We went to the North Korea–Russia border. What could go wrong? w/ @Drew Binsky
I went to that border of Russia and North Korea. Oh my god, what's going on today? We are like spies! They took Drew... I got detained. Hello my friends, welcome to my new video! Today I will share with you a story about an adventure that happened to me this winter, almost half a year ago. I will
tell you about a very unique place in the interjunction of the border of Russia and North Korea, and how I went to that place with the YouTuber Drew Binsky who invited me to be in his video. So, as you know, I come from eastern Russia, Primorsky Krai, I really love my region but I never had the opportunity to learn about it and to travel much. And in January, I got a message from Drew Binsky. I was so shocked because, for a second, Drew has 3 million subscribers on YouTube, he visited literally every country in the world, and it was such an honor for me that he invited me to be in his video, to travel with him as a local. And of course, I was nervous but I agreed to go with him to that adventure. I'm so excited to share this story with you, to show you the landscapes, to show you the town on the border. Well, actually we did not get to the town because we were detained by the border guards... but I'll tell you about this later in this video, and now let's begin.
*ambient music* First I met with Drew and his cameraman Andrey in Vladivostok ,the capital of Primorsky Krai. We needed somehow to get to Khasan from Vladivostok, so I used my *connections* I asked some friend of mine, and he introduced me to Kristina, our driver. She lives in Slavyanka, a town on the way to Khasan, and she knows her region very well, so we were really lucky to have such an enthusiastic guide. We met our driver and hit the road in the early morning.
Going on a new adventure, and today will show you the South of Primorsky Krai, and today I am accompanied by Drew Binsky. [Drew]: Hey guys, what's up? We're here, we're driving from Vladivostok to Khasan, which is the border town of North Korea, and thankfully Natasha was able to join me, personally, I've been to North Korea, so I have some kind of connection with it because I can also speak a little Korean from living in Seoul, so I just am really fascinated by Korea as a whole, and the fact nobody knows that Russia borders North Korea, they always think about China and South Korea, so yeah, it's gonna be really interesting, I'm excited. Yeah, let's go! Isn't it gonna be covered by the clothes? [Drew]: it's okay. Okay. We're like spies.
Yeah. So this place, Khasan, is just a 700 population village, nothing remarkable, but what we were going for is the place where borders of three countries meet. You can see a pagada on the Chinese side and a rail bridge from Russia to North Korea over the river. On the Russian, side there is a stele for tourists, and of course we were really excited to visit that place and take pictures there.
We passed some villages, a river, and then we saw the first site - the frozen Kravtsov Waterfalls. Waterfalls! It's really cool, I've never in my life seen a frozen waterfall, and I didn't even know that was possible for waterfall to freeze, but pretty cool, I'm frozen too. I'm sure in summer this place looks just as beautiful. But after a few minutes winter just disappeared... The landscape and the climate is changing so fast, so we drove like 10 kilometers from the previous village, and you see - just yellow valleys here. [Drew]: It's pretty cool, it's almost like we fast forwarded like two months into March or April, because all the snow is melted, and the mountains are much smaller. [Natasha]: Traveling in time.
Right now we're about one hour out from Khasan which is on the border of North Korea and China and Russia. So now Drew is going to start the drone that will be following our car. This trip showed me behind the scenes of how travel vloggers make their videos. To get just a couple of seconds of roadside or drone footage of the car, we had to stop frequently to reposition the cameras. But it was worth it.
We are beginning the last segment of our route, and you can see that the road here is literally ends... The rest of our route will be really... Exciting. We call it "Russian massage". This is what we have to overcome when we want to get to the border. Do you like this road? Yeah, it feels like adventure is happening. Yeah! Finally, we drove up to Khasan. At the entrance of the village there was a sign saying that we were
entering the border zone, and we would have to show our passports to the border guards. So we prepared our passports and drove on. But remember this sign, the adventure is just beginning. We stopped at the checkpoint and showed our passports to the border guards. Kristina, Andrey and I had Russian passports, but Drew had an American one, and this is what the guards didn't like.
