Blogs from North Korea, Asia

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Asia » North Korea October 7th 2018

7th Oct: I'd had a fairly decent night's sleep in my heated bed. I was looking forward to soaking in the bath as the water was pumped in from the Oncheon (hot spring), well I was out of luck as the water was freezing and didn't seem to be heating up at all. Nevermind, I'm sure I still got some of the benefit from the cold water. It must come from the sea as there was a slight salty taste to it. Walking round to the main building for breakfast felt so much better than the night before. It was a lovely, sunny day and I couldn't feel the oppressive atmosphere that I had felt the previous evening. In the dining room, I was surprised to see some Koreans. When talking to the others, a group ... read more
West Sea Barrage
West Sea Barrage
West Sea Barrage

Asia » North Korea October 6th 2018

It was a late start that morning as we didn't leave until about 11 am. I was still tired though, as I had gotten up earlyish to say bye to the people who were leaving over breakfast. I was looking forward to today as we were getting out of Pyongyang and heading to another town. Also, the group was now a lot smaller. We drove through some very nice parts of Pyongyang. Everything looked brand new and immaculately kept. It didn't take too long for us to reach our first stop, which was Mangyeongdae, the birthplace of Kim Il Sung. What I found a little strange about this place was that as the bus pulled into the carpark, there was a funfair there, too. I found it weird as the North Koreans revere their leaders so ... read more
Pyongyang
Pyongyang
Pyongyang

Asia » North Korea » Panmunjom October 5th 2018

Another early start as we were heading down to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). After another filling breakfast in the 'pink room', we headed out to board the bus. It seemed to take ages for us to get going. That was a bit annoying as our guides had said it was better to get to the DMZ early. We drove out of the city and onto the Reunification Highway, which connects Pyongyang with the Joint Securtiy Area at the DMZ. The highway runs for around 170 kilometres, but due to the conditions of the road, it would take about three hours or so to reach the DMZ. The route also passes through/besides the towns of Kaeseong and Sariwon, which would visit on the return journey. Construction of the highway began in 1987 and was finished on the ... read more
Arch of Reunification
DMZ
DMZ

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
Pyongyang
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
Dandong
North Korea
Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge

Asia » North Korea July 10th 2018

Von gezuckerten Tomaten, über Massengymnastik bis hin zum Hundefleisch oder: Wie ich 10 Tage ohne Internet überlebt habe Ja, ich habe es tatsächlich getan. Ich bin nach Nordkorea gereist. Aufgrund all der negativen Berichte, die es in unseren Medien gibt, wollte ich mich selbst von diesem Land überzeugen, ob es wirklich so „schlecht und böse“ ist. Man kann Nordkorea derzeit nur in Form einer organisierten Reise besuchen. Also habe ich meine Reise auch über eine deutsche Reiseagentur gebucht und 10 Tage im Land verbracht. Alles wurde organisiert, und die größte Umstellung für mich war, dass man keine Minute aus den Augen gelassen wurde (außer auf Toilette gehen und abends bis morgens allein im Hotelzimmer… das war erlaubt). Ich wurde also direkt am Flughafen von meinen 2 (!) Reiseleitern abgeholt, die mich von da an ständig begleiteten. ... read more
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P1020271
P1020365

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 » Panmunjom February 6th 2014

Yes, according to the local tour guide I was the first Italian to visit the northern North Korean city of Sinuiju! What an honor! I am a pioneer to where nobody except myself and Chinese tourists looking for bear bile want to go! I know you are enthusiastic about these news but just try to keep it calm and finish reading before the party starts! During my stay in the DPRK I had my chance to visit the "other" North Korea, i.e. places outside the showcase capital Pyongyang. Luckily I could go to the southern city of Kaesong, which used to be the capital of the whole peninsula back in the days, as well as visit the border town Sinuiju in the extreme north of the country. Of course with my government minders but hey, something ... read more
Pyongyang to Sinuiju
Sinuiju
Sinuiju




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