life through the lens
After a flight to Beijing I took the train to Dandong on the North Korea border, then moved on to Pyongyang to meet friends working there - February 2011.
The new version of the North Korean Won notes were introduced at the end of 2009. The image shows Kim Jong Suk's birthplace.
Leaving Dandong and crossing the Yalu River (Amnok River in Korean) to North Korea
After crossing the Yalu River the rather empty town of Sinuiju comes into view, starting with a ferris wheel that I've never seen working
The 'Great Leader' Kim Il Sung and the 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong Il keep an eye on the Duty Free store at Sinuiju train station.
A whole lot of fishing going on, on the outskirts of Sinuiju. Holes are drilled in the ice and then it's a case of waiting and waiting..
Feeding the geese - Sinuiju to Pyongyang
Life in the North Korean countryside - Sinuiju to Pyongyang
A farmland slogan proclaims 'Long live Kim Jong Il, sun of the 21st century' - Sonchon
Selling their wares at Sonchon
And I thought my bags were heavy - Sinuiju to Pyongyang
A lively looking town on the way from Sinuiju to Pyongyang
Apparently guitars are quite common in North Korea - near Jongju
Passengers get off the train in front of a smiling Kim Il Sung at Jongju
Any ideas what she might be selling? Jongju
The Kims at Jongju train station
A truck load of sand bags greeted the entrance or exit of every station - Jonju
I met up with friends David and Katrine and spent Friday night at the Random Access Club (the RAC), part of the UN World Food Programme offices in Pyongyang
Quality moves and cheesy tunes at the RAC. It's not quite the hive of activity since most foreign aid organisations left the country in 2009, but enjoyable all the same, and a great place for expats to get together away from prying eyes - Pyongyang
The Pyongyang Shop is a supermarket in the Munsu-dong area of Pyongyang
I was surprised at the number of restaurants in Pyongyang, and also at their popularity with locals.
The Taesong Department Stored - Pyongyang
The entrance to the White Tiger Art Studio, near Munsu Park - Pyongyang
Locals check out the DVDs at a stall - Pyongyang
A long queue for something. Is that insightful enough for everyone? Pyongyang
A Pyongyang metro station - I've heard of people who have actually gone beyond the Rehabilitation and Glory stations. They really exist!
Driving past a funfair on the way to Mangyongdae - Pyongyang
A frozen lake at Mangyongdae, a suburb of Pyongyang west of the centre
These traditional Korean houses mark what is said to be Kim Il Sung's birthplace - Mangyongdae, Pyongyang
Kim Il Sung, or The Great Leader, was the president of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (aka North Korea) from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. His son, Kim Jong Il, took over the reins - Mangyongdae, Pyongyang
One of the huts at Mangyondae - Pyongyang
Members of the Kim family - Mangyondae, Pyongyang
Kim Il Sung as a child looking out from Mangyong hill - Pyongyang
The pavilion at the top of Mangyong hill - Pyongyang
From the hill there's fine views of a distant Pyongyang. Here you can just make out the Ryanggang Hotel - Mangyongdae, Pyongyang
A walk through the park at Mangyongdae, Pyongyang
The well from which the Kim family drew their water - Mangyongdae, Pyongyang
The ancestral graves of the Kims - Mangyongdae, Pyongyang
People wandering along the frozen Taedong River - Pyongyang
Cycling the conventional way - Pyongyang
And cycling the unconventional way - Taedong River, Pyongyang
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www.koreakonsult.com - Korea Konsult is a Swedish based company that I booked my 2009 tour with. For me it offered the best itinerary and was flexible enough to cater for travelling by train to Pyongyang. The group size, at 23, was rather large however (but a great bunch of people!)
www.koryogroup.com - Koryo Tours is the market leader
http://english.chosun.com - Chosun Ilbo is a South Korean newspaper with lots of coverage of North Korea
www.nkeconwatch.com - plenty of independent news stories and analysis of North Korea
www.kcckp.net - news portal on behalf of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (ie. North Korea)
www.kcna.co.jp - news from the 'Korean Central News Agency'
Other tour agencies -
www.explorenorthkorea.com - USA/Dandong, China
www.geoex.com - USA
http://koningaap.nl - Netherlands
www.nordkoreareisen.de - Germany
www.northkorea1on1.com - USA
www.north-korea-travel.com - Hong Kong
www.universaltravel.com.sg - Singapore
www.vnc.nl - Netherlands
www.youngpioneertours.com - China
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