life through the lens
My third day included a drive to Mt Myohyang, 150km north of Pyongyang - February 2011.
The new version of the North Korean Won notes were introduced at the end of 2009.
Crossing the Taedong River. At the beginning of February the daytime temperature in Pyongyang hovered around -3°C.
Reading a novel or going over self-criticism notes? Pyongyang
The best known Korean martial art is Taekwondo - Pyongyang
Taedong Gate formed part of the original walled city of Pyongyang. It was first built in the 6th century; the present gate dates back to the 17th century.
A wedding couple walk through the arch of Taedong Gate - Pyongyang
A gayageum is a traditional Korean stringed musical instrument - Pyongyang
Next to Taedong Gate is the Pyongyang Bell, dating to 1726 - Pyongyang
A poster in central Pyongyang
The Tower of the Juche Idea was built in honour of Kim Il Sung's 70th birthday - Pyongyang
The 170-metre tower is lit up at night - Pyongyang
During the day you can pay 5 Euros and take a lift to the top for superb views - Pyongyang
The tower is made up of 25,550 blocks of granite, one for each day of Kim Il Sung's 70 years - Pyongyang
On the opposite side of the Taedong River is the Grand People's Study House, on Kim Il Sung Square. Compared to my first visit in 2009, there were more areas lit up at night, including many restaurants and some public buildings - Pyongyang
A trolleybus passes in front of the Grand People's Study House - Pyongyang
Kim Il Sung Square is the setting for military parades and marches - Pyongyang
There's many statues and paintings of Great Leader Kim Il Sung throughout the country - Pyongyang
One of the cheaper hotels in Pyongyang is Haebangsan Hotel. I picked up my train ticket to Dandong from a ticket office next door.
Most roads outside Pyongyang are very quiet
We had a day trip to Mt Myohyang, 150km north of Pyongyang
The International Friendship Exhibition is set in Mt Myohyang. It houses all the gifts donated to Kim Il Sung from all over the world. A separate building covers presents given to Kim Jong Il, though this was closed when we visited. No cameras allowed.
Katrine does the honours and opens the Exhibition door as our guide looks on - Mt Myohyang
The Exhibition has room after room after room of gifts from what looked like every country in the world.
As well as the Friendship Exhibition, Mt Myohyang is known for its nature trails, waterfalls and mountain scenery
Chris takes some photos of the Mt Myohyang scenery
The souvenir shop at the International Friendship Exhibition. Virtually every tourist sight in North Korea has a souvenir shop - Mt Myohyang
We took a short walk on one of the surrounding nature trails - Mt Myohyang
A frozen waterfall is a pretty impressive sight - Mt Myohyang
The waterfall was a translucent ice-blue - Mt Myohyang
Dominating the tourist centre of Mt Myohyang is the luxurious and recently renovated Hyangsan Hotel
The lobby of the Hyangsan Hotel. I didn't see a single guest - Mt Myohyang
We were treated to a tour of all the different categories of rooms at the hotel. The cost was well out of my league! Payable in hard currency of course - Mt Myohyang
We were also treated to an impromptu karaoke session by a hotel waitress and then by our interpreter, crooning Korean-style - Mt Myohyang
The Hyangsan Hotel swimming pool - Mt Myohyang
We went on a wild goose chase looking for a place that served lunch, ending up in the town of Hyangsan
The streets of Hyangsan, a few kms away from the Hyangsan Hotel
We tried the Chongchon Hotel to no avail. and so returned to the Hyangsan Hotel where some pleading did the trick - Hyangsan
Scenery on the way back from Mt Myohyang to the capital
Sunset on the drive back from Mt Myohyang to Pyongyang
The Moranbong Hotel is a new name to me. It's set in the Moran Hill area close to the Arch of Triumph and TV Tower - Pyongyang
The Moranbong Hotel has the usual array of shops and restaurants - Pyongyang
The Kims enjoy a casual stroll. Peace, love and harmony in Pyongyang
Website and content Copyright © 2008-2011 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.
www.koreakonsult.com - Korea Konsult is a Swedish based company that I booked my tour with on my 2009 trip. 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
I am not responsible for the content of external websites.