SIN7
Topic Author
Posts: 169
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:34 pm

Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:03 pm

I had always wanted to take this trip to see the last bastion of a Stalinist like state.
The only way to tour North Korea is through an authorized travel agent. I was just in luck as the sole agent doing this trip from Singapore had a tour during my vacation. With 4 friends we embarked on this very rare and bizarre trip (from 1-10 June 2008).

Our fight from Singapore to Pyongyang was via Beijing on Air China

SIN-PEK
CA 970 - B767
STD 0015
STA 0620

I have to apologize that there are no photos for this leg because silly me forgot to put in the battery into my camera. The battery was in the charger which was in the checked-in luggage. Believe me, I was extremely frustrated when I discovered to my horror that I had the camera but without the battery when I was on the aerobridge boarding my first ever CA flight. Aghhh . . . was so mad at myself throughout the flight.

Anyways, the mid night flight SIN-PEK is almost exactly as the PEK-SIN leg (also a mid-night flight). There’s not much of the difference in service.

Beijing-Pyongyang
CA 121 - B737-300
STD 1340
ETA 1630

Again no pics !!! The flight was uneventful. Flight was ¾ filled with the tour group from Singapore. There were some UN officers, Europeans, Chinese and Japanese pax too.
Inflight service was a simple drink service with finger sandwich. FAs were polite and efficient. Their announcement in English can be a little hard to understand.

Now the pictures . . .

Pyongyang-Beijing
CA 122 - B737-300
STD 1720
ETA 1830

This is Pyongyang’s international airport.
The ATC.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Tower.jpg

There were a few men in uniforms standing around. Was a bit weary when I was taking this shot. Anyways, no one objected, so guess it was alright to take pics in the airport and tarmac.
The entrance and exit (i.e. departure and arrival)
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Enterance.jpg

Arrivals
Sorry for the poor pics
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Arrival.jpg

Departure – The only international flight for the day.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Dept.jpg

Anyone like to fly Air Koryo? Here’s the flight schedule for it.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Schedule.jpg

Check-in is on the ground floor. Once done, pax go up to the 2nd floor which is the waiting area before boarding. It is one big hall with duty free stuff (more like blackmarket. Products for sale were a miss mash of soap, ginseng tea, dried veg, dolls, snake wine and every gadgets from the 80s. The front of the huge hall faces the tarmac. On the left is a VIP room. On the right is were pax clear immigration and proceed down the staircase to a bus. Japanese made.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/DutyFree.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Bus.jpg

Pyongyang Airport with the Great Leader welcoming and seeing you off.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/PyongYangKim.jpg

Air Koryo aircrafts.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/aircraft.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/AirKoryo.jpg

Boarding the 737
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Boarding3.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Boarding2.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Boarding4.jpg

Safety Demo. Sorry for the poor pics. It was real bumpy while taxiing.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Demo1.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Demo2.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Demo3.jpg

FA making a bow after the demo.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Bow.jpg

Scenes around the runway. There’s a rice field along it.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Taxi.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Off1.jpg

My seat 14L. This is the first time I’ve seen JKL. Do other airline practice this too?
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/JKL.jpg

Bit tight pitch.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Pitch2.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Pitch.jpg

After take-off. Drinks were offered.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/MaleAttn.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/DrinksLM.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Drinks2-1.jpg

On the PA it was announced that a snack would be served. However, I did had a whiff of food being heated. True enough, there was going to be a hot meal. Choice was pork or fish with rice. I wasn’t hungry, but how can I turn down a meal. I chose the pork. It was hoisin pork. If there were a menu card, it would look something like this:

Stir Fried Pork in Hoisin Sauce
Mixed Vegetables
Steamed Rice

The box contained a fruit jello cup, sweet cup cake (tasted awfully artificial), plastic cutlery and wet wipe.

