Blogs from North Korea, Asia - page 5


Asia » North Korea July 23rd 2008

One of my last days in Korea, I was lucky enough to go up to the North Korean city of Kaesong. Our trip started out with special Visas that were to be worn around our necks at all times, and some serious searches of ourselves and our bags. Getting into North Korea you could tell an immediate change. The guards looked like leftovers from the Cold War era, and near the border the North Korean Government had chopped down all the trees to better detect deserters. We were briefed on the way up what would happen, when to take photos, and how to never say their leader, Kim Jong Ill, or their Eternal Leader, Kim Il Sung, names. When we crossed the border we got a North Korean solider on our bus and then in ... read more
North Korea
At the waterfall
North Korea

Asia » North Korea June 15th 2008

Hello everyone, This blog is about our recent weekend trip to North Korea! I'm sure most of you have all heard about the latest commotion over the recent tragic shooting of a S. Korean female tourist in North Korea? ( Well, that is actually the same tour that we were on - about a month earlier. Now the tours are temporarily suspended until the North agrees to cooperate with the South in further investigating this unfortunate murder. We went in the middle of June - and although overall we thought the S. Korean company Hyundai Asan played too much of a role in creating this tourist destination / tour - we were quite intrigued by this communist country and feel lucky that we got to take part in such a unique and educational experience. We started ... read more
Korea Carving
Melanie & some critters
Our friends Mike and Chloe

Asia » North Korea September 3rd 2007

Ah.. so our stay in the DPRK finally was coming to an end. Today we would be taking the train back to Beijing, nearly 23 hrs. On our way out, I noticed a DHL truck outside the hotel, the only Western company I had seen the whole time here. The train station was quite busy when we arrived. Some kids were playing volleyball (common sport here, most factories will have a volleyball court) without a net. We had a last group photo, then said our goodbyes to our local guides, they would not be joining us on the train. The train left on time at 10AM. Our group had the first three cabins in the car that would be going all the way to Beijing. The cabins were nice and clean. We set off through the ... read more
Pyongyang - Beijing train
Train decoration
Old man

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang September 2nd 2007

September 2, 2007 Hotel: Yanggakdo Today was our last full day in the DPRK, but just as busy as the previous two had been. This morning we would be visiting Kim Il-Sung's mausoleum, for which we had to be presentable. Shirt+tie for men and dress for the women. The mausoleum itself is huge gray granite/marble building with no windows, just a large picture of the Great Leader. It is always busy with locals who usually visit two or three times a year. When we arrived there was a long line of workers and women in brightly colored traditional dresses, pink, blue, green, etc. The other KT tour arrived as well, this was the American group, so they had managed to get in as well despite the Mass Games being canceled. There is a large courtyard in ... read more
Revolutionary Martyr Cemetery
Arch of Triumph

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang September 1st 2007

September 1, 2007 Hotel: Yanggakdo Today was another full day of touring. Woke up early again this morning to walk around outside the hotel. There was a stream running by that had amazingly clean clear water, the early morning air smelt fresh, quite refreshing! The DPRK is mostly an agricultural society, and a pre-industrial one at that... most of the work has to be done by hand since they are short of fuel and energy. There are corn and rice fields everywhere, but the yields are low. Most electricity here is generated by hydro or coal. Lack of industry and cars means there isn't much pollution (well, at least not that tourists would see). China is certainly much worse in this respect. Our first stop this morning was the Buddhist temple; surprising in a communist country! ... read more
Hotel, Mt. Myohyang
Temple Guards

Asia » North Korea » Pyongyang August 31st 2007

August 30, 2007 Flight: Beijing to Pyongyang, Air Koryo 152 Hotel: Yaggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang At last.. today I would be going to the hermit kingdom, North Korea! I'd wanted to go now for a few years since I'd heard about Koryo Tours trips, and DPRK had opened up the past few years to Americans, letting them in for the Mass Games. My wife and I were actually scheduled to go on their Mass Games trip last year when it was canceled due to flooding, I wanted to make another attempt this year. M. couldn't make it this time and since their non-US citizen tours are cheaper (I am dual citizen US/UK), I signed up for one of the Mass Games tours using my UK passport. Tours to the DPRK are somewhat unpredictable; there had been flooding ... read more
Air Koryo plane
Fountain Square
Mansundae Monument

Asia » North Korea » Kumgangsan January 4th 2007

The intense responses and interest kindled by the blog from North Korea has brought me full circle into the realization that this is a living subject that needs to be updated on (to see origional blog go to: I have had many responses and many questions that have all left me not only grateful for this experience but also feeling inadequate to answer many of the questions asked. On one occasion I was sent a message by a mechanical engineer from IRAN wanting to know what I though of him taking a job at a shipyard in North Korea. I was both honored and shocked by the email at the same time. In my response I told him that I knew little of what the REAL North Korea was like and talked about how I ... read more
North Korean village from a distance

Asia » North Korea August 25th 2006

As the title of this entry suggests, I ventured into the "Demilitarized" zone between North and South Korea. Eve and I booked a tour to the DMZ (as it is lovingly referred to) after reading the fine print of the brouchure which basically told us its not the tour companiy's fault if we were to be shot in case conflict broke out in the DMZ- a rare occurence, but with heightened tensions between the Koreas and the fact that the North and South had a shooting incident for the first time in a few years just a week or so before we arrived, the tour company wanted us to make sure that we all understood we were in an actively patrolled zone. We also weren't allowed to wear mini-skirts. This trip to the DMZ was one ... read more
Imgingak memorial
Freedom Bridge and the Memorial
Guard Post

Asia » North Korea » Kumgangsan July 20th 2006

“… I will explain a few rules. First, no taking pictures while on bus. Second…” Our guide spoke with a degree of clearness that I haven’t heard yet here from a Korean until now when he began stating the rules of our trip. As he continued to further explain the seriousness of breaking these rules the mood began to set in as to where we were about to go. The Japanese rule of Korea ended with the end of the 2nd World War in 1945. At this time the Soviets and the Americans occupied their respective halves. However, the two countries could not agree on the implementation of Joint Trusteeship over Korea. In 1948 this led to the establishment of separate governments in the north and south, each claiming to be the legitimate government of all ... read more
Hiking day one
Central tourist area

Asia » North Korea » Kumgangsan July 10th 2006

What can I say about my trip to Kumgangsan? It began with me barely making it to meet the bus because of me being stupid and trying to take the subway all the way to Hongdae...i made it with minutes to spare and we were off on our 5-6 hour drive to the East side of Korea and up through the DMZ to the mountain of Kumgangsan. Crossing into the DMZ was a strange feeling, it seemed like we were crossing a line into a world of the unknown and stepping back into time by at least 20 years. The first thing I noticed was how the landscape changed from green plush mountains to tall rocky mountains. There were barbed wire fences along both sides of the road so no one could cross over and everywhere ... read more
Leaving for N. Korea
The Convoy
One of the 3 hotels

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