Blogs from Pyongyang, North Korea, Asia


Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang October 4th 2018

It was an earlier start today because we had another big planned. After breakfast in the delightfully pink room again, we headed out to the tour bus. Since we would be visiting some very important sights in Pyongyang today, we had to be well dressed, no jeans, trainers or just generally looking like plebs, we all had to be suited and booted. We drove to Kumsusan Palace of the Sun and were briefed on the dos and donts. We headed into the waiting room where we sat around for about twenty minutes. There were lots of magazines about North Korea on the tables, so I had a look through some of those. More people arrived and then we were led out towards the main building. After going through security, we were made to line up in ... read more
Mansudae Fountain Park
Mansudae Fountain Park
Mansudae Fountain Park

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang October 3rd 2018

A good night's sleep in a comfortable bed made me feel more human today. I headed down to the breakfast room and a few others from the tour were already there. The room can only be described as very pink. It would definitely fulfil a young child's dream of a princess room. The breakfast was a buffet and there was a good selection of stuff. I also liked the egg station, where you could get eggs fried or omelettes made as you wanted. We all assembled in the lobby at 9 am and headed out for the day to explore Pyongyang. It was going to be a long day as we were going to the Mass Games that evening too. We drove through the streets of Pyongyang and I tried to take in as much as ... read more
Grand People's Study House
Grand People's Study House

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang October 1st 2018

1st Oct: North Korea, some where that I have wanted to travel to for a long time and I am finally getting round to doing it. It is a quite a difficult place to travel, although the visa process was a lot easier than that of China, as you have to be part of a tour, either a group tour or a private one. There is no freedom to go where you please and everything is strictly controlled. I headed to a hotel in Beijing for my pre departure meeting and to meet with the Western guides from the tour company I was using. Getting out of the subway station at Beijing Station was madness. Since it was the start of the National Day holiday, there were about a million people about. I was glad to ... read more
North Korea
Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang February 16th 2017

The Day of the Shining Star is a public holiday in North Korea that celebrates the anniversary of the birth of King Jong-il. Depending on whether you believe the Soviets or North Korean propaganda (I'm inclined to believe the former in this instance) King Jong-il was born in Siberia in 1941 as Yuri Irsenovich Kim, though the official North Korean biography state he was born on 16th February 1942 at Mount Paektu; an important location in Korean mythology - the origin of the Korean people. Legends go that there was a bright star in the sky the night Kim Jong-il was born, hence the name of the day, the season changed from winter to spring and there was a double rainbow. The day is celebrated with mass demonstrations of gymnastics, dancing, musical performances, military processions, flowers, ... read more
North korean National Anthem Sheet Music

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang March 10th 2016

North Korea or the DPRK was an incredible experience. Seeing what the rest of the world only hears about from the media and how the people on the inside see both the outside world and their own country is not something I will soon forget. I'm extremely glad I made the difficult decision to visit North Korea. Our first NK day consisted of meeting with the tour group and flying to Pyongyang on Air Koryo, the so called "Worst airline in the world". Honestly I thought that the China Eastern plane we took from Osaka to Beijing was in worse repair and the staff on Air Koryo seemed much more professional. Our check in was aided by the fact that the CEO of the company who had organized the trip was accompanying us for the first ... read more
Interior of the Koryo Hotel
Study Hall
Soldier at the Victorious War Museum

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang February 4th 2014

Everybody deserves a happy lunar new year of the horse. Even one of the most suspiciously enigmatic countries in the world, namely the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (known by us commoners as North Korea). I do believe that all of you readers will be sufficiently aware of the political situation in the country and so I can skip this part. There are plenty of websites discussing issues related to North Korea and I think I should just focus on my personal experience in Pyongyang.. politics aside as far as this is possible. I was curious about the "land of whispers" since quite some time and finally I got over my inner demons and just booked a new years tour to North Korea (group travels are the most common way of visiting the country, as you ... read more

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang October 25th 2011

"Early up and you go early to bed, that's the way for a little farmer boy". Those are some words from a Danish song and that one sure goes for North Koreans as well. Maybe it is a kind of shock treatment, to keep us in a drouse through our stay as the hotel phone alarm goes off at 6:30 like South Korea just invaded Pyongyang. But no, it's the Chinese's time to get up and get in the bus. I ate breakfast alone in an almost empty restaurant no.1, which is the restaurant, where western people eat. This is where I saw a buffet, so this is where I eat. But where was everybody? In this buffet there was pancakes, toast, butter, jam, porridge, twisty donut bread and a guy only to make omelettes. And ... read more

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang October 24th 2011

North Korea. I am going to fucking North Korea. It immediately dawns on me that had I not paid the 1000 dollars for this trip, there would have been a lot of regretting to do. The feeling of being in North Korea is just fantastic. Sure I contribute money to some people, who will probably not do any good with those money, but don't we all sometimes, when we buy all our burgers and bananas n'shit? This is my conclusion for now as the train rolls over Yalu river from the Chinese border city of Dandong to its North Korean sister city Sinouji on the other side of the river. There is propaganda, there is brown uniformed soldiers with AK-47's stopping people to check their documents. There is buildings, not in the best shape, but not ... read more

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang June 25th 2011

I have opened my first Flickr account and here's the link Philip Gray on flickr It covers St Pancras through to leaving Moscow. It seems to loaded them backwards. Sorry about that! Philip... read more

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang May 3rd 2011

I have always been curious about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or commonly known as DPRK or “North” Korea. All DPRK maps show only “Korea” as if a border and a southern country didn’t exist and it was just one big happy country. A lot of what we hear and read about the DPRK is negative. In general when there are differing opinions, side A says one thing and side B says another thing. Often the truth lies somewhere in between. It is with an open mind I approached my 5 day trip to the DPRK. The first day we flew into an almost empty airport and were obliged to surrender our phones almost immediately. They were wrapped in cellophane and stored at the airport for us to collect on our way out. As far ... read more

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