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Tumen ( 图们市; 도문시; Túménshì) is a city in Jilin, China located in the Korean Autonomous Prefecture right next to the Korean border.


Foreign tourists are not very common here, however, the few that do come through come to see the mix of ethnic Korean-Chinese culture which is due to its proximity to North Korea.

The town itself is located on the Tumen river, across from the North Korean city of Namyang.

Tumen is also one of the main border crossings into North Korea, which has been possible since Young Pioneer Tours led their first group in 2012.

Get in[edit]

  • By plane

The closest airport is Yanji Chaoyangchuan International Airport located 50.1km from Tumen city. This airport has services running to Northeastern cities of China, such as Harbin, Beijing, Changchun and Shenyang as well as, Shanghai, Tianjin and Hangzhou. International services run from Osaka-Kansai (Japan), Busan and Seoul-Incheon (South Korea). Seasonally there are also charter flights from Pyongyang (North Korea).

  • By train

There is a high-speed rail service that runs from Shenyang every day and takes about 5 hours. This service departs Shenyang North station at 12:12 pm and arrives in Tumen North station at 4:55 pm. Normal train services also run daily from Beijing (via Shenyang) departing daily at 1 pm from Beijing station. This journey lasts 26 hours on the sleeper train service.

Get around[edit]

As the city of Tumen is not large, taxi is the most convenient way to get around though the town centre. With taxis the starting fare is 5 Yuan, and a ride anywhere within the city shouldn't be more than 10 Yuan. Normal rules of taxi-taking in China apply - make sure they turn on the meter, don't expect them to have seatbelts, or speak a word of English.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Cross into North Korea

It is possible to cross the border into Namyang, North Korea and then travel by bus into the northeast region of Haeryong, Chongjin and Rason. This is only possible when pre-organised with a tour agency. Currently, Young Pioneer Tours runs tours along the Chinese border to Tumen, which then cross over into North Korea. This is one of the only border crossings where North Korean customs will stamp your passport, unlike the crossing at Sinuiju where no stamp is given.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • There are two main markets in Tumen where locals shop, they are the South and North market. Here you can find local foods that are a mix of Chinese and Korean cuisine.
  • There are also places that sell North Korean souvenirs stores near the river. Here it is possible to buy a real North Korean pin with an image of the leaders Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, however these can be very expensive at around 3000 RMB.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Along the Tumen river there is a promenade which hosts a range of outdoor barbecue places, all of which are very cheap with seating that provides views into North Korea.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • It is possible to buy North Korean beer such as Taedonggang at the riverside barbecue places. As Tumen is also more ethnic Korean than Chinese, soju is widely drunk and is available from supermarkets and restaurants.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Get out[edit]

  • North Korea - If you are interested in paying a visit to North Korea, you'll have to organise this before you come to Tumen. But don´t worry, you can still learn a lot about North Korea on the streets of Tumen - the city is so close to North Korea, you can feel the strong influence of Korean culture everywhere. Recent reports speculate that travel restrictions have been somewhat eased, and visa processing faster for some nationalities. The easiest way to cross over is on a tour leaving from Beijing with Young Pioneer Tours.
  • Yanji - Yanji is not far from Tumen and it is possible to reach the city by local bus or taxi.