No one in my row took the fish option, so no pics on it.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/LM1.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/LM2.jpg


[On the PEK-Pyongyang leg, finger sandwiches (tomato, ham and tuna) and drinks were offered. I thought it was good enough]


FA clearing the meals.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Clearing.jpg

My seat mates gone to the loo after the meal, took the chance to shoot these:
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Seat2.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Seat1.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Headrest.jpg

Arrival in PEK
On the way out of the a/c
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Disembarking.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/ACinPEK.jpg

Transit in PEK new T3. It’s big!
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/PEK7.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/PEK5.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/PEK2.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/PEK9.jpg

Huge floor to ceiling windows without steel pillars blocking. Excellent for taking pics.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/CADHL2.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/CADHL.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/EK2.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Egypt2.jpg


PEK-SIN
CA 975 – B767
STD 2345
STA 0545

Boarding via stairway. I really enjoy this now rather than the aerobridge.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/B5.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/B6.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/B3.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/B1.jpg

Cabin view
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Window.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/asile.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/SeatControls.jpg
The envelop next to the pillow is for donation for the earthquake victims.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Pillow.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Blanket.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Screen-1.jpg

Inflight service began with a drink and peanut service. Standard choice of coffee, Chinese tea, OJ, apple, tomato juice, water, Coke, Sprite and Chinese beer.

The male FA on my row just plonks down the peanut packet and wet wipes on your table. The female FA was serving the drinks was very polite. However, anyone sleeping, too bad you got nothing.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Drinks3.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Drinks2.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Drinks1.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/DrinksPeanuts.jpg

[SIN-PEK leg, no drink service, the meal service just starts straight away]

Meal service
From airlinemeals.net pics I saw CA offered very simple meals on the SIN-PEK vv sectors. So, I made a Seafood SPML order. It was a good decision.

My meal consisted of a small shrimp salad, fish with tomato sauce, buttered potatoes, green beans and pumpkin. Dessert was fresh cut melon and a thick slice of kiwi.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/SFML1.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/SFML2.jpg

The normal meal on the flight was pork with noodles or chicken with rice. This came with small tomato and cucumber salad , dessert a pear jello and a package of Chinese preserved veg.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/LM.jpg

[SIN-PEK, my Seafood meal was almost exactly the same a small coleslaw salad, fish with thick tomato sauce, fried cubed potatoes, greenbeans and carrots. Dessert was fresh cut melon, papaya and pineapple. The standard meal on the flight fried noodles or fried rice. This came with small tomato and cucumber salad, dessert and a package of Chinese preserved veg. My friend took the fried rice and said it was horrible and tasteless. Lacking in ingredients too. Just rice, egg and mixed frozen veg. Not a single piece of meat. The fried noodles fared no better too. Those familiar with Singapore breakfast beehoon at the hawker center that sells for about $0.80 a packet, it’s something like that).

After meals were collected, duty free sales and then lights off.

Spartan toilet. Thank goodness it was relatively clean.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Toiletaries.jpg

In the middle of the flight I went to the galley to get a drink. I asked the male FA who was sitting on the crew seat dozing off. He just murmured in mandarin pointing to a cart filled with the standard drinks – zhe zhi na – simply translated, go help yourself or get your own. His eyes closed and wet off to Zzzzz land again. Man, I left my camera at my seat! It would have been a nice shot of him sleeping. Anyways, I was happy helping myself to about 2 cups of apple juice and fiddling around the galley. No other FAs were around.

About an hour to touch down, only water service was provided in this cheapo paper cup.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Watercup.jpg

[SIN-PEK - About an hour to touch down, drink service was served. FA had a tray filled with a mix of OJ, apple juice and water for pax]

Arrival in SIN disembarking
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Disembarking-2.jpg

Here’s some pics of Pyongyang. The guide will inform where it's alright to take pics.

Citizens making a bow to the leader. All tourists are obliged to do the same with the guidance of the tour guide.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/bowing.jpg

Cleaning the steps by hand
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/cleaningbyhand.jpg

Cutting grass by hand – at the hotel garden
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/cuttinggrass.jpg

At the DMZ facing South Korea
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/dmzlookings.jpg

An aerial view of Pyongyang
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/overview.jpg

Street scene. No locals would talk to any tourist.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/street.jpg

Emblem of North Korean Communist Workers Party
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/1.jpg

City view and a shot of the 105 story pyramid hotel which is still not competed since mid 1990s.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/2.jpg

Great leader’s portrait is omnipresent in almost every city corner.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/3.jpg
 
MaverickM11
Posts: 17802
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2000 1:59 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:14 pm

Amazing! That is the number one place I want to visit.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
phileet92
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:37 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:18 pm

wow truly rare footage of a very mysterious country. thanks! you really cant compare Pyongyang's airport with Beijing T3. surprised even photos are allowed in NK.

