Yanji China

Yanji China - this city, pronounced Yongil in Korean of “only” 400,000 people is the capital of the Korean Autonomous Region in China, Yanbian. A fascinating Chinese Korean city where just under half the population is of Korean ethnicity; Chinese-Koreans. We usually use Yongil as a base before heading to Rason in North Korea. Please check some of our Rason tours for some sample itineraries we offer in this DPRK Special Economic Zone.


In the past years many of these Chinese citizens who tend to be bilingual in Chinese and Korean have gone to South Korea re-investing in the city. The economic and cultural influence this has had in this city is obvious at first sight.

Yanji China, West Market

South Korean styled coffee shops and restaurants have taken over the city; a city where it is common to hear people talking in the street in Korean and where Korean signs are literally everywhere given that the official languages of Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture (of which Yongil is the capital city) are
both Chinese and Korean.

Coffee Shops in Yanji

The city is full of coffee shops so here we simply highlight some of the must visit places if you are in Yanji. Below we provide a list of some of our top picks.

Kaca Coffee

Located on the 13th floor this new coffee shop has amazing views of the city. You do pay for the cost of the views and the relatively quick internet connection with your drink as coffees here range from the top 20 to low 30 RMB. The coffee shop has a huge terrace which is always a great place to relax on a summer day.

This coffee shop is located in Ai Dan Road (爱丹路) just across from the bus terminal Lao Ke Yun Zhan (老客运站). The building can be clearly seen as the Communications Bank of China (交通银行) is on the ground floor.

Hands Coffee

A well established coffee chain in Yanbian. You can find Hands Coffee shops all around the city. They are small, cozy, have excellent coffee, usually offer free cookies made by themselves and were opened by some university graduates on YUST (Yanbian University of Science & Technology). You can check their stores accross from from Yanbian University or in the West Market (西市场).

Mon Coffee

Located on Gong Yuan Lu (公园路) literally just across the street from the main entrance of Yanbian University, this coffee shop takes up a whole floor of the building. Offering coffee at relatively low rates (from 15 RMB to the high 20 RMB) this coffee shop has good views of Yanbian Universty. The internet connection can be a little slow at times. This is one of the most popular coffee shops in the area. One of its main advantages for non-smokers is that the smokers’ section of the coffee shop is completely cut off by glass doors from the non-smoking area.

Benne Caffe

The South Korean coffee branch is located too just across Yanbian University. Well known in Yanji for its quality and probably because of its popularity in South Korea, this coffee shop is many people’s favourite despite its relatively higher rates (a cup of coffee usually costing more than 30 RMB).

Najia Coffee

On the second floor of the same building where Kaca Coffee is located, the coffee here is good, rates lower than in Kaca Coffee (bottom 20 RMB for a cup) and the internet tends to be relatively speedy too. It tends to be quite quiet compared to other coffee shops, so a good option if you are looking for a place to concentrate or do some work. On the the downside there is no terrace and it can occasionally get a little smoky.

Yanji is a fascinating city in Yanbian where the official languages and Korean and Mandarin

There are Korean schools and Chinese schools in this region for the local population in Yanji China. Most ethnic Koreans receive their primary and secondary education in Korean whereas most Han receive theirs in Chinese. However, sometimes Chinese-Korean families sign their children up to Chinese schools and some Han families decide to have their children receive their primary and secondary education in Korean.

Map of Yanji China

There is also influence from the DPRK with a number of North Korean restaurants in the city. Yongil has too a lively nightlife scenery with South Korean styled bars and clubs all over the city.

Did you know that… many South Korean stars and music groups go to Yanji to perform? Something indeed not common in small Chinese cities…

Interesting fact - most Korean-Chinese households have Korean TV in Yanji, mainly South Korean channels, though local Korean channels are available too. It is not uncommon for locals not to have Chinese channels at home and the older generations of Korean-Chinese usually struggle to speak Chinese fluently.

About one hour away by bus / train from Yanji is a smaller city just separated from the DPRK by the Tumen River; Tumen. KTG DPRK Tours & Information is able to arrange entries in to the DPRK via Tumen where you can cross over the bridge into the Korean city of Namyang and then move from here  Northeastern parts of North Korea such as Mt. Chillbo, Hoeryong, Rason and other areas in the region that are slowly opening up to tourism. Please do contact us if interested in this option.

Our team knows Yanji China inside out, from the main sites to visit, bus / train routes to neighbouring counties that are literally across North Korea and allow you to see places of the DPRK that very few Westerners have ever seen. The vast majority are small North Korean villages and larger industrial cities. Please feel free to ask us any questions you may have regarding this unique Chinese-Korean city.

Please click on North Korea Places of Interest page for information on areas that can be visited in the DPRK and to leave our Yanji China page.