life through the lens
Day 4 started with a drive from Kaesong to the tomb of King Kongmin before continuing south to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea - September 2009.
The Tower of the Juche Idea appears on the 50 Won note
The Folk Custom Hotel is a traditional style hotel in Kaesong
Each 'compound' of the hotel is divided into several rooms - Kaesong
Part of the traditional style means a mattress on the floor.
Food is served at the hotel, Kaesong
Electricity is sporadic in many parts of North Korea but Kim Il Sung always shines brightly - Kaesong
A statue rises above the trees at the tomb of King Kongmin, Kaesong
King Kongmin, the 31st ruler of the Koryo dynasty, reined in the 14th century and was buried here along with his queen - Kaesong
Statues of high officials lead up to King Kongmin's tomb - Kaesong
Granite statue at King Kongmin's tomb, Kaesong
A military statue at King Kongmin's tomb, Kaesong
I love the grins on these stone tigers (or lions, depending on what you read) - King Kongmin's tomb, Kaesong
The view from the top of the mausoleum, Kaesong
Father and sons at King Kongmin's tomb, Kaesong
So near yet so far. On our way to the Demilitarized Zone we pass a roadsign saying 'Seoul 70km' - Kaesong to Panmunjom
Our army guide explains the Demilitarized Zone - Panmunjom
During the Korean War negotiations took place in the Armistice Talks Hall. The final agreement was signed here on 27 July 1953 - Panmunjom
Next door is the Armistice Agreement Signing Hall, which exhibits photos detailing the war.
Also in this hall is a copy of the armistice agreement - Panmunjom
Our excellent guide Lim is on the left. I couldn't always understand his English but he was very accommodating with our itinerary suggestions (by North Korean standards!) and had a great sense of humour - Panmunjom
A wartime photo of Kim Il Sung in the Armistice Agreement Signing Hall, Panmunjom
And one more.. Panmunjom
And Kim Jong Il has somehow sneaked in there, here meeting former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung, architect of the 'Sunshine Policy' - Panmunjom
The Military Armistice Commission Conference Hall straddles North and South Korea - Panmunjom
North Korean soldiers outside the Military Armistice Commission Conference Hall in Panmunjom
Keeping guard outside the hall, Panmunjom
The Military Armistice Commission Conference Hall has been used for meetings relating to breaches of the Armistice Agreement - Panmunjom
North Korean soldiers stand guard in front of the locked door that leads to South Korea - Panmunjom
North and South Korea share this hall. When tourists from South Korea enter the building the door to North Korea will already be locked - Panmunjom
Standing in South Korea - Panmunjom
The microphone cable crossing the table symbolises the Military Demarcation Line - Panmunjom
It's back to Kaesong for a beautifully arranged lunch comprised of, amongst many others, seaweed, egg, kimchi (pickled cabbage in chilli), bamboo shoots and honey cooked rice (lovely!) - Tongil restaurant, Kaesong
Boiling my soup to perfection. There may still be poverty in North Korea but the regime make sure foreigners don't go without. After all they have to keep up appearances - Kaesong
Kaesong was the former capital of Korea during the Koryo dynasty, and is also the centre of it's ginseng production
Standing beneath another Kim Il Sung statue - Kaesong
The Great Leader Kim Il Sung watches over Kaesong
Local men relaxing in Kaesong
Walk to a rocky outcrop close to the Kim Il Sung statue for views over Kaesong
When Korea was divided along the 38th parallel after World War II Kaesong found itself in South Korea.
The Children's Palace, top left, and the old quarter of Kaesong
Life in the streets of Kaesong's old quarter
Maize on the roof of a Kaesong home. There was a bit of squash around aswell.
Chillis dry out on in a car park - Kaesong to Pyongyang
A deserted Reunification Highway links Kaesong to Pyongyang
A lot more traffic gathers just close to Pyongyang
Website and content Copyright © 2008-2012 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.
www.koreakonsult.com - Korea Konsult is a Swedish based company that I booked my 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
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'
www.nk-news.net/extras/insult_generator.php - definitely not an official DPRK site - the Random Insult Generator
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.