone

  • First-hand look at successful international joint-venture projects in the DPRK

  • Attend workshops, seminars, presentations including Q&A sessions

  • Multiple opportunities for networking and discussion with Rason business and government agencies (Department of Economic Cooperation of the Rason City People’s Committee) as well as local business leaders

  • Emersion in DPRK culture to foster cultural and business development

  • First-hand look at emerging business opportunities with DPRK enterprises



Based on your individual or company profile PCE can request private and special meetings concerning specific investment and trade projects. Please advise us as in advance as possible or at least 2 weeks before mission departure.

Delegation Cost

  • Standard Package - 1,695 Euro

  • Premium Package - 2,295 Euro

This includes travel permit, all entrances and full board in the DPRK and China.


  • 40% deposit (delegation is limited to 10 participants)

Application Deadline

  • July 25th 2016 (non-US citizens)

  • July 15th 2016 (US citizens)

Full Payment Deadline

  • August 5th 2016


Disclaimer: This itinerary is tentative, and subject to change. It is quite normal and expected for some small changes on any trip to the DPRK, PCE and our hosts always do their best to accommodate our delegations within their abilities. Deposits are non-refundable for administration and advanced booking purposes.

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Rason ItineraryDay 1: Sunday, August 14th YANJI

Yanji Arrival, Introductions, Welcoming Dinner & Drinks


  • Arrive in Yanji (via International Airport, Train Station, and Bus Station)

  • Check into Hotel (Check-in after 12pm)

  • 6-7pm Meet in hotel lobby for introductions

  • 7pm Welcoming Dinner at local Chinese-Korean Restaurant

  • Optional: Casual drinks at a local Korean-Chinese Rice Wine Tavern

  • Overnight: Liujing Hotel (DPRK owned and operated)

Day 2: Monday, August 15th YANJI
Introduction to Chinese-DPRK Trade, Investment, History and Culture


  • Lecture, Discussion and Q&A with Professor Andrei Lankov

    • Topics: the DPRK, the Rason SEZ and the Tumen Triangle Trade Region, including Yanbian China, Russia, and the DPRK.

  • Lecture, Discussion and Q&A with a well-known Chinese-Korean professor from Yanbian University’s Northeast Asia Research College.

    • Topics: regional border trade, current and past Sino-DPRK and Northeast Asia political / economic issues, the current situation of trade and investment in the DPRK, the Rason SEZ and Tumen Triangle Area, among other topics.


  • Lunch – Yanbian Style Cold noodles and other local Chinese-Korean delicacies

  • Discussion with local Chinese-Korean family (tea & snacks)

    • Topics: Through discussion and Q&A we will learn first hand from ethnic Koreans (with ancestry from the Koreas) about their life stories, family-life and the turbulent history of this developing region.

  • Guided Yanji City Walking tour – including a former Communist Chinese underground bunker complex, the darker sides of Yanji and a colorful mix of Korean-Chinese and DPRK architecture.

  • Dinner and Discussion with local Chinese-Korean businessmen – most definitely followed by optional drinking, dancing and singing.

  • Optional: Check out Yanji’s Nightlife (We can visit a few local pubs)

  • Overnight: Liujing Hotel

Day 3: Tuesday, August 16th YANJI
DPRK Business 101, the West market, DPRK dinner and show.


  • Free time to walk around the area or rest

  • Meet in lobby

  • Guided walking tour at the Yanji West Market

  • We will take a look at the colorful goods for sale paying specific attention to goods imported from the DPRK and talking to local sellers about their business. This will include personal anecdotes, stories and visit some areas

  • Lunch – We will stop at a popular local restaurant as well as sampling some of the local street foods and snacks


  • Presentation: Business in the DPRK presented by Michael Spavor

    • Topics Discussed include: Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI), Legal Framework for Foreign Direct Investment, Investment Opportunities, among other topics.

