"Capital of the Forbidden Land" P'yongyang by DSwede
P'yongyang Travel Guide: 280 reviews and 970 photos
For more comments in general, please visit my North Korea (DPRK) page.
P'yongyang is the capital of North Korea, with a population of ~2.3 million people, it is 1/6 the size of S Korea's capital of Seoul. But despite its size, it is a complete inversion of what people would associate with a city of its size. The roads are wide open, with few vehicles. Most traffic is pedestrians and bicycles.
There are no advertisements or billboards. Instead, there is the ever-present propaganda posters, typically depicting the death or injury to the nameless American soldier under the knife of Korean justice. The others are showing Kim il-Sung as a beacon of hope, wisdom and prosperity. They show him with his hands in the air, guiding the way, with all the people cheering with happiness and pride.
It is hard to imagine that in a city of its size, most life stops at sunset. Electricity is a premium that most locals cannot afford, so the skyline at night is void of many lights. The only lights you are guaranteed to see are those illuminating important monuments or more directly put, portraits of Kim il-Sung.
At 8:30 at night, the streets are empty of people, only the random person running home after working a late shift. Street lights are very few and far between. Buildings typically turn on their lights when you enter and turn them off again when you exit. (see my General Tip photo)
P'yongyang is the only place that from the center of 2.3 million people, when I opened my window, all I heard was the sound of the wind and chirping of crickets. There were no sounds of cars, traffic, music, parties or even conversations.
- Pros:You will be that much more thankful for where you came from.
- Cons:Its a big city, with absolutely everything either non existant or off limits
- In a nutshell:In no other city will you feel so isolated, staying in a land so different than your own.
Most of the restaurants that tourists will be able to eat at have the same basic menus and quality of food. The... more travel advice
The final resting place of Kim il-Sung is only open on Fridays and Sundays. Sunday's will no doubt be busy with locals... more travel advice
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- "A capital city unlike any other"
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- "The capital of North Korea"
- "Last bastion of communism"
- "Capital of the Hermit Kingdom"
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- "The Eternal President"
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