The number of Chinese tourists taking the short trip to North Korea keeps on increasing, notably since Pyongyang embraced a handful of partner agencies to offer a range of tour packages as a means of earning foreign currency. Employing all the normal tools of the trade, the authorities have opened up many parts of the east coast of the country, letting groups of cyclists and golfers pass through....
In the words of a Daily NK source from Dandong, “Many Chinese people just want to go to North Korea to see the primitive methods they still use; farming with oxen and that kind of thing.”
Another source, a trader from Dandong, commented, “You can see Shinuiju really easily from the banks of the Yalu River, and unlike the vibrancy of China it is pitch black over there. Obviously, this generates curiosity in a lot of Chinese people.”
"North Korea is actively employing the image of a ‘hermit kingdom’ or a ‘closed country’ to attract curious Chinese tourists,” the trader added.
The fact that Chinese citizens can enter North Korea on only a passport is another reason why more and more are making the journey.
It's not that much fun in reality, but that doesn't seem to matter. “The tourists come home saying that ‘they do not ever want to go back’,” the source commented. However, “A good many people who want to go haven’t been yet, so I don’t see the numbers dropping any time soon.”