  • DPRK Pre-trip briefing and Q&A participants will receive essential information about traveling to the DPRK, the itinerary and guidelines for this mission.
    Dinner, drinks and performance at a DPRK owned and operated restaurant

  • Overnight: Liujing Hotel

Day 4: Wednesday, August 17th YANJI – RASON
Welcome to the DPRK! DPRK border crossing, welcome banquet, performance


  • Early departure from our hotel in China for the 3 hour long drive to the border. Immigration and border formalities (usually about an hour). There we will continue on by bus to Rason where we will be greeted and take a look around the city.

  • Check-in to Hotel


  • Welcoming Luncheon at a local DPRK restaurant.

  • School children performance

  • Meetings with representatives from the Rason City People’s Committee

  • Dinner at the city’s famous noodle restaurant (Korean food)

  • Overnight: at Namsan Hotel

  • Optional: Evening activities include professional massage (about 15 USD per hour)

Day 5: Thursday, August 18th Rason
Triangle bank, Trade Fair, Private Market


  • Morning walk around the city of Rason

  • Visit to Rason’s Golden Triangle Bank, the only place where it is possible to change into Korean money legally as a foreigner. You are also able to get a DPRK debit card here.

  • Visit to the bustling Rason Central Market. Here we can see the only market westerners can visit in the entire country. We can window shop, bargain, look at the local foods and commercial products for sale and even get an authentic DPRK suit made here.


  • Lunch at the Ukrainian run JV restaurant.

  • Rason International Trade Exhibition. After attending the Opening Ceremonies, we will witness the busy opening day of the exhibition.

  • Thousands of curious locals come to see and acquire foreign goods which are on display and for sale here. We will explore the exhibits and booths with our DPRK and PCE guides interacting and asking questions to local business people interested in finding overseas partners to sell or wholesale their products and services. Here we are able to arrange private meetings with individual exhibitors to find our more information and make new business contacts.

  • Visit a joint-venture shoe factory run by a resident Korean-American, we will get a chance to learn about how business is conducted as an expat in this Economic Zone.

  • Transfer to Pipha Hotel, where they will cook up the fresh ingredients that we purchased from the market at their restaurant. Singing, dancing and drinking commonly follow most meals here for those whom are interested.

  • Overnight: Pipha Hotel

Day 6: Friday, August 19th Rason
Trade fair, Beach and Park walk, micro-brews and Central Square


  • Check out of hotel

  • Head back to the Rason International Trade Exhibition for additional meetings wrap-up sessions with trade officials, matched exhibitors and local businessmen for more serious and detailed discussions.

  • Take a leisure walk through the city park and the along the beach to mingle with locals and relax. Have a few locally made European Beers and food at the Czech owned and operated micro-brewery which is located near the beach.


  • Lunch – DPRK Chinese-style cuisine

  • We spend the afternoon visiting the local and joint ventures factories and business and learn more hands on knowledge about doing business in the zone.

  • Dinner and drinks in Rajin Central Square (weather permitting open-air). The restaurant we will be using has private rooms and areas that will be perfect for last drinks and meetings with officials, which can be arranged prior to our departure.

  • Overnight: Rajin Hotel

Day 7: Saturday, August 20th Rason – Huncheon
The Emperor Hotel, JV’s, and Russian-style Karaoke in Huncheon, China


  • Visit to the Emperor Hotel, which is wholly owned by Hong Kong investors. It is said to be the best hotel in the entire country and here we can share some stories about its interesting past.

  • Visit to the Thai DPRK JV Telecommunications Centre, where it is possible to buy local phone cards, and see what electronics and cel phones are available to the local public.


  • Departure for China via three points pass, where China, North Korea and Russia all meet.

  • Korean-Chinese customs formalities at Wonjong-Quenhe border crossing

  • After clearing customs we travel to Huncheon, located 20min from the Russian border and take a cultural walking tour around town.

  • Meeting with some local businessmen who conduct business with Russia and the DPRK to talk about their experiences with trade and investment projects in the Tumen Triangle region.

  • Overnight: Huncheon, China

Day 8: Sunday, August 21st Huncheon/Tumen/Yanji


  • After breakfast we will take another look around town and stop at a few shops selling Russian goods and stop at a Christian owned western coffee-shop

  • Then we will travel right along the DPRK-China border where we can get a glimpse of what rural lie is like in North Hamgyoung province. We arrive in Tumen walk along the river, which is the border between the DPRK and China then up a hill to get a bird’s eye view of the DPRK town of Namyang. Here lies the other border crossing and a great place to buy DPRK souvenirs.

