Thrill-Seeking Chinese Tourists Rush To Visit North Korea "Before The Regime Collapses"

Tyler Durden's picture

While nearly two-thirds of Americans view North Korea as a “serious threat” and most would rather vacation literally anywhere else following the death of college student Otto Warmbier, Chinese adventure-seekers are visiting the North in ever-greater numbers, according to Reuters. The wave of tourism has been inspired by the fear that the latest escalation between Pyongyang and Washington might lead to the toppling of the Kim regime, which has successfully kept the forces of modernization at bay for decades, offering tourists a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse into the past that some say reminds them of a "young" China.

North Korea has become a favorite destination among wealthier, more adventurous Chinese travelers. Another tour operator who targets the affluent said he’s been fielding more questions about whether it’s safe to visit the North, Reuters reported.

"But those that inquire often already have their heart set on going," the operator, who declined to be named, told Reuters. "The idea of a bit of danger adds to the thrill and mystery of North Korea."

While the looming threat of nuclear annihilation is keeping some tourists at bay, more daring travelers say they are trying to visit the North before regime change brings the country into the 21st century, according to one tour guide.

"There have been quite a few tourists in my groups who say they want to see North Korea in its reclusive state while they can," he said.


"It won't be the same if the regime collapses."

China stopped publishing national data about tourism to North Korea in 2012. But regional data show that more than 580,000 Chinese from the province of Dandong crossed the border into North Korea during the second half of 2016, more than the double the 237,000 Chinese who visited the country during 2012.

“China's tourism authority has not published a breakdown of the total number of Chinese visitors to North Korea since 2012, when it said 237,000 made the trip.


But the number traveling just from Dandong spiked to 580,000 in the second half of 2016 alone, according to the state-run China News Service. The report said 85 percent of Chinese tourist visits to North Korea originated from Dandong.


That's still only a fraction of the 8 million Chinese who visited South Korea in 2016.”

According to Reuters, tourists can take ferries or charter speedboats down the Yalu River – the border between the North and China – to catch a glimpse of North Korea villages and the heavily armed guards who patrol the border.

Other fun activities include paying respects to a statue of Kim il-Sung.

“A flyer for the one-day tour to Sinijiu tout a trip to the city’s central plaza, where you can pay respects to a bronze statue of North Korea's founding president Kim il-Sung, as well as visits to a cosmetics factory, a revolutionary history museum, art history museum and a cultural park.


"You can feast on the North Korean specialty food by warm and hospitable North Koreans," it says.

As we reported last month, trade between China and North Korea expanded by 10% during the first half of the year, as have the number of border crossings. Meanwhile, traffic, especially on lower-end group tours, has grown steadily to one of the world's most isolated states over the past few years, despite North Korea's persistent nuclear and missile tests, which have elicited increasingly tight U.N. sanctions.

Few of the Chinese who spoke to Reuters were concerned about the North’s missile tests, or the economic sanctions imposed by the UN. Most said they saw the opportunity to visit a “piece of history” as too attractive to pass up.

“Undeterred by escalating tensions between Pyongyang and Washington rattling nerves globally, a steady stream of tourists from China each morning passes through the immigration checkpoint at the border trading hub of Dandong.


Greeting them on the North Korean side are dozens of tour buses, collecting them for itineraries ranging from a day in neighboring Sinijiu to a week visiting North Korea's main cities, including the capital Pyongyang.


"We're curious. We want to see how they live," Xu Juan said on Thursday before crossing the Yalu River, which marks the border between the two countries. Xu was traveling with friends and family from Hangzhou, in eastern China.


"I just want the sense of nostalgia, to see a country that is poor, like (China was) when I was young," said a man in his early 50s, from Jilin province, declining to give his name.”

If the Chinese government has its druthers, the North’s status as a living wax museum likely won’t change any time soon: According to an article in the Global Post, the Communist Party has vowed to step in if the US or South Korea tries to topple the Kim regime.

Though no official US records are available, it’s believed that hundreds of adventure-seeking US tourists would visit North Korea every year. Typically, they would arrange tours through Switzerland, or sign on with a Chinese tour company based near the border. However, relations between the two countries have deteriorated to such a degree that any US tourist crazy enough to visit the North should get it over with soon: The State Department has banned US passport holders from traveling to the North after Sept. 1.

For any American hoping to visit a foreign country ruled by a hostile government, we hear Eritrea is beautiful in the fall.

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Moe Hamhead's picture

Threats of war are good for tourism.

ACP's picture

Threats of war are good for tourism.

Perhaps Trump should threaten to annex France from ISIS?

keep the bastards honest's picture

Historically Korea has been a cultural birthplace for  china and Japan, in martial arts and  like karate and tai kwon do and in aesthetics. Ceramics. These emanated from Korea and spread.  Before the Korean War fest  damaged it so much. These merican writers know buggerall.

Wild Theories's picture

what the fuck are you smoking? you might as well claim Europe was the birthplace of ancient Egpytian culture.

Zorba's idea's picture

Classic! I'll have my people call MaCrony's people to let them know Donalds people would like to make an artful deal.

ET's picture

Chinese spies, not tourists.

Doom Porn Star's picture

Who doesn't loves relaxing at a nicely appointed spa with a grand view of the Potemkin Village?

Time to book a hay ride in Amish County while it lasts..

alexcojones's picture

Sending postcards from the edge?

