Musan, North Korea - As you drive by the North Korean / Chinese border in the Korean autonomous region of Yanbian in Jilin Province, China, and glance below across the meandering Tumen River, this mining city comes to sight. Consisting of mountains and belonging to several plateaux, this is the coldest region in Hamyong Bukto (North Hamyong Province) the furthest northern province in North Korea.
Surrounded by mining mountains and on a plain by the Tumen River, lies the city of Musan. With an estimated population of up to 200,000 people, the sudden view of the city comes as an utter surprise for those driving through the small villages on the Chinese side of the border.
The villages across from North Korea in China are inhabited mainly by Chinese Koreans. These are Chinese citizens of Korean descent. Please check our link on the Korean ethnicity autonomous region in China, Yanbian, for more details regarding this unique corner of China that borders North Korea. It is not uncommon to encounter people who struggle to speak Chinese mandarin in the villages of Yanbian that are across North Korea, especially amongst the older generations.
How to get there
In order to go have a glimpse of this industrial North Korean city the most common route is to go to Yanji and then head from there to Helong. Once in Helong you can take a bus to Nanping, a small village where there is a border crossing into North Korea. In Nanping you can take a taxi to Huyan, the spot on the Chinese border from where the whole of Musan can be seen. Please do contact us if you may be interested in any travel extensions in China. Please note that it is currently not possible to travel inside this part of the DPRK, but having a glimpse of this mining city in North Korea is definitely an experience if you have some free time. You may consider this option if going on one of our tours to Rason, the special economic zone located in the far northeastern point of North Korea.