With the military and other celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s foundation, on the 9th of September, over it was time for us to head east for the first of two forays which would let us see a large part of this, much less frequently visited and scenically beautiful, side of the country. For this trip we started with a bus ride, 300 kms across the country giving us a wonderful introduction to this beautiful scenery and an insight into country life more generally. This review is a photo journal of my trip from Pyongyang to Hamhung, on the east coast of North Korea. Continue reading “Overland from Pyongyang to Hamhung via the Ullim Falls”
On 30 November 2018 a South Korean train crossed the border into North Korea. ‘So what’ – I hear you say – ‘trains cross international borders every day of the week’. Continue reading “Train Travel in North Korea – For No One and for the Leaders”
On both of my visits to North Korea (2014 and 2018) trains and the railway system more generally, within the country and beyond, were only mentioned by guides in terms of the Leaders, the very few on which tourists are permitted to travel and the non-existent service to Seoul in South Korea. The overall quality and reliability of the network and, in particular, the domestic service available to locals was not discussed. Continue reading “Train Travel in North Korea – Trains for the People”
When many people think of North Korea, due to propaganda in the press, sensationalised blogs/ other social media and other biases and preconceptions they often think only of a wicked dictatorship now in possession of nuclear weapons and readying itself to take over the world while its people are brainwashed, starving and sent to gulags and re-education camps for the most trivial of offences or no offence at all. A growing number of people believe that the best way of dealing with these problems is to blow North Korea of the face of the earth. Continue reading “No Horns Or Tails Were Removed – A Pictorial Review”
Two airlines fly into North Korea (officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), the national airline, Air Koryo and Air China. Invariably you will fly in from Beijing to Pyongyang though a few tourists enter from Vladivostok and there are on again off again flights from Shanghai. The airline also has a (very) small number of other international routes (not currently used by tourists). Continue reading “Getting to North Korea by Air and Pyongyang Airport”
In the introductory review on my September 2018 visit to North Korea I noted that the US President, Donald Trump, had entered into an amorous relationship with Kim Jong-un. On 29 September, 2018 at a political rally in Wheeling, West Virginia, President Trump declared that he and Kim Jong-un “fell in love” after the North Korean leader wrote him “beautiful letters”.
“I was really being tough, and so was he,” President Trump said of Marshal Kim. “And we were going back and forth, and then we fell in love, OK? No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they’re great letters. We fell in love.” Continue reading “What Do North Koreans Think Of Americans?”
Article 67 of the North Korean Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press in North Korea. Continue reading “The Media and Freedom of Communication in North Korea”
While I watch very little television at home and I would seldom ever watch it while travelling, after my 2014 trip to North Korea I urged future visitors to actually watch a little television. Television, like many other things, in North Korea – or rather the programming content – is not quite like the television most of us are accustomed to at home. North Korea is not your everyday normal location. Continue reading “Ri Chun-hee And Television In North Korea”
Should you visit North Korea it will not take you long to realise that anything of any importance is named after Kim Il-sung or more recently, since his death in 2011, Kim Jong-il. Very little, at this point is named after the current leader, Kim Jong-un.
It will thus come as no surprise that the most important flowers (trumping the national flower, the magnolia) in North Korea are the Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia. Yes indeed, that is what they are called – I kid you not.
To include this review as a warning or danger would be to exaggerate the impact on a visitor. The oft times lacking and erratic power supply in North Korea is more something you should be aware of and indeed I invite you to turn it to your advantage and enjoy the darkness in North Korea. Continue reading “Does One Really Need A Torch In North Korea?”