Hoeryong’s Children’s Palace

I suspect it will come as a surprise to many that North Korea has a 100% literacy rate. In North Korea everyone receives twelve years (extended from eleven in 2012) of full time, state funded, education – from kindergarten to high school. After this there is the option to go to university and other institutes of higher learning. Education in North Korea focuses on preparing students for the workforce (including the military) and aims at not only advancing the prospects of each student but also those of the country, consistent with its Juche, or self-reliance, ideology. There is a significant focus on foreign languages, science and technology but this is not at the expense of the arts, culture and sports. Continue reading “Hoeryong’s Children’s Palace”


Mother Kim Jong-suk – Starting a Trend in Cross Border Travel to China?

Our final stop in Hoeryong, specifically related to the memory of Kim Jong-suk, was the banks of the Tumen River which, here, serves as the country’s northern border with China. Having completed our tour of the Kim Jong-suk city sites we boarded our bus for the short trip to the border. Continue reading “Mother Kim Jong-suk – Starting a Trend in Cross Border Travel to China?”

Mother Kim Jong-suk – From Kitchen Hand to Commander of Mt Paektu

Our primary reason for visiting the north east city of Hoeryong was to learn about Kim Jong-suk, one of the “three Commanders of Mt Paektu”, hero of the anti-Japanese revolutionary forces and mother to Kim Jong-il – the successor to North Korea’s first post Japanese occupation leader, his father Kim Il-sung. Continue reading “Mother Kim Jong-suk – From Kitchen Hand to Commander of Mt Paektu”

Kim Ki-song Hoeryong First Middle School – Children of the Revolution

On arriving into Hoeryong from Chongjin our first stop was the Kim Ki-song Hoeryong First Middle School, one of the country’s more prestigious secondary schools catering to the offspring of the city’s Nouveau riche. It is named after the revolutionary brother of anti-Japanese war heroine Kim Jong-suk, wife of Kim Il-sung and mother to Kim Jong-il. Continue reading “Kim Ki-song Hoeryong First Middle School – Children of the Revolution”

Hoeryong – Snacking, Wining, Dining and Sleeping

As usual we had an early start to the day, so as to fit in a final sightseeing stop in Chongjin prior to heading inland on our 2 – 3 hours drive to Hoeryong. En route we stopped at a small unmarked shop which sold bottled water (for a few cents) from the adjacent bottling plant which our guides assured us produced the best water in North Korea. A plaque by the shop detailed the makeup of the water for those seeking additional assurance in this regard. Continue reading “Hoeryong – Snacking, Wining, Dining and Sleeping”

Hoeryong – The birthplace of Kim Jong-suk

Hoeryong is a city of around 100,000 people in the northern part of North Hamgyŏng Province, right on the border with China. Like all other towns and cities in North Korea you would imagine that the population was somewhat smaller as people tend to stay at home when not out working. North Korea is not a café / window shopping society though things are slowly changing in this direction, especially in Pyongyang where a multitude of new cafes and restaurants had sprung up between my 2014 and my 2018 visit. Continue reading “Hoeryong – The birthplace of Kim Jong-suk”