-phileet92
 
buck3y3nut
Posts: 824
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:42 pm

wow... I really liked the pictures from NK.

Quoting Phileet92 (Reply 2):
wow truly rare footage of a very mysterious country

I totally agree with you  Smile

Thanks a lot for sharing this report. The way you mention The Great Leader reminds of that Simpsons Episode where they go work in a farm and worship the Great Leader  Smile Hope this doesn't offend anyone... My apologies if it does...
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:50 pm

A fantastic and incredibly rare trip report, I can't thank you enough for posting it! The pictures from inside the DPRK are especially enticing, I really can't wait to go there myself one day soon.

Thanks again for taking the time to share this, very, very interesting


Dan  Smile
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
staralliance38
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:14 pm

interesting TR! Could you please restore some of the pics of Pyongyang? It looks really interesting.
Roar, lion, roar
 
SASDC8
Posts: 530
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:01 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:32 pm

Thanks for a really, really interesting report!! Would love to go to DPRK myself Smile

Pyongyang looks rather nice Big grin How was your hotel??

Cheers
Stein
2-3-2 is NOT a premium configuration
 
plateman
Posts: 646
Joined: Wed May 23, 2007 9:36 am

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 5:32 pm

Wow, thanks for a unique one.

Do you have any more photos you took in North Korea that you can post please?
"Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
 
PanAm747
Posts: 4713
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:46 am

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 5:42 pm

GREAT trip report!! A chance to visit one of the most bizarre places in the entire galaxy.

On another trip report, someone posted this link, so I will supply it again here:

http://www.1stopkorea.com/index.htm?nk-trip1.htm~mainframe
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
widget1580
Posts: 288
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 4:14 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:04 pm

Wow this is now my most favorite trip report. Great job! It is not everyday you see a TR from North Korea.


-Travis
 
staralliance38
Posts: 1114
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:09 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:05 pm

interesting TR! Could you please restore some of the pics of Pyongyang? It looks really interesting.
Roar, lion, roar
 
Speedbird2025
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:06 pm

Great report!

--Nate
 
Deguoren
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:52 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:29 pm

Excellent trip report.

But, why didn't you take Air Koryo to FNJ? I had one of the most "amazing" flights onboard of an Tupolev 154B and Ilyushin 62M.... Half the fun going to DPRK.

What hotel did you stay at? The Koryo or Yanggakdao? I was wondering of that "An aerial view of Pyongyang"-photo.

Thank you for the TR.
 
Deguoren
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:52 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:38 pm

Edit: (not possible in original post)

Forget about the hotel question. Photo probably taken from this Juche "column" with the "fire" on top?

Sorry.

[Edited 2008-06-12 12:42:12]
 
ba319-131
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:41 pm

Great report and pictures, thanks indeed!

The pictures are great, really nice to see some real pix of North Korea, a place many people are interested in for one reason or another.

Quoting SIN7 (Thread starter):
Anyone like to fly Air Koryo? Here’s the flight schedule for it.

- Interesting to see it's in English!

Thanks again, loved it!

Regards

Mark
111 732 733 734 735 736 73G 738 739,7M8 BBJ 741 742 743 744 752 753 762 763 764 772 77L 773 77W L15 D10 D30 D40 AB3 AB6 312 313 318 319 320 20N 321 21N 332 333 342 343 345 346 359 351 388 CS1 CS3 I86 154 SSJ CRJ CR7 CR9 CRK 145 170 175 220
 
davescj
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:57 pm

What an awesome chance! I'm so glad you posted a TR!

Dave
Can I have a mojito on this flight?
 
reifel
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Thu Jun 12, 2008 11:22 pm

Thanks a lot for this very interesting report. I would love to see more pictures of North Korea as well. There are so many questions one could ask, but since we're in an airliner forum, I will ask you a few airline related things. They may not sound important since these are the last things that other people will ask you, but it's just out of personal interest: Was your luguage checked through from NK to SIN? how Is check-in handled there? Do they use computer systems or is everything hand written? do they give you connecting boarding card for the BJS-SIN-leg? Is there any difference in check in or boarding process compared to what we are used to?

And: Is it possible to transit via BJS without a chinese Visa? (i.e. would I be able to book a FRA-BJS-SIN flight without a chinese visa?

