A One Day Tour around Pyongyang

by Simon Wentzel

Welcome back to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea!

Besides some magnificent flight opportunities on Air Koryo we also had a chance to visit Pyongyang. The capital of the most isolated country in the world. After two days in the air with Air Koryo we had a whole day in Pyongyang!


Visiting Pyongyang and the DPRK

First of all: How did I get there? 

To get to North Korea as a foreigner and a tourist you will have to book a guided tour. Most tours will depart from Beijing, as there are not many connections in and out of the country. When arriving in Pyongyang you will be welcomed by your Korean tour guide, which will follow you all the time. 

We stayed at the famous Yanggakdo Hotel, located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River. Me and my roommate were lucky to catch a room on 31st floor with a fantastic view. 



Some highlights of Pyongyang

There are some places and monuments that you will come across while visiting Pyongyang. Besides that places you will also see many modern buildings in the city. Pyongyang also has the largest stadium in the world, May Day Stadium with a capacity of up to 150.000 people at the time of its opening in 1989. In 2014 the stadium underwent some renovation and now still has a capacity of 114.000 people. 

We had the chance to visit one of the famous Mass Games there. You find an article about it here: 

“The Glorious Country” Mass Games of North Korea


Visiting the city

After all the flying on day one and two of our trip we finally had the opportunity to take a walk around the city, we could stroll around Kim Il-Sung Square, where all the parades and celebrations are usually held, visit the Foreign Language Bookshop and see some of the monuments in Pyongyang.

We also visited the ‘Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum’, which is holding a large number of pieces from the time of the Korean war, also some remains of American tanks ans war planes. 



The Pyongyang Metro

One of the highlights of every visit to Pyongyang is the metro. It was built around 110m below the surface, making it one of the deepest metro systems in the world. It is also intended to serve as a shelter in case of a new war. 



Kim Il-Sung Square

It is the heart piece of the city and some will recognize it from TV. Here is where all the parades and all the celebrations are usually held. On the opposite side you will see the Juche Tower. Also nearby is the Foreign Language Bookstore, wehere you can buy books from the leaders of the DPRK in all common languages, you can also buy posters or souvenirs. 



Juche Tower

On the opposite side of the river is the Tower of the Juche Idea. It has a fantastic view over the city center and the Taedong River. 



Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum

Here you will learn about the history of the Korean war from a North Korean perspective and how the great leader and founder of the DPRK has defeated the Americans after their invasion to the Korean peninsula.

It also features many pieces left from the Americans, like vehicles, tanks and also the remains of some warbirds. On of the highlights is the spy-ship USS Pueblo, captured in 1968.



Mansu Hill Grand Monument

One of the most impressive places in Pyongyang is the Mansu Hill Monument featuring two large statues of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il. North Koreans come here frequently to honor their former leaders and also lay down flowers for them.



After a whole day out in Pyongyang we were really happy to get back to our hotel, have a good beer and finally some sleep after three really hard days. 

If there is a chance to go back to north Korea and see some more of this isolated unique country I will definitely go!

Anyone coming with me? 


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