While many western tourists have, over the years, passed through Sinuiju when exiting North Korea by train it was not until mid 2013 that western tourists could leave the train station and stay overnight here.
A stop in Sinuiju was offered as an extra to my main tour of North Korea. I am glad I took the option – few do.
Sinuiju is a bleak and dreary outpost situated on the Yalu River in the north west of North Korea but don’t let that put you off. The Yalu River is the border between North Korea and China. Across the river from Sinuiju is the Chinese city of Dandong. Around 80% of Dandong’s foreign trade passes through Sinuiju bound, in the main, for Pyongyang. In addition to being a transport hub, Sinuiju is home to a number of major industrial facilities.
Despite its proximity to China, Sinuiju remains very much a North Korean city and until your make your way to the river side and see it, there is little or no evidence that a Chinese city of around three million people is a matter of a few hundred metres away.
From a tourist prospective Sinuiju has all the North Korean staples including statues of the Leaders, murals and monuments, museums, an art gallery and dated parks. We also visited a school here and the most amazing kindergarten in addition to having the opportunity to walk along the Yalu River and watch tourists on the other side watching us, watching them!
If you have the opportunity to visit North Korea and can exit by train (at present US citizens cannot do this) do take the opportunity to stop off in Sinuiju before crossing the border into China. It is worth it alone just to visit the Ponbu Kindergarten.
Having introduced you to Sinuiju I invite you to join me as I take you on a tour of the city as I saw it.
This blog entry is the first in a group (loop) of reviews on Sinuiju in North Korea which I recommend you read in a particular order starting with my next entry – We want to see a black man.