En Route to Mt Kumgang

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.

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Wonsan – The Drive from Hamhung and an Introduction

Pyongyang is often referred to as a showcase capital, for good reason. Anyone who is anyone lives in Pyongyang, anyone who is not anyone is only permitted to enter the city under special circumstances and they certainly cannot live there. The infrastructure, buildings, services and facilities are the best North Korea can offer.

With a few noted exceptions, North Korea outside Pyongyang is a different world but it is a world that is changing, albeit slowly. While only the fifth largest city with a population of around 365,000, Wonsan, in terms of recent development, comes (a distant) second to Pyongyang.

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Jipsam Revolutionary Site

Today we had a choice of two activities for our pre-lunch stop. After lunch we would continue on to Orang airport for our return flight to Pyongyang. Having a choice in North Korea, and in particular one that results in the group being split in two, is rare but was made easier here in the north east of the country as we had additional local guides and we were travelling in two smaller buses.  Our normal large bus was not suited to the roads in this more mountainous part of the country but then again neither was one of our smaller buses though that’s a story for another review. Continue reading “Jipsam Revolutionary Site”