Once again, thanks a lot for this exciting report!
 
SQ772
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:53 am

Thanks for the report. I've always been fascinated by what goes on in North Korea, and wondered if everyone on the streets in Pyongyang are actors putting up a show for the unsuspecting tourists. Did you ever get a feeling that this was so?

Which agent did you go to to get this package?

Beijing Capital Airport's T3 is an architectural masterpiece. What are the facilities for transit passengers like? Are there lots of things to do, as user friendly as Changi?

Time to arrange for another dinner to tell us all about the mysterious north!
There's always a better way to fly...
 
aznmadsci
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:36 am

Hey!

Amazing photos! It reminds me of some photo book depicting life in North Korea, especially around the time of Arirang to celebrate the Great Leader.  spin 

Also thanks for sharing some photos of PEK T3!  bigthumbsup 

Colin  wave 
The journey of life is not based on the accomplishments, but the experience.
 
9w748capt
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:19 am

What an incredible TR - and kudos to you for having the curiosity (and courage!) to visit a place like North Korea! Thanks for sharing!!!
 
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legacyins
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:45 am

Great Trip report. I was in Seoul three weeks ago and went on a tour to the DMZ. Question: Were you able to go into the "blue" house? We were not allowed because if a North Korean group was in the room, the South Korean group could not enter (obvious reasons). We were told that this is intential. North Korean groups keep the room occupied most of the day preventing tour groups from the South from entering.

It is quite sureal to be in the DMZ area.
 
co777er
Posts: 391
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:12 am

Wow! Sounds like a great trip. I stumbled upon this series of videos inside N.K.
http://www.vbs.tv/video.php?id=1438428757

How was the food? These guys didn't have good food at all!
 
KLM685
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:46 am

Hey! Great Trip report ! Definately one of the most "mystic" ones i've read. It was fascinating. Thanks for the pics!

What were the NOT DO LIST given you by your tour guide ( beside pics)?

Cheers!
KLM- The Best Airline in the World!
 
triple7man
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:55 am



Quoting Legacyins (Reply 20):
Great Trip report. I was in Seoul three weeks ago and went on a tour to the DMZ. Question: Were you able to go into the "blue" house? We were not allowed because if a North Korean group was in the room, the South Korean group could not enter (obvious reasons). We were told that this is intential. North Korean groups keep the room occupied most of the day preventing tour groups from the South from entering.

It is quite sureal to be in the DMZ area.

I had the chance to visit Panmunjon and the DMZ in 1989 when I was a missionary in ROK (Republic of Korea). We went there by bus and at an Army camp had a briefing in which we were told not to talk to the North Korean soldiers, make any hand or facial expressions, as they would use it as propaganda. We also had to sign a form saying that we were aware this is a potential combat area, and if there was any hostility we would not hold the US, UN or ROK responsible. We did go into the blue house, and in there you can cross the line of demarcation. Of course the North Korean guards came down and looked in but that was it.

You are very fortunate to have been able to see it from the other side because very few outsiders get to see it.
Have you kissed a 777 today?
 
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airbuseric
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:30 am

Hi

a truly impressive tripreport. Very facinating to see some insights on DPRK. It's hard to believe the circumstances these people have to live with. I can't imagine myself mowing the grass by hand, all day long  Silly I also wonder why Air Koryo has so many aircraft on the ground, with almost no flights for it. btw, I also noticed their new Tu-204 in the 'parking area'.
Thanks again, for sharing this experience.
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
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vivekman2006
Posts: 414
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:21 am

Firstly, congratulations on making this trip! There aren't many (if there are any) trip reports to North Korea!

Quoting SIN7 (Thread starter):
Departure – The only international flight for the day.

WOW - I wonder what is the workload like for the customs and immigrations folks

Quoting SIN7 (Thread starter):
Anyone like to fly Air Koryo? Here’s the flight schedule for it.

Hehe - thats straight out of the 70s...

Quoting SIN7 (Thread starter):
Products for sale were a miss mash of soap, ginseng tea, dried veg, dolls, snake wine and every gadgets from the 80s.

The waiting hall itself looks like it is from the 1980s. I remember seeing similar orange coloured plastic seats back in the 1980s at BOM.

Quoting SIN7 (Thread starter):
Air Koryo aircrafts.

