Rason (라선시) (formally Rajin-Sŏnbong) is in the Donghae Coast region of North Korea.


Location of Rason in the far north east of North Korea
Downtown Rajin

Rason is a combined city of the former cities of Rajin (라진구역) and Sonbong (선봉군). It has a special 'free trade' designation at the corner of both China and Russia which allows for easier foreign investment. It has an approximate population of 195,000.

Get in

Visa Stamp

Of interest to the traveller is that Rason is apparently the only place in North Korea that will provide a visa stamp in your passport (as long as the passport in question is issued by neither Japan or the United States).

The Rason Special Economic area is in many ways a separate country from North Korea. There are check points between North Korea and the zone that act as a border, and North Koreans require special permission (which is not readily granted) to enter the zone.

Chinese citizens do not require a visa to enter, just a travel permit. Chinese cars may also be driven into the zone as well.

By train

The city's   Ranjin Station and   Sonbong Station are on the Pyongna Line and connects all the way to Pyongyang as well as the nearby Russian border city of Khasan. The rail line has a service to Moscow.

Note that the train service (as in most of the rest of North Korea) is not generally available to tourists. Only around 10,000 passengers used this line in the whole of 2005. Of future interest is the city's potential use in a proposed rail link between South Korea and the Russian Trans-Siberian Railway, although this is still an extremely distant prospect as of 2015.



The Emperor Hotel and Casino
Visit a beach


Rason has some reputation for having free markets as well as being able to exchange North Korean currency at 'real' rates rather than the highly disadvantageous 'official' rates.


The Rajin Hotel

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, February 18, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.