Blogs from North Korea, Asia - page 4


Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang June 18th 2010

Nearly 9 months living & working in Pyongyang, North Korea so guess it was about time to make a little excursion to the Pyongyang zoo! Weather is now fantastic and the sunny Sundays are a great occasion to discover some of the sites which might not have been as pleasant during the winter when the thermometer was closer to the minus 20 degrees! The Pyongyang zoo is located on the North East outskirt of the city surrounded by hills covered with forest and fields. The road leading to it, a massive 8 lines highway is absolutely empty…not much surprise here, as although the number of vehicles have increased in Pyongyang, most of them are not allowed to drive on Sunday so we had the road for ourselves (on both way!). Didn’t really know what to expect ... read more
Horseriding time!
Studying really hard !!
White tiger...majestuous!

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang December 6th 2009

Every day is a new experience and this first week end trip (early December 2009) outside of Pyongyang, North Korea, brought nothing but positive feel. DPRK country side beauty had remained something of a mystery, although I had read about it, actually living in DPRK, I was truly looking forward to the first opportunity to get out of the city and explore unspoiled nature areas and see more of the country side. This trip was as well to allow us to visit the International Friendship Exhibition where gifts from all around the world to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are being displayed, a state of the art architectural complex and a one of a kind cultural experience! Unspoiled mountain, first snow and colourful sunset All about luck and indeed in the morning of our ... read more
traditional bell over blue sky
Well guarded
Having lots of fun! Ice skating, local style!

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang October 25th 2009

North Korea ok it's way over time, but finally we've got some time and the facilities to do some bla-bla about North-Korea. (in the mean time we've been to Shanghai, Benxi and currently were at the 'base' of the yellow mountains, where we'll go tomorrow). So on the 24th of October we've took the plane to Pyongyong. But basically already on the 23rd espcially I got rather excited as we had a 2 hour briefing about North-Korea from the English tour-operator who had fixed this trip for us. Let's get some things straightened out immediately: 2 guides and 1 driver excorted us 24/7. we weren't able to buy stuff from locals. They bought for us. Only are certain designated 'shops' we could buy stuff, but only with Euro, Chinese RBM or USD. At one shop we ... read more
The Dear Leader
Pyongyang @ rush hour
Metro map of Pyongyang

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang September 12th 2009

After being awakened to many aspects of North Korea - the passionate pursuit of a military policy and panegyrics about the Great Leader being two examples - there were more revelations as we concluded our North Korean odyssey. One was the extremely proud nature of the North Korean people. This extended to a great pride about their history, and they make great efforts to preserve and display their historical sites. These places were always attended to by a local guide - most were women dressed in traditional flowing gowns in pastel colours, but sometimes they were men - including one who bore a striking resemblance to the Dear Leader. Some of these sites were impressive, including the 14th century Tomb of Kongmin near Kaesong, where the 31st ruler of the Koryo dynasty is buried with his ... read more
An elegant local guide at the Pohyon Temple - Mt Myhongyang, North Korea
Beautiful scenery surrounds the Pohyon Temple complex - Mt Myhongyang, North Korea
Focusing on excellence at the Mangyongdae Childrens Palace - Pyongyang, North Korea

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang September 10th 2009

In a country renowned for its international isolation, North Korea is equally adept at isolating foreigners visiting their nation. I have never journeyed to a country where I was kept so separated from the local populace. On almost every occasion, we were deliberately distanced from the local people; we would always eat in the most secluded section of a restaurant, be ushered out of a separate entrance/exit to a performance or show - and if this was not possible, then only after had we exited the building, would the North Koreans be allowed the leave the same premises. We effectively experienced the country as a detached observer. The incidental contact with local people which can be such a rewarding part of travel was non-existent. It was not possible to chat to someone next to you on ... read more
A grand looking underground station - Pyongyang, North Korea
Families at play at the Mangyongdae Fun Fair - near Pyongyang, North Korea
A priest with no parishoners - Russian Orthodox Church, Pyongyang, North Korea