What an amazing line-up of some of the most exotic aircraft in the world!!  Smile

Quoting SIN7 (Thread starter):
Cleaning the steps by hand

Wonder why they have to do it by hand! Can't they use a broom atleast?

Quoting SIN7 (Thread starter):
Street scene. No locals would talk to any tourist.

Really weird! BTW, just look at the grim look on the gentleman's face!!!

- Vivek
 
SIN7
Topic Author
Posts: 169
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RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:15 pm

Thanks to one and all for the very kind words in your replies.

Quoting Phileet92 (Reply 2):
you really cant compare Pyongyang's airport with Beijing

You bet. In the DPRK time just stood still in the 70's. Flying from PEK to FNJ is literally flying back in time, in every sense of the word.

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 4):
I really can't wait to go there myself one day soon.

It seems that the DPRK is quite open to tourist (just on social visit). On our trip we met lots of Chinese, Thai, believe it or not their sworn enemy, Americans, South Koreans, Indians, Malaysians, Germans, Tajiks, Russians and quite a number of Europeans.

Quoting SASDC8 (Reply 6):
Pyongyang looks rather nice How was your hotel??



Quoting Deguoren (Reply 12):
What hotel did you stay at? The Koryo or Yanggakdao?

We stayed at the Yonggakdo Hotel. It's pretty good at least a 4* rating. Rooms with a/c, TV with cable channels from China, Japan, BBC, Russia and their only one local channel. There's a casino too (run by Chinese staff), games rooms, restaurants, convenience store, tailor and even a DHL service. The hotel is located on an island. Almost all tourist stay there. Easier to keep an eye on the foreigners. I was told that Koryo Hotel, situated along the main street is too close for comfort for the authorities. Tourist can easily see and take pics of apartments, buildings and locals walking along the streets. At Yonggakdo, we are marooned on the island with no contact with any locals except for the approved ones such as the guides, drivers and hotel employees.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/Yhotel.jpg

Quoting PlateMan (Reply 7):
more photos you took in North Korea

As requested
One of the lake park. Beautiful. Due to the lack of traffic and vehicles in NK, the air is so clean and fresh.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/lake.jpg
A reflecting lake
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/lake2.jpg
At commune village and collective farm.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/commune.jpg
A typical peasant's home. The guide said this is a functioning home.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/house.jpg
However, the kitchen seem a bit too clean. I wanted to go in to take a peak what's cooking for dinner. But was politely informed that we can't go in as we should respect the privacy of the occupants. Hmmmm . . .
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/kitchen.jpg
The living room. There's a PC there. Again we can't go in. Notice there's no keyboard.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/living.jpg

Tourist are allowed to take a ride between two subway stations. Beyond these two is a no, no.
Ticket with modern ticket machines. But a everyone passes through the lady and drops their ticket into a box.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/tkt.jpg
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/train.jpg
The 1960-1970's lighting fixture
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/subway.jpg
Public apartments.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/appt.jpg
A visit to the Children's Palace. Music class
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/music.jpg
A 1 hour performance by the kids. It was awesome!
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/performnace.jpg
Part of the audience. Notice the teachers did not want to be photographed.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/aud.jpg
We were lucky to catch a glimpse of kids practicing a mass display for their national day.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/massdis.jpg
A beach side restaurant. The sea was so clear and clean. School of fishes swam close by the shore.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/beach.jpg
Another hotel we stayed. We were the only 30 guest occupying it for the night.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/hotel.jpg

Quoting Deguoren (Reply 12):
But, why didn't you take Air Koryo to FNJ

Believe me I'd give the world to fly with Air Koryo. But since the trip was handles by an authorized agent, they did all the flight bookings.

Quoting Deguoren (Reply 13):
Forget about the hotel question. Photo probably taken from this Juche "column" with the "fire" on top

Ha, ha, spot on!

Quoting Reifel (Reply 16):
Was your luggage checked through from NK to SIN? how Is check-in handled there? Do they use computer systems or is everything hand written? do they give you connecting boarding card for the BJS-SIN-leg? Is there any difference in check in or boarding process compared to what we are used to?
And: Is it possible to transit via BJS without a Chinese Visa? (i.e. would I be able to book a FRA-BJS-SIN flight without a Chinese visa?