  • Transfer back to Yanji.

  • End of Program

PCE is able to provide additional services such as ongoing transportation, extended accommodation or other extended tour options upon request. Please contact us for more information contact@paektuculturalexchange.org


Disclaimer: This itinerary is tentative, and subject to change. It is quite normal and expected for some small changes on any trip to the DPRK, PCE and our hosts always do their best to accommodate our delegations within their abilities. Deposits are non-refundable for administration and advanced booking purposes.

Delegation Price:

  • Standard Package – 1,695 Euro

    • Included: This includes travel permit, official visa (not tourist visa), accommodation (double occupancy), business introductions, information sessions, lectures, meetings and events in the DPRK.

  • Premium Package –2,295 Euro

    • The Premium package includes everything in the Standard package with the following additions:

      • Single supplement upgrade – Private hotel room throughout the trip (7 nights)

      • Room level upgrade

      • Yanji airport or train station pick-up and drop off


  • 40% deposit to hold your space (limited) on a first come first serve basis non-refundable.

Included in the tour price:

  • All meals (breakfasts, lunches and dinners)

  • Transportation to and from the DPRK, transportation in the DPRK and China during program

  • 4 nights hotel in the DPRK – 3 nights in China (3 star standard)

  • Beer and water at lunches and dinners (but buy extra if necessary)

  • Transportation in Yanji to the DPRK and until the end of the delegation

  • Smiles, jokes, anecdotes, some basic DPR Korean language skills and some fun & interesting stories everyday

Not Included:

  • Return flights to Yanji from wherever you are coming from (Contact us if you would like us to book your inbound transportation)

  • Chinese double entry visa (required), for more information contact the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence for more information (location and nationality can be different)

  • Extra beers, liquor and drinks

  • Drinks and food at after parties (approx. 1 – 3 euros a beer)

  • Souvenirs, personal expenses and other amenities

Other Notes:

  • Single room supplement fee (if you want your own single room) 40 Euro per night

For more information or any questions please feel free to contact us at:


About the Rason International Trade Exhibition

The Rason International Trade Exhibition (RITE) is organized by the Rason Exhibition Corporation and has been held every year since 2011. At the exhibition there are a variety of goods, technology, exchanges, marketing, investment and trade opportunities in the DPRK as well as from other countries. During the Exhibition there are company information sessions, meetings, presentations as well as company and factory visits.

The RITE publishes exhibitor’s profiles, contact details and other useful information for participants. Electronic equipment, light industry products, housewares, medicine, processed fish and agricultural products, machine tools among other consumer goods from the DPRK and other countries.

For those business interested in setting up a booth at the exhibition this can be arranged for an additional fee, please contact PCE for more information.

If you prefer another payment method please contact us to find another solution at: contact@PaektuCulturalExchange.org


Disclaimer: This itinerary is tentative, and subject to change. It is quite normal and expected for some small changes on any trip to the DPRK, PCE and our hosts always do their best to accommodate our delegations within their abilities. Deposits are non-refundable for administration and advanced booking purposes.

Guide and Cultural Interpreter



Michael Spavor

Michael Spavor
Guide & Cultural Interpreter,
Paektu Cultural Exchange

Michael originates from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and has spent over 18 years living in both North and the South Korea and currently resides in Yanji, China. He first visited the DPRK in 2001 then in 2005; he became the resident managing director of a Canadian NGO operating in Pyongyang.

He also has extensive experience in South Korea working for government tourism and cultural organizations, but in the past decade he has focused on organizing and facilitating cultural, academic, specialized delegations, trade and investment delegations to the DPRK involving different ministries and sectors throughout the entire country.

He organized the Dennis Rodman 2013 and 2014 visits, the basketball match between the DPRK and former NBA players.

Michael graduated from the University of Calgary with a degree in International Relations focusing on the Korean Peninsula and East Asian Studies then studied International Trade and Political Science at Kangwon University in South Korea. Michael is fluent in Korean, French and English.