Straits Times editor takes trip on Chinese rail to North Korea border

The Singapore Straits Times‘s travel editor wrote about his trip from Shanghai to Dandong in an article that was published online on October 19. Traveling with executive multimedia editor Ashleigh Sims, Lee Siew Hua stopped in Wuzhen, Jinan, and Shenyang, before looking across the river at North Korea.

Among the highlights:

Twice a day, on a lofty, swaying bamboo pole high above the water, an acrobat rivets tourists with terrifying stunts. It is far more serene to walk under indigo banners that evoke a period-drama scene at a dye workshop. Or to sip sanbai rice wine from a Ming-era distillery.

Also whimsical is Kuanhouli Street, an enclave of indie shops, bars and hip hawker stalls. Mainly, it is where locals go for a walking feast under the night sky.

Savour “volcanic” or spicy barbecued squid, mini sushi, innards in hot broth, stinky tofu doused in mala sauce, traditional donkey dumplings, Italian desserts, trendy yogurt drinks, Thai tea and more.

In Pingrang Guan (Pyongyang Restaurant), spirited North Korean waitresses in high heels speak flawless Mandarin as they serve our flavourful lunch that includes cold noodles in a sweet-sour sauce and fresh cabbage kimchi.

Read the full article: China is both epic and intimate by rail.

I can attest that traveling China is easy by rail and allows for spontaneous adventures. You can change your plans on a whim and almost always find a train leaving the same day or next day to take you where you want to go.

I am not sure what to think about their visit to a North Korean restaurant. It certainly sounds interesting, but the North Korean workers there are sometimes exploited to earn revenue for Kim Jong-un’s regime. In December, most of those restaurants will have to shut down if China follows through on UN sanctions, which call for all North Korean workers abroad to leave or be deported by the end of the year.