*speaking Russian* They said that since he is a foreigner, he cannot go further and visit that tourist place. I thought we were going to just go back, but it's not all. So that military guys asked us to show our passports, and three of us showed it, it's like Russian passports, but for a foreigner, he needs some kind of permission, and now they took Drew to some building, and he doesn't speak any Russian, and we actually don't know like... how long it's going to take there. The border guards said that Drew violated Russian law by entering the border area, which is their Khasan village, and the guards have to take him to their building to file a misdemeanor protocol, and that the punishment can range from a fine up to deportation. And at first they only took Drew away, but then the border guard came and said that Andrey and I should also go to their building to help them translate English because their translator couldn't do it. So we went to that building, we were not allowed to take our
phones, but I'll just describe you how it looked: the interior was like a typical Soviet school or hospital, we went to an office that looked like classrooms in my school. There I, Drew, Andrey and one border guard were sitting at the desk for two hours in awkward silence, waiting for them to print out the protocol, and they couldn't do it faster because their printer broke. The guard seemed to be shy, he tried to have a small talk, asking us to ask Drew about his impressions about Russia, it was funny but also scary. Finally, they printed the protocol, and everything worked well for Drew. So Drew, how do you feel about what happened? It was pretty nuts, um...
Yeah, got detained for three hours at the border, because I didn't have the right permission which there was no signs or anything, but you know, I could have... I took the risk to go down there, and I thought I was going to get through, and we had the ID check, and all three of you guys, all Russian passport holders were fine, I kind of held my passport to the very end, because I thought they were going to say go go go, then they check my passport and then... We went to sit in their office which looked like a classroom, and they asked me... I was without you guys for a while, they
asked me a bunch of questions, and long story short, I ended up getting just a warning but I had to sign about 30 pages for the quote-unquote crime I committed, it was crazy. At least we got cool content, still. We got good content, and the story's not over, now we're going to Kristina's hometown, Kristina is a lovely driver, she lives about an hour and a half away from Khasan, so [Natasha]: Yeah, in Slavyanka, well, we're still gonna manage to find something interesting, and it's all part of the adventure, but I'm glad I didn't get deported, and I'm glad I'm safe. Yeah, we are glad you are here with us! And maybe now it seems to you that it was so stupid to go to that town being a foreigner, but the thing is that we really didn't know that foreigners cannot go there because, as you remember, there was just one sign, saying that you would have to show the passports to the border guards, and we were ready to do that, but to know about the permission, you should actually google the information about it on some FSB website, so yeah, it was the mistake on our part, we should have known it. But why they did not write it on that sign, that "if you're a foreigner, you cannot
enter without a permission, if you do, you will be detained". There was no such a sign, and that's why we got into such a situation, which, well, was not according to our plan. That's why we decided to turn back and go back to the North.
Oh my god, what's going on today? I don't know... This is a craziest Vladivostok journey ever. As if what happened wasn't enough - on the way we met a fire. Look at the sun! Because of the fire smoke... But it wasn't the end of our journey. We didn't get to Khasan, but instead discovered another
great place - Slavyanka. And believe me, it was even more interesting. And since it is located on the seashore, our dinner was a combination of Russian cuisine, seafood, and Chinese beer, which reflects this region quite well. Trying the scallop for the first time, never actually tried it.
Got some Borscht soup, my favorite soup in the world, got some beer, life is good we're safe. Yeah, that's what matters. Wow, look at this, this is the view from my hotel room here in Slavyanka, and I wonder how it will look tomorrow morning. This is how it looks in the morning. You see those people?
They are ice fishing This trip has been an adventure so far, you know, obviously what happened yesterday at the border, but we managed to get some really good drone shots, and met some really cool people, and we're here in Slavyanka which is a beautiful port city, I just woke up and opened the window, and I saw a bunch of ice fishermen out there, so I want to go talk to them, getting some breakfast in this place that feels like I'm on a cruise ship, and yeah, it's gonna be another great day, I'm excited. Cool! So now we are having our breakfast, it's like typical Russian omelette, some sausage, even a pickle and coffee. In the morning we went to explore Slavyanka. This is an ordinary small town with a population of 14,000 inhabitants... This is like the center of this town, here you can see usual apartment blocks, this children playground here. This is the local Russian school bus.
But still Slavyanka has some unique feature, this is its wonderful nature. Let's now go to one of the attractions - the Soaring Turtle Cape. Finally we're almost there! Wow! The guys are filming there, they got pretty good shots. Beautiful! Look at the formations of the ice here, you can actually hear when they hit each other.