Asia » North Korea » Panmunjom September 8th 2009

Within the North Korean psyche, nothing is more despised than imperialist aggressors. Those evil, external forces that threaten to usurp the Juche idea of self-reliance, and besmirch the Great Leader. Public enemy number one in this regard are the US - and they have held this title for the past sixty years, when they overtook Japan (and their imperialist efforts in the first half of the twentieth century) as the most despised nation. It was rare to hear the word “US” or “American” without the phrase “Imperialist Aggressors” spat out immediately after. This term was so common that I would automatically say the words “imperialist aggressors” in the rare instances when our hosts forgot to add this sobriquet to any reference to the US. This always received a nod of approval from our Guide and Official. ... read more
Captured US weapons and gear - Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, Pyongyang, North Korea
The tables where the Korean War armistice was signed - Panmunjom, North Korea
The North's view of the Korean War

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang September 6th 2009

Moments after arriving at Pyongyang train station, our hosts whisked us through a side exit and into a 25 seat van reserved only the two of us – there would be no fighting over who would get the window seat on this tour. We were introduced to our three North Korean hosts – our constant companions for the next 10 days. The Driver was a young person of about 30 years, with a wide face, darkened complexion, and a mop of black hair that swept across the head. Our Guide was in their early 50s, with a pleasant face that beamed when it did occasionally smile, but most times the expression matched the intensity of the words. The third person (also in their early 50s) was a stocky individual who was fluent in English, Korean, Chinese ... read more
The Juche Tower is reflected in the Taedong River - Pyongyang, North Korea
My favourite Great Leader painting
The Great Leader in print in many languages - Pyongyang, North Korea

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang September 3rd 2009

“You are going where?!?!”, my friend would exclaim. “North Korea,” I would calmly reply, with a nonchalance likened to asking a flight attendant for another orange juice. “Don’t you mean South Korea?” would come the inevitable response. “No, I mean North Korea: missile tests, captured US journalists...” and the answer would always be, “Ah…you mean the dangerous one,” with particular emphasis on the second last word. I would eventually be asked my reasons: North Korea (or the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea - DPRK) is the last remaining bastion of Communism, the failed economic experiment of the twentieth century. While other communist nations have fallen to the lure of capitalism through one reason or another, North Korea has remained true to its ideal - and for those who were too young to travel to the ... read more
No farm machines here - traditional methods alive and well in North Korea
Typical North Korean village scene on the journey to Pyongyang
The Great Leader gazes from a North Korean railway station

Asia » North Korea September 19th 2008

The first time Kim Jong il went golfing, his first time ever picking up a golf club, he shot a world record 38 under par. He recorded 11 hole-in-ones to shatter Solvang native Al Geiberger's previous record round of 59. The folks at the PGA and Guiness Book of World Records refuse to acknowledge this score. They say that there is no evidence either video or photo that confirms the claim. They ignore the fact that 4 of Kim's personal bodyguards were on hand to witness the entire event. Why would these men, who's lives lie in Kim's hands at all times, stretch the truth? There is only one logical reason why the PGA and Guinness continue to ignore what is undoubtedly the greatest achievement in the history of sport: Playa Hatin' How can one come ... read more
Some monument
We made a North Korean friend
Downtown Kaesong

Asia » North Korea August 17th 2008

Our coach tracked The Han River out of Seoul the forty odd kilometers up towards the North Korean border in the morning gloaming, and if you hadn’t known your destination beforehand, you’d still have felt The Sword of Damocles hanging over your head; as almost the entire length of the riverbank is fortified with razor wire fences and guard towers, lest the North Koreans attempt an attack on the heart of the nation. Ominous sights which certainly instill a sense of foreboding. Until ironically, we cross The Bridge of Freedom, to Dorasan Railway Station, situated right on the North Korean border. Where newly built post modernist architecture adorns the fault line of the world’s longest running civil war. Cameras with a half decent zoom were banned on the tour, lest you might spy something you’re not ... read more
KijÅng-dong, Propoganda Village
Barkyeon Waterfall
Barkyeon Waterfall

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