Tagged: Wonsan

[DPRK] Chapter 3: Some Solid Scenery

[This is the 4th post in a series of blog posts about my adventures in the DPRK from 11 August – 17 August 2013. You can find previous posts here.] 

Rolling green hills and peaceful lakes aren’t quite what comes to mind for most people when you think of the DPRK. With all that’s in the news, we often forget about what else the country has to offer. Much of my time in the DPRK was spent travelling between cities and towns, and we saw plenty of beautiful scenes and nature’s touch everywhere.

Sweet sunsets.

Sweet sunsets.

Mountains everywhere

Mountains everywhere

Getting in quite late, our first clear view of the city was from our hotel. Our hotel, the Yanggakdo Hotel, is on an island and is an impressive 47 floors high. Here’s the foggy view from the top floor. It only got better from here.

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From the 48th floor.

Foggy days ahead.

If you prefer moving pictures:

This was a stopping point on our way from Pyongyang to Wonsan. Gorgeous mountains and lakes!

Mountains and Lakes

Mountains and Lakes

If you prefer moving pictures:

One of my favourite parts of the trip: A walk along this long pier which proved to be a spectacular view in itself. Locals come here to set up DIY barbecue sets and chill out with their friends. #nofilter

A pier.

A pier.

Perfect picnic spot.

Perfect picnic spot.

I sat by the beach and wrote instead, but the water must’ve been a good escape for my friends who were unused to the weather. Singapore had me well-trained for the North Korean sun.

Beach time!

Beach time!

Ulim waterfalls. Also a good spot for a swim and a picnic lunch.

A swim or picnic by the falls.

A swim or picnic by the falls.

Most of the best views we saw were on the way/at towns and cities away from Pyongyang. It’s kind of like driving to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve from Queenstown.

Flowers everywhere, a couple of hours from Pyongyang

Flowers everywhere, a couple of hours from Pyongyang

Standing tall and proud.

Standing tall and proud.

We drove out to the west to have a look at their barrage. It’s just a bit more impressive than ours.

Nampho West Sea Dam

Nampho West Sea Dam

Le wild barrage

Le wild barrage

Again, really nice view from up here. I attempted to get up to the lighthouse but was spotted by guards.

The road on the way to the DMZ.

Looks like it could be another big city.

Looks like it could be another big city.

Way up high in the middle of Pyongyang city:

A look at the streets on the way out of Pyongyang:

And a reminder: 1 Korea. Reunification1

One Korea

One Korea

Previous: The People of Pyongyang

For your own DPRK adventure, get in touch with Young Pioneer Tours and check out their schedule for next year.

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[DPRK] Chapter 2: The People of Pyongyang

[This is the 3rd post in a series of blog posts about my adventures in the DPRK from 11 August – 17 August 2013. You can find previous posts here.] 

One thing I was entirely unsure of when entering the DPRK was what the people would be like. We hear so much about the government and rulers, but what of the people, the everyday children, women and men on the street?

One thing that’s for certain, there’s a very dominant military presence in DPRK; about 20% of the population is part of the military.

Some of them were really nice, lots of them even forthcoming and friendly. Like this lovely lady, who gave us a tour of the War Museum.

Lady in uniform = hotness

Lady in uniform = hotness

We got to interact with members of the military quite a bit. Some of them were fierce, like the ones looking out for tourists when we weren’t supposed to be taking photos, but in general they’re like everyone else is. Give them respect and they’ll ease up a bit, even take some photos with you.

Group shot!

Group shot!

Teach us all about the DMZ, won't you?

Teach us all about the DMZ, won’t you?

My new friend.

My new friend.

We were brought to a maternity hospital, where we met the local doctors. I was quite excited to meet their head gynecologist, female and very confident. She was born in the hospital, too!

Watch them teeth.

Watch them teeth.

Have some babies

Have some babies

And just like most boys, if there’s a game, they will play. Our bus driver is a bit of a Ping Pong legend.

Pyongyang Ping Pong

Pyongyang Ping Pong

We got to the library, where we had a seach intranet – the closest connection we had all week. Lots of people looking for their books.

Fun fact: They have Animal Farm by George Orwell in the library.

I can haz interwebz?

I can haz interwebz?

Up in the tower! This girl and I had an awesome connection, and we chatted lots. Most of them are really lovely people 🙂

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On Liberation Day, we were taken to a park where locals have picnics and lots of dancing.

Some dancing was very gracefully done by a big group of old ladies, and was lovely to watch.

And some of it was more spontaneous. I wandered off a bit and found this crazy group of people doing some Harlem-shake style dancing. The guy in the cap is an absolute legend.

My favourite was this old man. I was pulled up by one of the ladies and danced with him! :’)

This man LOVED all of us so much.

This man LOVED all of us so much.

More of our people:

The new kid.

The new kid.

A Korean goat.

A Korean goat.

We spent a night in Wonsan, and the few of us who survived the night after a bottle of vodka partied up with some locals, who were up to some SERIOUS karaoke action.

Karaoke Party!

An Aussie, a Kiwi, a Singaporean and a Brit walk into a DPRK bar….

More fun times living like the locals.

Gaz + duckface

Gaz + duckface

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Survivors

Roomies!

Roomies!

Picnics on the Pier in Wonsan.

How the locals chill.

How the locals chill.

And of course, the most important one of all.

And of course, the most important one of all.