*crackling ice sounds* There, at the top of the cliff, I was mesmerized by the beauty that opened up. So spectacular. A tree! There're some birds, baklan (cormorant). So, Drew, you as a person, as one of the few persons on this planet who traveled and visited all the countries, what can you say to the people who want to travel, what is your main idea that you got from all these experiences? My motto from traveling, and it sounds really simple but it's the two words "just go", it's actually what I wear on my chest all the time, just go, because I truly believe that living spontaneously is the best way to do it, a lot of times everybody tries to plan too much, and they get too anxious, and they're overthinking everything, but if you just go, go with the flow, good things always happen and at the end of the day, it's always going to work out, you know. And you know, I'm very optimistic and I just love meeting new people and having incredible experiences, and once you keep traveling, you realize that you don't know anything about the world, because you keep learning more and more and more. The world's a really big place, and everybody is super kind and super friendly, so
my whole motto, my whole mantra is just to get out there, and get outside your comfort zone, and if you guys ever have any travel questions or you need any more advice, feel free to reach out to me, I'm Drew Binsky on all social media, but yeah, it's a pleasure meeting cool people, like Natasha, here we've been having an awesome trip together, and I'm very fortunate and grateful to do this, so yeah, the world's a beautiful place, the world is a lot safer than you think, and I'm truly blessed to be able to do this for a living. Cool. Thank you! Having driven a little to the South, we met another attraction - North Korean boats. Oh my god! You see those ropes, those packages. These are schooners of North Korean sailors who got into a storm and washed up on the Russian coast in 2019. Some say that the boats were empty because the sailors evacuated from them, but others say that all of them were deported back to Korea. Later I learned that, in fact, in
the recent years there were many cases when such schooners came to the Russian bays, and these are poacher boats, and it's really common for North Koreans who live in poor provinces because it is the only way for them to make money, even risking their life. Once, the North Korean poachers attacked the Russian border guards, there even was a shooting between them, and one poacher was killed, others were arrested, and I don't know what happened next... These boats stay here in Slavyanka as a tourist attraction, and people dismantle them for souvenirs. By the time we were already hungry, but if yesterday we had dinner in an expansive restaurant, today we decided to have lunch in a simple eatery in the center of the town.
This is probably the busiest place here. There were a lot of people, everyone seemed to know each other in this small seaside town, and they were so surprised to see us, foreign tourists. Yes, we ate some usual shawarma, and mediocre coffee, but as they say, "food is food". I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this place And finally, the last sight on our way was a huge old ship in the Vityaz Bay. No one can say for sure how old it is, but it is known that it has been standing here since Soviet times.
So it might be about 50 years old. The sea does not freeze on this bay, but look how unusual the foam looks. After that we went back to Vladivostok. Right now we're reviewing some of the drone shots that Andrey took, they're like so good, look at this.
By the way, if you want to enjoy the views of the nature to the fullest, you can watch them on Drew's channel. The link to his video about this adventure will be in the description. So this is the end of our trip. Drew, thank you very much for inviting me to this journey because I must say it was the first time when... like, this is the best video on my channel, in terms of... - Adrenaline? - Yeah, adrenaline, the beautiful content, the experience that I got from you, from your professional attitude, approach to this work, and yeah, I was worried in the beginning because I was like "What if it's gonna go not according to the plan?" which... it happened. What if he's gonna die? Yeah, I mean, we were stopped at the border, so anyways...
Yeah, it was super fun for me too, I'm really happy to share the adventure with you, especially because you're from this region so you give a lot of good context, and and you're a local, so I'm not a local, I'm just here as a tourist, and I had a blast, it was super fun, I can't wait to see your video, my video it's gonna be really awesome so, thank you for the adventure. Subscribe to my channel, subscribe to Drew's channel, like, write your comments, I really appreciate this, thank you very much. I'll be checking the comments too, I'm going to respond, so you better comment, bye guys! Bye! See ya! Bye! So this is the story that I wanted to share with you. Even though we did not get to the border, didn't take pictures on the backdrop of three countries, but at least we discovered Slavyanka, its unique sites, I hope you liked these beautiful sceneries.
Thanks for watching once again, thank you for all your support, I'll see you very soon. Goodbye. Poka-poka!