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Comrades, To North Korea! Part 1 - DUB To PEK  
User currently offlinegialloboy From Ireland, joined Jan 2012, 10 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 11213 times:

Hi guys,

it has been a year since my last big trip (honeymoon in Mozambique) and times have been busy. I have been selling a quite substantial film and music collection and as a result a treat was in order. I have been to the DPRK in 2007 and this unique country has fascinated my ever since. So I booked a tour to visit in August, this time speding more time in the countryside and not Pyongyang with three domestic flights thrown in. As all tours to the DPRK originate in Beijing I also booked flights in December 2011. First plan was DUB to BUD on Malev and then on to PEK with Hainan Airlines. This plan fell on it's face when Malev went bust. Second plan was Turkish with a stopover in IST but times did not suit. So finally I settled on DUB to LHR on EI and LHR to PEK on BA. As I doing my bookings very easly I got a superb deal on a J class fare on both BA legs. EI does not offer J on inter-Europen routes so these legs were both Y. All bookings were done via lastminute.ie which offered the cheapest tickets by far.

Finally August 17th came around and I left Limerick in the early afternoon, making my way to Dublin airport. I chaecked into the Dublin Airport Carlton Hotel and got upgraded to a rooftop suite.
Overall not a suberb Hotel but the suites are nice.

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01737.jpg

As I did not fance Hotel food I drove a few miles to Swords and had a superb meal in the wonderful Essence Bistro. Highly recommended!

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01733.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01735.jpg

Back to the Hotel after dinner as a bit of chilling with a few glasses of wine and a good movie was in order.

Woke up fresh on Saturday morning and took the airport shuttle to Terminal 2. As my ticket was partially J I could check in at the business class counter but got no lounge access in DUB. Oh well, off to Butlers for some hot chocolate.

DUB airport impressions:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01729.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01731.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01732.jpg

same Etidah flight that whisked us off on our honeymoon almost a year ago:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01739.jpg

Bording passes for LHR and PEK legs:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01738.jpg

My ride to LHR today:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01740.jpg

Boarding was painless and we were on our way quickly. Load was 100% with a rather naughty child in front of me, however I went to sleep within minutes so no bother

Legroom shot:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01742.jpg

Goodbye emerald isle!

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01746.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01747.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01748.jpg

After 50 minutes we started to descent into LHR, with nice views of LCY on the way:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01749.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01751.jpg

After arrival in Heathrow I took the express train from Terminal 1 to Terminal 5:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01754.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01757.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01758.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01759.jpg



Terminal 5:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01762.jpg

Went through security quickly and off to the lounge for a few hours of sweet relaxation with a good book and some magazines. I was not overly impressed with BAs LHR T5 lounge as it is rather big, crowded and cold. Food choices rather bland and generic but coffees were good!

T5 Lounge impressions:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01763.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01764.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01765.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01766.jpg

Had some couscous with spicy curry and Bitter lemon. OK but not great

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01767.jpg

Then down a level to Elemis Spa, had a quick shower first which is absolutely wonderful and then on to my comlimentary 15 minute back and neck massage.

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01770.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01769.jpg



T5 as seen from the BA lounge:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01771.jpg

Coffe station which I used extesively  http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01774.jpg

Lounge:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01775.jpg

After a few hours in the lounge I made my way to concourse B where my ride to Beijing was waiting:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01769.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01777.jpg

There was a much nicer lounge in B so I had another coffee. Should have come here straight away!

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01778.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01779.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01780.jpg

Boarding was soon after so made my way to the gate:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01782.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01785.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01786.jpg

Nice to board and being able to turn left rather than right! BA's lower level J cabin looks very comfortable indeed!

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01787.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01788.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01789.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01791.jpg

Insane legroom!

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01792.jpg

And 4 windows to myself!

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01793.jpg

Started with a glass of champagne (Taittinger Brut reserve NV):

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01794.jpg

Shortly after we pshed back and took off - going East over the North Sea and Denmark, then Estonia, Russia, Mongolia and finally China:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01795.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01796.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01797.jpg

Dinner service started shortly after, with a glass of Kir Royale and a bag of Kenyan nuts:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01798.jpg

Starter (tasted very nice!)
"Forman's classic smoked salmon plate with capers and lemon", wine was a Chateau Siaurac 2008 from Bordeaux:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01799.jpg

Main course (not so nice at all...)
"Szechuan-style stir-fried red snapper with mixed vegetables and steamed rice" with more red wine

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01800.jpg

Approaching russian airspace with night falling:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01801.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01802.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01803.jpg

Could spot the city of Saint Petersburg below!

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01805.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01806.jpg

Dessert (nice again)
"Double Gloucester and Bleu d'Auvergne cheese served with quince paste and biscuits", with (you guessed it) more red!

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01808.jpg

After dinner I watched "The Simpsons" and my favourite show "Father Ted" over a double Otard VSOP Cognac. After taht I drifted off into a blissful 6 hours of deep slumber. BAs flatseats really shine here, I think I never slept better on a plane.

