Kaesong Travel Guide

  • Kim Il-sung from the Folk Custom Hotel
    Kim Il-sung from the Folk Custom Hotel
    by wabat
  • Kim Il-sung on Mount Janam
    Kim Il-sung on Mount Janam
    by wabat
  • Tongil Street - Kaesong
    Tongil Street - Kaesong
    by wabat

Kaesong Things to Do

  • Koryo Museum

    This large complex of buildings (currently nearly 20) originally dates from 992 when the site housed the Taemyon Palace which later became an imperial guesthouse and then the Bureau for Confucian Doctrines. In 1089 it became ‘the Kakjagam’ or highest centre of learning in Kaesong for those seeking to enter the civil service. Children of the...

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  • Tomb of King Kongmin

    Although North Korea is an ancient country with roots going back 4000 years tourists have very little opportunity to see or hear about anything pre-dating the Japanese occupation of the country in the late 19th century. Visits to North Korea focus on the iconography of the modern age, monuments and museums perpetuating the cult of personality of...

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  • Other extra curriculum activity

    Not all children make it to the Students and Childrens’ Palace for its wide range of fun extra curriculum activities. Many, the non-elite, are forced engage in less fun extra curriculum activities (assuming they go to school at all). For city children this frequently appears to mean sweeping the streets and other public areas. While these children,...

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  • Kaesong Students and Childrens’ Palace

    The most noticeable building in Kaesong and one we had a great view off from the Kwandok Pavilion on Mount Janam is the Kaesong Students and Childrens’ Palace, a smaller version of the Mansudae Children’s Palace in Pyongyang though here in a more traditional Korean architectural style. It opened in 1961.Children’s Palaces, found throughout North...

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  • Kaesong Old Town

    Kaesong has a very long history and has the best preserved old town area in North Korea. While most of North Korea was razed to the ground by US bombing during the Korean War, Kaesong was spared by virtue of the fact that, until it was captured by the North Koreans, it had been on the South Korean side of the border - the 38th parallel north- as...

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  • Kwandok Pavilion

    Perched on the side of Mount Janam, about 100 metres walk from the large bronze statue of Kim Il-sung, is Kwandok Pavilion. The original pavilion was constructed in 1780 for archery contests. It was destroyed in 1950 by US bombing in the early days of the Korean War. The existing structure is a 1954 reconstruction. In feudal times, in addition to...

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  • Tongil Street

    Turning your back on the Great Leader is hard to do, but do it you must in this case.The view down Tongil (Reunification) Street is the most photographed in Kaesong and one of the best recognised vistas in North Korea. Everyone tries to get a picture of this four-lane highway, which cuts through the centre of Kaesong, with no vehicles on it and if...

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  • Kim Il-sung watching from on high

    No city in North Korea is complete without its bronze statue of the Great Leader, Kim Il-Sung, placed on the top of a hill for everybody to see. So naturally there is one here in Kaesong on Mount Janam at the end of the grand boulevard that is Tongil Street. Clearly Kim Il-sung did not share the same modesty of his son who banned statues, etc of...

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  • Enjoy your bus trip to Kaesong

    Approximately half our tour group spent the morning of our second day in North Korea running some part of the Pyongyang Marathon. The rest of us watched the start and finish of the run and two soccer matches in the Kim Il-sung Stadium.It was a relief, especially to those who ran, to hear that, rather than a packed afternoon’s sightseeing in...

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Kaesong Restaurants

  • Royal Pansanggi Banquet

    Having been a royal capital for over 500 years, Kaesong has a highly developed cuisine with a presentation style fit for royalty.Our meal at the Kaesonng Folk Custom Hotel was a traditional Royal Pansanggi banquet consisting of numerous dishes each presented in a small metal bowl. While my first picture shows 11 dishes per person, additional dishes...

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  • Pansanggi Restaurant in Kaesong

    Like many other times in the DPRK when we stopped for lunch, the bus just pulled up in from of what looked otherwise like an apartment building. When we trooped inside we found tables set up with a multitude of little brass dishes. Always an odd number apparently. We got 13. At the rear of the room was a mural of Mt Paektu.The style of restaurant...

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  • Chicken Soup Sangettan

    All you can eat, variety choices of local spice and local home food. The most highlight of food was when the chicken soup (Sangettan) was served. Enjoy the soup before you have too many swallow into your stomach. The chicken was boiled with herb medicine for at least 3 to four hours. The chicken was soft as silk, the taste was just like heaven.

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  • Must try item

    Ginseng, Matsutake Mushroom in North Korea worth No.1 in the world. The price may simply goes up 100 times once exported out. Once travel to any part of North Korea, order some food relating to Ginseng, Matsutake Mushroom. Ginseng rice

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  • Crabs

    The Crabs consider is one of the luxuries food here in North Korea, however, the price is about US8-US20 but it depends on weight. The waiter will shows you few crabs, pick up any sizes you want, they will cook for you, either with tomato eggs, sour source, chili peppers, or just boil. You even can order them to serve in raw as sashimi. I order...

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  • Local see local do

    The only restaurant nearby to our hotel where the staffs could speak Chinese language for communication. US dollars is acceptable here in this restaurant and it opens from 9:00am till Mid-night. Such a great convenience to us. Popular Korean Icy Noodle topping with spice Kimchi and slices pork.Side dish was boiled firefly squid and salad.

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Kaesong Nightlife

  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    by Willettsworld Written Sep 7, 2008

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You won't be allowed out of the Kaesong Folk Hotel at night and the only thing really to do is to go to the hotels small bar. They had a TV on in the corner and it seemed to be showing a war film in black and white that looked like it could be from the 1940's or 50's but in fact, when I asked one of our guides, it dated from the 1980's! Bottles of beer and rice wine are available.

