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 

International Friendship Exhibition


Throughout our tour in North Korea our guides went to great lengths to extol the virtues and wholesomeness of North Korea and its Leaders and took great pride in the fact that it and its people are pure, clean and devoid of negative outside influences. Our guide told us of how the State makes every effort to protect itself and its citizens from everything bad and wicked. This, of course or at least for the domestic audience, explains why North Korea isolates itself from the outside world rather than the outside world isolating itself from North Korea. Continue reading “International Friendship Exhibition”

Pohyon Temple – Mt Myohyang


Pohyon Buddhist temple, one of the few places of worship in North Korea open to foreign visitors, dates from 1042 and the Koryo dynasty. It was founded by a monk named Kwanghwak and is named after the saint that guards the morals of Buddha. The current incarnation of the temple mainly dates from post the Korean war (1951-53) when the temple complex was extensively damaged by US bombings with over half of the buildings completely destroyed. Continue reading “Pohyon Temple – Mt Myohyang”

Kim Il-sung Square


Many readers will have seen video and pictures from North Korea showing parades of thousands of goose stepping soldiers (and they do it very well) and armoured vehicles carrying the most up to date military hardware including rockets and missiles (though many are just mock-ups) passing a review stand of the military top brass, barely able to stand upright due to the weight of medals on their tunics. Continue reading “Kim Il-sung Square”

Kim Il-Sung’s 102nd Birthday Fireworks

Kim Il-sung’s Birthday Firworks

On the early evening of the Greater Leader’s 102nd birthday our group was in the Pyongyang Gold Lane Bowling alley. While most of the group were enjoying a game of bowls, some were having a drink and I was engaged in a deep and meaningful political discussion with our main guide. After bowls our (ok, not ours but rather the guides’) plan was to return to the hotel for dinner – it had been a long day. Continue reading “Kim Il-Sung’s 102nd Birthday Fireworks”

Juche Tower – The View from the Top

Eastwards Facing View

The Tower of the Juche Idea (Juche Tower) is one of the most important elements of Pyongyang’s iconography which all directly or indirectly glorify the life of the country’s modern day founder and Eternal President, Kim Il-sung. The Juche Tower celebrates the Great Leader’s Juche Idea of self reliance (see my main Juche Tower review for further detail).

The Tower is one of the most visible features in the city and you will see it regularly as you move (i.e. are brought) around the city. I think it is especially nice when lit up at night.

Anyway, you will want to climb it and you can do so. Continue reading “Juche Tower – The View from the Top”

The Tower of the Juche Idea

Tower of Juche Idea from Kim Il-sung Square

By the end of the Korean War (1953) Kim Il-sung had had enough of foreign imperialist intervention in the affairs of Korea. He had, with more than a little help from the Soviet Union, something, which now seems to have been forgotten about, managed to stem Japanese Imperialism and remove them from Korea in 1945. In 1953 he had defeated the United States in the Fatherland Liberation War (to outsiders the Korean War) though the US continued to occupy the southern part of the country as it does to this day. Continue reading “The Tower of the Juche Idea”

International Kimilsungia Festival – Flower Show



A flower show!

I hear my reader breath a sigh of relief thinking that this will be my first North Korean review not to mention Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, the Fatherland, US imperialists or many other things routinely trotted out in every other review from my North Korean trip. This time we will get to see pretty flowers and hear of things horticultural, you say. Continue reading “International Kimilsungia Festival – Flower Show”