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01811.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01813.jpg

Woke up sunday morning and enjoyed a delighful cup of coffee with fruit and a croissant:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01815.jpg

This was follpwed by a "Traditional english breakfast of scrambled eggs, crispy streaky bacon, saddleback sausage, tomato and sauteed potatoes" (OK, not great - the bacon was just pure fat!)

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01816.jpg

Arrived in Beijing in time and took a cap to my Hotel in tghe Sanlituin embassy and nightlife district of town.

In the afternoon I took the high speed train to Tianjin which is the second fastest scheduled passenger train in the world and does the 150km between the two metropolises in about 30 minutes. VIP tickets cost less than 10 Euro and give access to a departure lounge and free soft drinks.

Train impressions:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01817.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01818.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01819.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01820.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01821.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01822.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01823.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01825.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01826.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01827.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01828.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01829.jpg

In the evening I took a cab to the superb DaDong Peking duck restaurant. Having been dissappointed on previous trips I must say the duck here was an absolute delight and quite possibly the best meal of the entire trip!

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01831.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01832.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01833.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01834.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01835.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01836.jpg

My Hotel in Sanlituin (near the workers stadium), quite funky and close to attractions, restaurants and bars:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01839.jpg

Monday morning I met the Korean tour group, but before that I satrted the day with some shopping and street food. Savoury chinese pancakes are absolutely delicious and a real bargain at around 0.40 Euro a piece!

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01840.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01841.jpg

Done some more sightseeing in Beijing, here are some Tiananmen square impressions:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01842.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01843.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01844.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01845.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01846.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01847.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01848.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01850.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01851.jpg

Wangfujing food market - deep fried scorpions anyone?

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01853.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01854.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01855.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01856.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01858.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01859.jpg

In the afternoon I also received my Visa for the DPRK so all was set to go for the next morning!

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01860.jpg

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01862.jpg

Some more dinner in a traditional chinese restaurant plus some drinks with another tour group member and I was off to bed, in anticipation of the great trip that would start tomorrow!

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p55/Gialli/NK1/DSC01874.jpg

On the next report I will give you an insight into my Air Koryo J class flight to Pyongyang and three domestic flights within North Korea (on an ancient Soviet AN 24)! I hope you are enjoying my reports!

6 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAvianca From Venezuela, joined Jan 2005, 5925 posts, RR: 37
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 11103 times:

what a great report!

I have still in my plans to visit China asap!

Quoting gialloboy (Thread starter):
Forman's classic smoked salmon plate with capers and lemon", wine was a Chateau Siaurac 2008 from Bordeaux:

looks fantastic!

Quoting gialloboy (Thread starter):
Szechuan-style stir-fried red snapper with mixed vegetables and steamed rice" with more red wine

looks quite cheap, like a 3 USD take away .....

Quoting gialloboy (Thread starter):
This was follpwed by a "Traditional english breakfast of scrambled eggs, crispy streaky bacon, saddleback sausage, tomato and sauteed potatoes" (OK, not great - the bacon was just pure fat!)

looks again great, only the bacon... well you are even mentioning it was pure fat!

Quoting gialloboy (Thread starter):
In the evening I took a cab to the superb DaDong Peking duck restaurant. Having been dissappointed on previous trips I must say the duck here was an absolute delight and quite possibly the best meal of the entire trip!

wow looks more than grreat, my best Peking Duck I had so far was in MEX city and in LIM.

Looking forward for the next reports including NKorea.

Cheers
Avianca



Colombia es el Mundo Y el Mundo es Colombia
User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1161 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 10985 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Gialloboy,

Great report, thanks for sharing! What a nice begin to your North Korea trip.
BA J class looks very nice, the food looks absolutely delicious!
Like your pictures of China too

Quoting gialloboy (Thread starter):
same Etidah flight that whisked us off on our honeymoon almost a year ago:

What is that AF 777 doing in the background, or is it cargo?

Quoting gialloboy (Thread starter):
with nice views of LCY on the way:

Great overview

Quoting gialloboy (Thread starter):
Could spot the city of Saint Petersburg below

Nice catch!

Quoting gialloboy (Thread starter):
In the afternoon I took the high speed train to Tianjin which is the second fastest scheduled passenger train in the world and does the 150km between the two metropolises in about 30 minutes.

wow, that is fast

Looking forward to part 2!

cheers,

Brendan


User currently onlineeicvd From Ireland, joined Mar 2008, 2164 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 10729 times:

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 2):
What is that AF 777 doing in the background, or is it cargo?

It's a once weekly cargo flight (CDG-ORD-DUB-CDG). It often parks at the B pier here in DUB.


User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1361 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 10253 times:

Nice trip but I realize the best is still to come   While we get some Air Koryo reports now and then, J class is really something new and intriguing  

User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 9030 times:

Hello

Great trip report, thanks for sharing.
A great way to start a North Korean flying adventure in a good CW seat and a 747.
PEK looks great as well. Interesting to see the same model as the ICE3 in Germany

Looking forward to the next

Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineAA7295 From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 622 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 8155 times:

Did you get an actual visa placed in your passport?

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