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Kaesong Transportation

  • CliffClaven's Profile Photo

    by CliffClaven Written Jun 5, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you are capitalist roader who has got rich by exploiting the downtrodden masses, i.e. a foreign tourist, you'll be driven around North Korea in a comfortable bus or car. If you are a local, you will walk, or if you are lucky or have generous relatives over the border in China you may have a bicycle. And if you are really lucky, your bicycle may even have two wheels and brakes.

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Kaesong Shopping

  • Ginseng and Stamps

    While you are visiting the Koryo Museum there are two shops, one within the museum complex and one just outside of it worthy a look.The museum’s gift shop (picture 1) is located within a small and pretty courtyard within the museum grounds. Get your ginseng fix here. The Kaesong area is renowned for the quality of its ginseng and while this shop...

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  • Korean Movies and CDs

    The Gift shop at the folk hotel had the usual array of souvenirs on offer - celadon pottery, books about the sights of old Kaesong, but the highlights for us were the selection of DVDs of North Korean film, and Korean Music.The music on offer was usually of a military or patriotic nature, full of stirring marches and more reminiscent of Russian...

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  • DPRK stamps and postcards

    I was delighted to find some propaganda posters, and some delightfully incendiary postcards, complete with guns pointing at the evil USA, Japan etc.I was not lucky enough to secure the magnificently incongruous Princess Diana and other British Royal Family stamps. One was tempted to ask - Why?? Not much

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Kaesong Warnings and Dangers

  • Customers are advised NOT to fiddle....

    My room at the folk hotel had traditional Korean 'ondol' underfloor heating. Not so sure about the safety of the wiring!

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  • Be careful, and think a bit...

    Being a foreigner in North Korea is a bit different than travelling to any other country. Having handlers, or people watching you 24-7 (whether you know they're there or not) is a bit weird, but has to be accepted to travel here. If somebody tells you to do something, do it! Or risk getting shot. A stubborn South Korean group-tourist was just shot...

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  • Kaesong Hotels

    0 Hotels in Kaesong

Kaesong What to Pack

  • schwein's Profile Photo

    by schwein Updated Jul 14, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Miscellaneous: -Bring a digital camera, as opposed to film.
    Your handlers like being able to see what you have taken pictures of, and being able to immediatly erase anything they don't like. All my cams are digital, so I had no problems at the border. However, I saw somebody having their film cam confiscated at the border entrance by customs, and held for them along with their cell phone until leaving the country.
    (You can always keep a spare memory card in your pocket, and swap them for taking 'frowned upon' pics, then swap back to let them see nothing but safe pics...Just don't get caught!)

    -Packable waterproof shell, to be carried inside your small waterproof backpack.
    Weather changes abruptly during monsoon season. Sucks to get soaked, or have wet/ruined camera gear.

    -cash, US$ in newer small bills is best.
    I had some of my older bills refused, and many of the smaller shops will tell you to keep buying, instead of giving you change back. Having a wad of loose $1 and $5 bills for buying drinks and snacks on the fly is good.

    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting
    • Road Trip
    • Backpacking

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Kaesong Off The Beaten Path

  • Kaesong Army Camp

    Kaesong Army Camp is near to the Kaesong city main entrance from Pyongyang direction. It Is located side of the Pyongyang-Kaesong highway. So our driver slow down the speed for us to have a clear look of the army camp.

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  • Wild Sakura

    May, the season for Wild Sakura in North Korea. Not just only focus on people, during the journey, sometimes every single scenery pass by can be very breathtaking. Just like this hill area outside the north of Kaesong city, the contras of Sakura Pink and the lawn green was really a beautiful scene. You can ask your drive to stop or a break to enjoy...

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  • Bagging kids

    The are definitely not the baggers, but they will ask food from you. Like ‘give me something to eat…’, or ‘give me some sweets…’, some even may ask ‘give me some banana…’, I don’t know do there have any money changes in the town, however I still prefer to give to the child some money like Chinese RMB.

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Kaesong Favorites

  • Party of school children

    When we were visiting the Tomb of King Kongmin, this party of school children came marching and chanting down the road and stopped at the foot of the hill where the tomb is located. Notice that the boys are in front of the girls when they are lined up.

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  • Taedonggang

    Tasting a bit like lightly fermented shoelaces, it goes down surprisingly nice when it's hot out. North Koreans will give you a curious look as you walk around with it, but they were giving me curious looks before that anyway... At least it's cheap. $1 US for a 640ml bottle. 5%

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  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

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Explore Deeper into Kaesong
Hyonjongrung Royal Tomb (King Kongmin)
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Grand Shopping Mall
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Nandemon Bell Tower
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Tefun Sansong Fort
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Coree Museum
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Senniangsowon Ancient Institute
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Local Villlages
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Sonchokkyo
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The Grand General Hall
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Park Yuan Waterfall
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Local Life
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Local School
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Funny photo at front of Coree Museum
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Songgyungwan Academy - Folk University
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Tongil Street
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Kim Il Sung Statue
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Views of Kaesong from Mt Chanam
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Students and Children's Palace
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Kwandok Pavilion
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Traditional architecture
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Traditional Korean pansanggi
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Kaesong city views
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Railway line
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Tomb of King Kongmin
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Countryside on the way to tomb
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Sonjuk Bridge
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OK but not great
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Pillars to block highway
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Reunification Highway
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Nam Gate
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Rock inscriptions
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Off The Beaten Path
Songkyungwan Academy / Koryo Museum
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Sungyang Hall
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Outdoor stands
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Taehung Mountain Fort - Puk Gate
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Kwaneum Sa (Kwaneum temple)
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Map of Kaesong

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