In 1998 South Korean President, Kim Dae-jung, referenced one of Aesop’s fables, ‘The North Wind and the Sun’, in the creation of a new policy to improve relations with North Korea – essentially a shift from a failed coercion approach to one of co-operation. In the fable, the sun and the wind competed to remove a man’s coat. The wind blew strongly, but the man clutched his coat and kept it on. The sun shone warmly, and the man voluntarily took off his coat to enjoy the fine weather.Continue reading “South Korea’s Sunshine Policy and the Mt Kumgang Tourist Region”
Leaving Wonsan, unlike most visitors who return west to Pyongyang or head north to Hamhung, we took the coastal road south to the Mt Kumgang region. This mountainous region borders with South Korea along the infamous demilitarised zone (DMZ) which is ironically one of, if not, the most militarised areas in the world. Tourist access to the DMZ on this side of the country is not possible.Continue reading “En Route to Mt Kumgang”
En route back to our hotel from a spectacular hike to the Kuryong Falls we made a stop for a short walk to a viewing platform over Samil Lake.
Samil Lake is an 80 hectare freshwater lake, 9-13 metres deep, within the Mount Kumgang Tourist Region, in the south-eastern part of North Korea. It sits about 2 kilometres from the coast of the East Sea of Korea ( the Sea of Japan to non-Koreans) and 9 kilometres north-west of the border with South Korea.Continue reading “Samil Lagoon/ Lake – Mt Kumgang”
Mount Kumgang, or the Kumgang Mountains, is a spectacular and stunningly beautiful mountain range, also referred to as the diamond or the thousand peak mountains. The mountains are located in the South East corner of North Korea, bordering with South Korea, on the other side of the infamous demilitarised zone. Between 2002 and 2008 hundreds of thousands of tourists from South Korea, in particular, visited the area. Since then it has very much reverted back the ‘the unseen North Korea’ visited by very few international tourists. While the mountains are a hikers delight and one could easily spend weeks here we were limited to an afternoon’s hiking to Kuryong Falls and a short visit to the Samilpo Lake (see seperate review) – but what a delightful afternoon it was.Continue reading “Kuryong Falls – Mt Kumgang Walk”
Having left Wonsan our next stop was Mt Kumgang, three hours drive to the south, and to get there we drove along the (mainly) coastal National Highway 7 (AH6). For much of the way the highway runs in close proximity to the Kumgangsan Chongnyon railway line. Being a bit of a railway buff I enjoyed a bit of train station spotting en route to Mt Kumgang though sadly did not see any trains. In this post I share a few details on the line together with a few pictures of the stations I passed as well as a few other railway related snaps.Continue reading “The Kumgangsan Chongnyon Railway Line – North Korea”