Luggage was checked all the way to SIN. Yep, computerised labels and boarding passes were used.Check-in was handled by the tour leader. We just handed him our passports. he did the check in for us. We just collected the boarding pass from him. Almost every tourist comes in a group tour so prob it done the same for all. Check in was handled by Air China, so there would be some sort of system. The Station Manager was clearly seen doing his work.

Hmmm, so sorry I don't know about Chinese visa for you. Prob a check with the Chinese Embassy. Singapore passports don't need a visa to China on a short social visit.

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 17):
everyone on the streets in Pyongyang are actors putting up a show for the unsuspecting tourists. Did you ever get a feeling that this was so?
Which agent did you go to to get this package?

It has been said that Pyongyang is a big stage. The guides and everyone allowed to be in contact with tourist have got their script perfected. However, the ordinary people do live in reality. Travel agent was is Universal Travel. They do trips to Cuba too.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/pp.jpg

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 17):
Time to arrange for another dinner to tell us all about the mysterious north!

Oh, yes we should.

Quoting Legacyins (Reply 20):
Were you able to go into the "blue" house? We were not allowed because if a North Korean group was in the room, the South Korean group could not enter (obvious reasons). We were told that this is intentional. North Korean groups keep the room occupied most of the day preventing tour groups from the South from entering.

You're right. Whenever either the North or South soldiers are in the other party should not be in. I visited the DMZ from the South in 2003 and 2004. There wasn't any problems visiting the conference room (blue room). This time visiting from the North, no problems too.
In the conference room with North Korean soldiers.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/dmzsold.jpg

The gravel (grey) portion is South Korea. The sand (while) part is North Korea.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/dmzline.jpg

Quoting Triple7man (Reply 23):
We also had to sign a form saying that we were aware this is a potential combat area, and if there was any hostility we would not hold the US, UN or ROK responsible. We did go into the blue house, and in there you can cross the line of demarcation. Of course the North Korean guards came down and looked in but that was it.

When I visited the place through the South conducted by the US army guide, it was very rushed. Prior to the trip we were told not to were t-shirts, jeans or slippers allowed. yep, had to sign all the forms too. Visiting through the North was less formal. No forms to fill in, no need for passports and we could wear what we wanted. In the conference room, we were invited to sit on the negotiation table too. I guess the North Koreans intend to make a mockery of the significance of the area.

Quoting KLM685 (Reply 22):
What were the NOT DO LIST given you by your tour guide ( beside pics)?

No pics of any the army, soldiers and military vehicles.
Try not to buy from the local stores.
Always stay in the compound of the hotel
No giving of gifts to the kids

I stole this pics with a steam engine military truck. Notice the black barrel on the back of the truck. That's where I was informed they put coal in.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/kidstruck.jpg

Quoting CO777ER (Reply 21):
How was the food? These guys didn't have good food at all!

Almost everyone you see are very slim. No one was even slightly obese too. Due to their lack of transportation everyone walked. Very limited snack stalls and restaurants. Absolutely no fast-food and soft drinks.

For tourist . . . we felt really guilty and ashamed  ashamed  . While we know food was simple for the locals, we were treated and fed very well. The pics is an example of the many dinners we had. Lunch is about the same. Breakfast was typically Korean (rice porridge with lots of side dishes). No western style eggs, cereals, hams or pastries.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z150/SIN7_photos/meals-1.jpg


Once again, thanks to everyone above for your very encouraging and kind comments.
 smile 
 
Deguoren
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:52 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:40 pm



Quoting SIN7 (Reply 26):
We stayed at the Yonggakdo Hotel. It's pretty good at least a 4* rating. Rooms with a/c, TV with cable channels from China, Japan, BBC, Russia and their only one local channel. There's a casino too (run by Chinese staff), games rooms, restaurants, convenience store, tailor and even a DHL service. The hotel is located on an island. Almost all tourist stay there. Easier to keep an eye on the foreigners. I was told that Koryo Hotel, situated along the main street is too close for comfort for the authorities. Tourist can easily see and take pics of apartments, buildings and locals walking along the streets. At Yonggakdo, we are marooned on the island with no contact with any locals except for the approved ones such as the guides, drivers and hotel employees.

I was given the choice of staying in the Koryo or the Yanggakdao. I chose the Yanggakdao. I didn't think it was up to a four star standard ... Here are two photos: Please, note the calender on the wall!!!

