VT member scilist from Paris piqued my interest in visiting the 5th floor of the Yanggakdo Hotel. He called it scary. What could be so scary in a hotel?
My first night in Pyongyang, I asked my guides if they knew what was on the 5th floor but they said they didn't. Later that evening I took the elevator to the 6th floor and sneaked around to the stairway and descended to the 5th floor.
I SO MUCH want to tell you about it, but I don't want to spoil the surprise here. I SO MUCH want to post some photos, but I don't want to ruin it for you. You'll have to see it for yourself.
I think my 3 or 4 minutes on the 5th floor were possibly the scariest of my life.
My recommendation is you must absolutely go see it. But be very quiet--don't go after you've had a few drinks in the bar. And wait until your last night in Pyongyang. If you're going to get thrown out of the country, do it on the last night of your stay.
The thing is: you must travel with agency, so whole trip is prearranged and well planed. Your guides/guards will be watching you all the time and "please" you wherever you'll go. BUT, you can't visit things/sights that are not in plan (almost never).
The only thing we did is that we walk around city among locals with guides but without cameras. On the way to bus, we tried local ice-cream (guide bought for us because you can't have N.Korean money) and that was unusual experience too.
So, no photos here. That's how you can have off the beaten path in Pyongyang.
If there is one, you won't get within half a mile of it and it'll be crawling with soldiers anyway. You do get the distinct impression that there's a lot you don't get to see. Our minibus driver seemed to accelerate past anything we were not intended to see. Huge formations of goose-stepping soldiers, children practising for some massive display, every one of them covered in make-up with very red lips etc. If you asked the guide about these things, he'd pretend he hadn't seen them and simply shrugged. The picture is the statue to the workers party at the base of the Juche Tower - it's a fairly substantial monument - but they all are. The three figures hold aloft a pen, a sickle and a hammer - intellectuals, workers and peasants untited in the adoration of Kim Il Sung - naturally.