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Location - North East Asia; Capital - Pyongyang; Population - 24 million; Currency - North Korean Won MORE NORTH KOREA

On my fourth, fifth and sixth days in North Korea I had the chance to walk around Pyongyang on my own. Compared to my 2009 visit it felt very liberating and exciting. Freedom! Well, sort of.. February 2011.


dprknewnote3The new version of the North Korean Won notes were introduced in January 2010.
The note displays the Monument to the Foundation of the Workers' Party.









dprk1172Walking over the Okryu Bridge on my way to Moran Hill - Pyongyang



dprk1173Looking at the maps the building overlooking the Taedong River is the Okryu Restaurant. If it is then that's one heck of a restaurant - Pyongyang


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dprk1175The Ryugyong Hotel is pretty much visible from everywhere in Pyongyang














dprk1356The Tower of the Juche Idea and, to the right a few kms further down the river, the Yanggakdo Hotel - Pyongyang















dprk1355The Tower of the Juche Idea - Pyongyang



dprk1354On the west side of the Okryu Bridge is this propaganda poster, presumably advocating the strengthening of the military - Pyongyang



dprk1169There's plenty of locals on the streets, though in 3 days I only saw one foreigner putting their feet to work - Pyongyang













dprk1171Kim Il Sung says hello - Pyongyang














dprk1177A row of posters lie on the opposite side of the steps leading to the Mansudae Grand Monument - Pyongyang



dprk1178A gun-toting woman. If anyone can translate any of these it will be much appreciated! Pyongyang



dprk1180Walk underneath this billboard to the grounds of Moran Hill - Pyongyang














dprk1181 Moran Hill is a picturesque park which must look great in the summer - Pyongyang









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dprk1184Moran Hill is dotted with pavilions, ponds and trees - Pyongyang



dprk1183On warmer weekend days there's often many locals at Moran Hill, in much more relaxed mode - Pyongyang L



dprk1185Walking through Moran Hill - Pyongyang















dprk1187Peer through the trees to see the Arch of Triumph - Pyongyang















dprk1188Catch views of the Kim Il Sung stadium and the TV Tower from the top of Moran Hill - Pyongyang



dprk1190The Pyongyang TV Tower - Pyongyang



dprk1189Perched atop the Kim Il Sung stadium is a picture of the man himself - Pyongyang















dprk1192Sweepers stop for a chat on Moran Hill - Pyongyang















dprk1193You can also catch a glimpse of Rungna Island, Okryu Bridge and the Tower of Juche Idea from Moran Hill - Pyongyang



dprk1196Liberation Tower - on Moran Hill - commemorates the Soviet troops who helped defeat the Japanese during WWII - Pyongyang



dprk1197Koreans take bales of tree branches down the steps below the Liberation Tower - Pyongyang















dprk1198A different angle on the Mansudae Grand Monument, from Moran Hill - Pyongyang















dprk1199The Mansudae Grand Monument is a statue of Kim Il Sung, built in his honour (or on his orders) for his 60th birthday - Pyongyang



dprk1203Also clearly visible from Moran Hill is the top of the towering Ryugyong Hotel and, to the right, the Chollima Statue - Pyongyang




dprk1206Make your way up to the Mansudae Grand Monument - Pyongyang














dprk1213The bronze statue is about 20metres tall - Pyongyang















dprk1221The statue was originally covered in gold leaf, but North Korea's bankrollers China ordered it be removed - Pyongyang



dprk1227Soldiers line the Mansudae Grand Monument - Pyongyang



dprk1225Paying their respects to Kim Il Sung - Pyongyang














dprk1223The faint 'flame' of the Tower of Juche Idea is visible (just) - Pyongyang















dprk1238The Chollima Statue is a legendary winged horse that could cover 400kms a day - Pyongyang



dprk1239A self-shot taken at the base of the Chollima Statue - Pyongyang



dprk1241All's fair in war and war - Pyongyang















dprk1242One of three propaganda posters at the base of the Chollima Statue - Pyongyang














dprk1244Translations welcome - Pyongyang



dprk1246An empty trolleybus on Okryu Street - Pyongyang



dprk1249Hustle and bustle in the streets surrounding Kim Il Sung Square - Pyongyang














dprk1250The Foreign Language Bookshop near Kim Il Sung Square has plenty of books, DVDs, badges and other souvenirs - Pyongyang














dprk1252One of the highlights of my 2011 visit was the chance to go to a local market, this one being Tongil Market. Photos are definitely frowned upon inside, possibly because it proves the existence of private enterprise and hence the shortcomings of a socialist regime allegedly providing for all - Pyongyang



dprk1251Inside was very organised, with the market divided by produce sold, for example fruit, vegetables, meat, biscuits/sweet, coats/jackets, clothes, household goods, electronics etc. Stall owners wore coloured bibs according to what they sold. Food was plentiful. Officials, each displaying an ID badge, walked around the market.

Prices are quoted in Won but if you convert at the official exchange rate (approx 1Euro=135/140Won) one egg cost 100Won/US$1! At the unofficial rate it's a different story.

I offered Euros for a camera memory card but was pointed towards an upstairs area to swap at the official rate. No chance! Though I wonder if there's some 'flexibility' - Pyongyang



dprk1254A 10 minute walk from Tongil Market (or 20 minutes if you get lost like me) is the Jongbaek Russian Orthodox church - Pyongyang














dprk1255Keep walking and eventually you'll get to Yanggak Island.
Budding fishermen crouch on the frozen Taedong River. The Yanggakdo Football Stadium is in the background - Pyongyang














dprk1258I crossed the Yanggak Bridge to Yanggakdo Island. The guy with the case was drunkenly swaying from side to side as he walked - Pyongyang



dprk1260I was back in the lobby of the Yanggakdo Hotel, 18 months after staying there as a tourist - Pyongyang



dprk1264Photos of Kim Jong Il at a military parade at Kim Il Sung Square - Pyongyang















dprk1259Unlike Tongil Market, Pyongyang's Central Market doesn't welcome foreigners. I peeked inside on my way past, and it looked very similar to Tongil.














dprk1267There's some fine views of the city from the rotating restaurant at the top of the Yanggakdo Hotel. The May Day Stadium, host to the famous Arirang Mass Games, and the Tower of the Juche Idea are on show here, along with some very annoying dust on my camera lens - Pyongyang



dprk1271And of course the Ryugyong Hotel can be seen from pretty much anywhere - Pyongyang



dprk1359Returning to Munsu-dong via the Okryu Bridge - Pyongyang















dprk1360My Pyongyang feet were a little sore by this point.
A foreigner walking around? Whatever next..














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LINKS - Korea Konsult is a Swedish based company that I booked my tour with. For me it offered the best itinerary and was flexible enough to cater for travelling by train to Pyongyang. The group size, at 23, was rather large however (but a great bunch of people!) - Koryo Tours is the market leader - Chosun Ilbo is a South Korean newspaper with lots of coverage of North Korea - plenty of independent news stories and analysis of North Korea - news portal on behalf of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (ie. North Korea) - news from the 'Korean Central News Agency'


Other tour agencies - - USA/Dandong, China - USA - Netherlands - UK - Germany - USA - Hong Kong - UK - Singapore - Netherlands - China


I am not responsible for the content of external websites.


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