Old Wonsan Train Station

When the fairly typical western style Wonsan (now Old) Train Station was opened in 1914 by the Chosen Government Railway it was certainly nothing special, indeed it was somewhat plain and utilitarian – unremarkable. A momentous event in 1945 would change its status for ever.

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Pujon Stone River and Revolutionary Site

After what turned out to be a four hour drive from Hamhung (as opposed to the expected three), due to problems with one of our buses we arrived at the entrance to Mt. Ongryon park in the Pujon Highlands, one of the ‘Eight Great Sights of Korea’.  Here we met our local guide for our short walk to the Stone River and to some very special trees.   The bus trip, which I have written about in two separate reviews (Part A HERE and Part B HERE), while at times gruelling, was scenically beautiful and gave us some insight into everyday life (road maintenance in particular!) in this remote and rarely visited part of North Korea.

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Hamhung Overview – Part B – Sightseeing incl Shots from the Window of a Bus

In Part A of this review I focused on a general overview of Hamhung and its history, in particular its development as an important industrial centre and port. I also briefly covered the city’s destruction as a result of American blanket bombing in the early part of the Korean War and the (disproportionately) horrific impact that the mid to late 1990s famine had on the city. The city and its people have been slow to recover from these events and for this reason it was off-limits to foreigners until around 2010. Continue reading “Hamhung Overview – Part B – Sightseeing incl Shots from the Window of a Bus”

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”