Sinuiju is the capital of North Pyongan province and is a border city with China, just across the Yalu River (Anmok River in Korean) from Dandong. It is the main trade hub between both countries and the busiest overland point of entry and exit for tourists exiting and entering Korea. If you go on any of our tours and take the train in and/or out of Korea you will go through Korean customs at Sinuiju.
This city only started receiving western tourists in 2013. We are glad to say that we can arrange trips here either as an extension when leaving Pyongyang by train or directly from China for one day.
We now combine the Sinuiju tour with one in Dongrim Town. The drive between these two places is very bumpy but a truly fascinating ride as you go through villages, over old bridges and rural areas where very few westerners go, all while seeing a bustling Dandong city in the background.
Sinuiju is located northwestern tip of the Korean peninsula, just across from Dandong in China.
Given its proximity to China, there are hundreds of Chinese tourists visiting this city each day, most of them for a day trip lasting a few hours, some of them for an overnight trip. You do have to bear in mind that you will bump into many Chinese groups when going to Sinuiju, especially when going to places within the city itself, such as the Kindergarten, Art Gallery, lunch, etc.
Sinuiju has several special economic zones set up in the early 2000s to experiment with market economies. Although the contrast with China, just across the river, is stark, there are signs of rapid development in Sinuiju.
The city was turned into a major industrial hub by the Japanese under their occupation of Korea. Given it’s strategic location, it was used to transport material along the Anmok River. It was also developed as an industrial hub after the construction of the Sup’ing Dam.
The now broken bridge was built by the Japanese to connect Sinuiju on the Korean side of the border with Dandong on the Chinese side.
Our dear friend, Ms. Kim from Pyongyang, having lunch with us in Sinuiju. The bridge in the background is the friendship brigde that connects China and North Korea
During the Korean War Sinuiju was bombarded by the US and vastly destroyed. The broken bridge was destroyed by the Americans and this prompted China’s intervention in the Korean War. In fact, Chairman Mao’s son, Mao An Ying, perished in this war. There is a statue in Hekou Village, which is where Chinese troops entered North Korea, north of Dandong, commemorating him.
So can one see and do in Sinuiju? Let’s dive right in to it!
Initially there was one giant bronze statue of a younger President Kim Il Sung but not the statues of both leaders. Now the statues of President Kim Il Sungand Chairman Kim Jong Il stand high in one of the busiest parts of town. The building behind it is the revolutionary history museum.
This kindergarten is famous nationwide. The children here are the ones who attend the Mass Games and perform on the field.
The Ponbu Kindergarten caters for a vastly Chinese audience, given that many Chinese groups to Sinuiju for day-trips. In the picture above children depict the friendly relationship between North Korea and China, referred to as "lips and teethc" since China's intervention in the Korean War
After walking around the classrooms we will be able to attend several performances held by the children and by their teachers.
Scene of North Korean and Japanese soldiers at the Ponbu kindergarten
Please note that this place tends to be packed with Chinese groups, so we recommend you to ask your guides to take you to the performance room a bit earlier so that you can have a great spot secured!
Chinese tourists pose with the kindergarten's children
This is a fascinating spot in Sinuiju. The bottom floor is full of portraits of the leaders and of propaganda posters portraying their devotion to the Korean people. Some show scenes of daily life in North Korea; schools, libraries, policemen, soldiers, etc.
Located near the train station and across the street from the giant portraits of the leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the Eternity Tower was erected to state that the leaders remain for eternity in the Korean people’s heart and that they live forever.
You can see the portraits of the Leaders President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il across the street from the Eternity Tower.
Right in the city centre, behind the grand statues of the leaders, it explains the revolutionary activities of the leaders.
Entrance of the history museum in Sinuiju
The museum hosts several original ancient relics including skeletons and original ancient tools found in the region. Pictures cannot be taken inside the museum in order to conserve these relics well.
One of the main brands of cosmetics in the DPRK produces its goods here.
Coming here offers us a unique chance to see how soap is produced from scratch and packaged.
We can walk around the factory’s facilities and see how Koreans work as well as how much importance is attached to the guidance of the leaders in the production of the goods. These goods are used for domestic consumption and are also exported. Another plus of a visit here is that you can purchase their products at a very cheap rate.
Look-out post with views of Sinamri farm's fields. The label on the marble slab states the exact dates that Chairman Kim Jong Il visited the farm.
There is a look out post where you can see the rice fields expanding for kilometres on end.
Portraits of President Kim Il Sung, Chairman Kim Jong Il and Comrade Kim Jong Suk referred to by Koreans as Mother Kim Jong Suk.
A casual stroll here is a great way to see locals having fun and celebrating their weddings.
It is common to see new married couples here with their families taking pictures and videos.
We now no longer stay at the Anmok Hotel in Sinuiju but instead stay overnight in Dongrim Town at a new deluxe hotel that they have there.
The Dongrim Hotel is a Deluxe Hotel built in late 2014
The hotel has a lot to offer; live music performances, spa, large indoor swimming pool, sports facilities and barbecue, all tucked in a quiet, tranquil location in between small hills.
Swimming pool at the Dongrim Hotel
It is used a lot by local Korean business people, who tend to be very opened about meeting foreigners.
The main activity in Dongrim consists of walking through the hills to a local waterfall. Do not expect it to be an impressive one like the Ullim Falls near Wonsan, but the hike is nevertheless a pleasant one. Arguably, the main highlight of Dongrim is the hotel itself as well as the ride from there to Sinuiju city (and several of the stops made on the way). We now actually go directly from Pyongyang to Dongrim by train, get off at Dongrim and carry on with the Sinuiju tour the next day.