Pyongyang

Pyongyang is the national capital of North Korea. It is located on the west-central region of the country, on Taedong River.

The International airport of Pyongyang serves various international airlines, with Beijing,China, being the main stopover for flights. There are also trains from China that will take you to the Pyongyang train station.

There are many interesting landmarks inPyongyang. These include the giant bronze statue of Great Leader Kim Il-Sung at Mansudae, theJucheTower, the Ryugyong Hotel, Children’s Palace, the Arch of Triumph, the USS Pueblo, the Korean War Museum, among many others.

As the capital,Pyongyangis the city that is most filled with tourist spots and landmarks. However, as with any place inNorth Korea, tour guides are required at all times. In fact,Pyongyangwill most likely be your first and last destination in yourNorth Koreatrip, so you’ll have lots of time to take in the sights and sounds of the city.

Juche Tower

The Juche Tower is a 170-meter-tall monument in Pyongyang. This monument is the world’s 2nd highest monumental column, and it was completed in 1982.

Juche is the philosophy introduced by Kim Il-Sung. It means self-reliance, and this philosophy has guided the nation’s development since then. Officially known as the Tower of the Juche Idea, it commemorates a philosophy that has become a way of life for North Koreans.

The monument contains 25,550 stone blocks (one for each day of Kim Il-Sung’s 70-year life). It is illuminated by a metal torch at night, and visitors can ascend the tower through a lift. There is a platform just below the torch, which offers a breathtaking view of Pyongyang.

It is amazing to see a whole nation revering an idea so much, and this monument just goes to show what an idea can do to change the way a country works.

Reunification Arch

Much has been documented about the tension and conflict between North Korea and South Korea. While their differences seem irreconcilable, there are signs that both countries hope to one day come to a resolution for one united Korea, that a reunified Koreais still in the minds and hearts of their people.

One sign is the Reunification Arch that is located in Pyongyang. The structure was built in 2001 as a commemoration of the proposals for Korean Unification by the late eternal president Kim Il-Sung. The arch towers over the city, and it contains a map of the unified Korea.

When you visit the Reunification Arch, you will be immersed in an atmosphere whose mindset is almost completely different from that of nearly the rest of North Korea.

There might not be a reunification of North and South Korea any time soon. However, the hope of reunification, no matter how faint, is immortalized by this monument.

Panmunjom

Panmunjom is the DMZ – the demilitarized zone – that serves as the boundary between North Korea and South Korea. A visit to Panmunjom gives you the chance to hear the story between the two countries from a point of view that is much less known by many – that of North Korea.

When you arrive atPanmunjom, a North Korean soldier will promptly join you and your tour guide, and this soldier will not leave your side until you leave the DMZ. Tourists will also be given a briefing on the agreements made between the two countries at the end of the 1953 Korean War.

Once you are taken to the border line, you will most probably see tourists from the otherKorea. You will even be given a chance to step intoSouth Korea, albeit for a very limited period of time.

The Korean War ended more than 50 years ago, but the tension between the two countries is still very much present. Nowhere does this tension hang more heavily than over the entirety ofPanmunjom.

Myohyangsan

If you love to hike and love nature, make sure that Myohyangsan is part of your itinerary in your North Korean adventure. It is only 120km (75 miles) northeast of Pyongyang, which makes it very accessible from the city.

Myohyangsan, which literally translates to “exotic fragrant mountain,” is one ofNorth Korea’s best hiking spots – a recognition made more impressive when you consider that most of the country is in fact composed of mountainous regions. A hike through Myohyangsan treats you to beautiful sceneries of waterfalls, forestry, and Buddhist pagodas – scenes that are unique toNorth Korea.

In Myohyangsan, you will also find the Exhibition Center– a center that holds thousands of gifts that were given to both Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il. Its 4-ton bronze doors add to the prestige and grandeur of the center.

A simple hike or stroll in Myohyangsan will make you appreciate the fact thatNorth Koreais still very much untainted, as the location is as close to nature as you can get.

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