While in Pyongyang you will invariably have the opportunity to take a ride on the metro and you might even get to experience a short ride on a trolley bus. Such trips are very much provided as ‘things to do’ as opposed to being a way to get to somewhere. I have prepared separate entries on both as things to do in Pyongyang. That said, our metro ride was longer than the normal two – three station experience. We actually travelled five stops with the specific purpose of getting to the Arch of Triumph and Kim Il-sung Stadium, in addition to admiring and experiencing the metro system itself.
Unless you are on a special train tour, your mode of transport will be a tour bus. This tour bus will pick you up at the airport and drive you everywhere until it drops you at the airport or train station for your departure from North Korea.
Our bus, of Chinese origin, was spacious, clean and well maintained. We had a forty plus seater for around 20 people including guides, meaning that everyone had two seats.
Thankfully and perhaps surprisingly, given the Authorities propensity to sell North Korea and its Leaders at every opportunity possible, there was no television on the bus. It was equipped with an excellent audio broadcast cum karaoke system. Our guides turned out to be excellent singers and entertained us with a number songs throughout the trip including a beautiful rendition of “Arirang” a traditional Korean folk song lamenting the departure of dear friends (over the mountain pass).
When we were not admiring the sights outside, sleeping or singing songs various of our group took up archery within and without the bus. The archery set was acquired at a souvenir shop outside Pyongyang.
Initially frowned upon by the guides, it wasn’t long until they were in on the fun too.
Not only are chartered buses used to move foreign tourists around they are also used to move North Korean delegations and other groups around. Its rather different to see hotel “car” parks full of buses instead of cars. I understand they have a special fleet of buses with darkened windows to transport members of the Supreme People’s Assembly (Parliament) around when they are in Pyongyang.
Hmmm I wonder where that koala hanging in the front of our bus came from ? Why not a Wombat? !!!
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries providing general and background information on The Rambling Wombat’s trip to, and travelling in, North Korea which I recommend you read in a particular order. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Money in North Korea. If necessary, go to my North Korea introduction entry – And now for something completely different – to start this loop at the beginning.