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll41/shideguoren/IMG_1858.jpg

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll41/shideguoren/IMG_1857.jpg

Quoting SIN7 (Reply 26):
For tourist . . . we felt really guilty and ashamed . While we know food was simple for the locals, we were treated and fed very well. The pics is an example of the many dinners we had. Lunch is about the same. Breakfast was typically Korean (rice porridge with lots of side dishes). No western style eggs, cereals, hams or pastries.

Worst part. Did you see the Red Cross Rice bags in the DMZ? Right afterwards having lunch, like in your photo, feels uncomfortable.


Also, opposite to you who had to fly CA, I was given no choice. Had to fly with Air Koryo - the ticket PEK-FNJ was quite expensive.
 
MeridianBUF
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:56 am

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:58 pm

What are the immigration procedures like? And customs?

Do they check your things thoroughly before you are allowed to enter and exit the country, in case you have 'spy' stuff with you?
 
NG1Fan
Posts: 329
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:53 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:46 pm



Quoting SIN7 (Thread starter):
My seat 14L. This is the first time I’ve seen JKL. Do other airline practice this too?

Dragon Air also does this.

NG1Fan
 
Aleksandar
Posts: 2941
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2000 11:43 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:13 am

It is an amazing TR. I enjoyed in every word and pic. Just awesome!

I was really interested in that "functioning village house" and it seems like a typical Communist propaganda. No way that someone is living there. Pyongyang seem quite interesting, too. As for the hotel, it is not bad, but I would rather give them three stars.

It is interesting to see what tour guides are doing there. This is my job too (tour guide and leader) and it is amazing to see that they are more security officers than real guides.

Anyway, pics from the seaside and outside of Pyongyang is really great. No matter whether we like NK or not, it is a fascinating country.

Thank you once again for such a treat.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
 
HKGKaiTak
Posts: 971
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 9:48 am

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:47 am

A fascinating trip report. Many thanks for sharing.
4 Engines 4 LongHaul
 
Ryanair!!!
Posts: 4127
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2002 8:55 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:48 am

My God... You went ahead and did it. It felt like we were just talking about it over dinner the other day. What were the tourist attractions? If you said "hi" to the person on the street, would they reply?
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
 
Superfly
Posts: 37705
Joined: Thu May 11, 2000 8:01 am

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Tue Jun 17, 2008 4:52 pm

SIN7:
This is an amazing trip report and one of the best I have read.  Wow!
That is incredible that you were able to go to North Korea.
Those images you captured are incredible. It is a shame those people are so isolated from the rest of the world.
The photo of them cutting grass by hand is surreal.

Quoting SIN7 (Reply 26):
Believe me I'd give the world to fly with Air Koryo. But since the trip was handles by an authorized agent, they did all the flight bookings.

Did you try asking the agent?
When I booked my trip to Cuba, I made sure that I was flying on Cubana and flying on the IL-62 and Yak-42.
I ended up getting an equipment sub for the the Yak-42 and ended up getting the same IL-62 again. I just wanted to make sure that I was on Cubana.
You do have this leverage when booking through an agent. They may get a little irritated but it can be done.
Not sure if I'd want to visit North Korea but I would like to get a photo of their Air Koryo IL-62 in Bangkok the next time I visit. That is their longest international route.
Not sure what their schedule is.
Bring back the Concorde
 
User avatar
OA260
Posts: 23755
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:50 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:22 pm

WOW amazing TR and experience. I would love to go on the TU-204 and visit North Korea. Its very different than anywhere else. Loved all the pics.

OA260
 
EXAAUADL
Posts: 1740
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:48 am

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:56 pm

Great TR....Air Koryo has more planes than they do departures.
 
Ryanair!!!
Posts: 4127
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2002 8:55 pm

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:31 am

Air Koryo wil start charter flight to SIN during the September school holidays using the Tu 204!!! This is our chance to get on that plane!
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4282
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

RE: Air China – Pyongyang, North Korea (pics)

Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:58 am

Thanks for sharing such a magnificient TR. DPRK is the destination for me in 2009.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 1):
Amazing! That is the number one place I want to visit.

= Wanna do it together next year? We could talk 9W strategy all the way there. And, I am VERY serious about going in 2009.

Cheers,
A.
Live, and let live.

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