Hamhung – Overview Part A – Introduction and Background

Hamhung, on the east coast of North Korea, is the country’s second largest city and a major industrial centre and port. It is the capital of South Hamyong Province and has a population of nearly 800,000 or less than a third that of the capital, Pyongyang which lies some six to eight hours away by road and much more by train. It took me ten hours to get there as we had a couple of scheduled stops, and one unscheduled one, along the way. Continue reading “Hamhung – Overview Part A – Introduction and Background”

Hungnam Fertiliser Factory – Hamhung, North Korea 


Like everyone else, I had hoped that after our tiring though eventful ten hour bus trip from Pyongyang to Hamhung we would call it a day and head for our hotel. That was not to be. The day’s itinerary showed that we still had a fertiliser factory to visit and, notwithstanding that we were running a couple of hours late, visit it we did! Continue reading “Hungnam Fertiliser Factory – Hamhung, North Korea 
”

The Ryugyong Hotel In A Whole New Light

For a country that can build buildings in a day or two (for example, the Armistice Signing Hall in Panmunjom in the DMZ) and whole streets full of high rise buildings in a year the 330 metres high, 105 story Ryugyong Hotel (Ryugyong – ‘capital of willows’– a former name for Pyongyang) remains uncompleted after 27 years and until 2018 has been a major embarrassment for North Korea. Continue reading “The Ryugyong Hotel In A Whole New Light”

Pyongyang’s White Elephant

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Ryugyong Hotel

For a country that can build buildings in a day or two (for example, the Armistise Signing Hall in Panmunjom) the 330 metre high, 105 story Ryugyong Hotel ( Ryugyong – ‘capital of willows’– a former name for Pyongyang) is a major embarrassment to North Korea. In fact the unfinished hotel is, without doubt, North Korea’s number one embarrassment as, given its size and downtown Pyongyang location, it cannot be hidden or ignored (not even by our guides who could otherwise happily tell you, straight faced and without the blink of an eyelid that black was white). Continue reading “Pyongyang’s White Elephant”