Chinese gourmands are sampling cheap but high-quality seafood on one-day trips across the China-DPRK border.
Chinese travelers can visit an international market in the DPRK across the border and eat fresh crab, shellfish, shrimp and fish, a saleswoman at Spring International Travel Services based in Hunchun, northeast China's Jilin Province told the Global Times Wednesday.
The seafood tour became popular last month in Hunchun, which neighbors the DPRK port city of Rason, the saleswoman said.
The destination has gained fame among Chinese travelers for its high-quality seafood variety.
"Seafood on the DPRK side of the border is caught directly from the sea and very fresh," she said. "On the Chinese side, seafood is generally kept alive in water vats before being sold."
The price is lower than in China, she said.
"For example, a kilo of Korean crab sells for about 360 yuan (52 U.S. dollars) in Hunchun, but it is only about 180 yuan on the DPRK market."
More than 200 customers have taken the trip across the border to enjoy the feast and return the same day, according to the saleswoman.
"You don't need to apply for a visa in advance… Carrying a valid passport or even just an identity card on the day is enough to get you through the border," she said, referring solely to Chinese mainland travelers.
The Chinese visitors can only stay at the market and are not allowed to visit anywhere else in DPRK. No sightseeing is included in the tour, she noted.
Some Chinese travel agencies are not interested in providing a similar service, as "the tour faces the risk of Chinese customs not allowing you to bring back goods you bought at the market," a salesman at Comfort International Travel said.
Tourists can bring back a "limited" amount, said the Spring International agent, "but if you eat them, it's fine!"
"We designed the tour around seafood," she said. "We tell our customers that if they expect sightseeing and shopping, they'll be disappointed."