The edge of Armeggedon


clade7's picture

'Corrapses' sp...

south40_dreams's picture

You can check out, but......

dirty fingernails's picture

"I was there! I even have the radiation sickness to prove it!"

Thrillseekers or deathwish/suicidal?

dirty fingernails's picture

Hold a sec, do theze thrillseekers all have the same luggage and shark eyes?

Mr. Schmilkies's picture

Good, Trump can get 2 birds with 1 stone. 

Mr. Schmilkies's picture

Chinese are visiting because it will be gone in a couple weeks. 

Storm-Clouds's picture

Bolshoi they are selling Bic lighters...

El Hosel's picture

See.... You can buy a thrill after all, another myth busted.

Yen Cross's picture

  Kim Dim Sum dare not incarcerate Chinese, or his monthly chocolate rations will be halved.

Déjà view's picture

Sum Of A Beach...


CHoward's picture

Hmmmm maybe - just maybe - they're a little more fucked up than even I imagined.

Bai Suzhen's picture

The way I see it, if you're going to have nuclear annihilation, might as well get a close look at it, first hand.  I mean, who wants to watch it on TV, and have to deal with all those fat people commercials, when you can check it out in person?

Whoa Dammit's picture

I would have liked to have been able to go there and see what its like before we ruin it.

Rick Cerone's picture

Send the Mormons, please!!!!

AnAnony's picture

No need to rush. They will soon see North Korea in their own country. In China, the saying goes like this: In the past, we thought NK was our past, now we know its our future.

Dragon HAwk's picture

Eritrea wow my geography is slipping, sounds like Christians and Muslims living in harmony ( just nobody else ) have to do something about that, do they have any Oil.

are we there yet's picture

So North Korea is a theme park with nuclear missiles.

matermaker's picture

shades of Bull Run....    we will know by midnight where the chips lie.

Dancing Disraeli's picture

The Chinese have a strange nostalgia for their crappy, impoverished Mao-era past.

I remember seeing an article years ago, where some enterprising Chinese guy started a restaurant where the cuisine consisted of the horrible food everyone ate during the poverty-stricken era.

It drew a lot of customers.  At the end of the article, they interviewed a customer after he had finished eating, and he said, 'Yep, it's as bad as I remembered.'

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

I know a Chinese woman who was a Barefoot Doctor during Mousie Dung's rein of terror. She said that her mother (whom I also met) and she survived by eating grass. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people starved to death there during that period.

ChaoKrungThep's picture

Maybe, but there was also plenty of good stuff the menu. The chinese can make old boots taste like T-bone.

vega74's picture

Ah so!  Trump's plan to re-build America:

A surge in Chinese tourism dollars to tour post-apocalyptic U.S.A.

How do you say in Mandarin ' Look ma, look at all the peasants ' ?

Just for the record, that was sarcasm.

I respect the Office of the President.

Trump is setting out to accomplish the impossible:

Trump yearns to do the impossible
 in 140 characters or less.

In an oval office
  he backs himself into a corner.

And the exit strategy is ???

Diplomacy?  Grace?  The unkown unkown?

Stay tuned!  Don't touch that dial (button ?)

Happy Friday everyone :)

silverer's picture

The Chinese: Many have a great sense of humor.

Davidduke2000's picture

tyler has been beating the drums of regime collapse in NK and Venezuela for the last 3 years and yet both leaders are still there. 

rejected's picture

The site is owned by ABC.  The real Tylers are long gone..... sigh.

GunnerySgtHartman's picture

ABC Media Ltd., not ABC the television network (which is owned by Disney).

Grandad Grumps's picture

If I was to guess, ABC Media is ultimately owned by someone in Israel found work for the deep state. We are lab rats.

Byrond's picture

Every tourist has a little piece of a mini nuke in their pocket, and a wad of cash in the other. 

rejected's picture

which has successfully kept the forces of modernization at bay for decades, offering tourists a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse into the past that some say reminds them of a "young" China.

Does this look like the past?

Another Reuters propaganda piece, sigh.

Hillarys Server's picture

Almost everything the media says about North Korea is false.

Americans, of which I am one, are the among the most gullible and thoroughly brainwashed people on the planet.

Davidduke2000's picture

China can stop shipping dollar store food to the us, it will send 50 million who are on food stamps back to eating  old Roy. 

Byrond's picture

580,000 nuclear bomb and ICBM experts each took a week off. 

Rebelrebel7's picture

Why append so much time and money traveling to see something similar to America? 

Fro. Wikipedia:

"Since Eritrea's conflict with Ethiopia in 1998–2001, the nation's human rights record has come under criticism at the United Nations.[121] Human rights violations are allegedly frequently committed by the government or on behalf of the government.Freedom of speechpressassembly, andassociation are limited. "

They also engage in torture and indefinite detention without charges or a trial just like the fascist government in America!

Cluster_Frak's picture

i can only imagine the line up of chinese tourists with selfie sticks in Auschwitz circa 1944. I bet they would photograph all the way through the showers and the crematoria.

Dancing Disraeli's picture

The gassing in the showers myth is just that.  This is the age of information.  Ignorance is a choice.

83_vf_1100_c's picture

Zyklon B was just a german brand shampoo. Fucking morons. You a flat earther also?

sinbad2's picture

If you were to Google tourism New Zealand, Canada, Thailand etc, you would be swamped with information about numbers, resorts, everything you ever wanted to know. If you Google tourism North Korea, all you get is page after page of American propaganda.

So why does the US try so hard to stop the world finding out about North Korea?