DPRK Business Monthly Volume IV, No.3

The DPRK Business Monthly, an international business report edited in Beijing, has been made available to CanKor readers by its editor, Paul White. Please check the  current April 2013 edition here: DPRK Business Monthly Volume IV, No.3

Josh Thomas and Ms Yu, one of the North Korean guides, enjoy draft beers at the bar of the Yanggakdo Hotel Microbrewery. (Photo by Joseph A Ferris III)

Josh Thomas and Ms Yu, one of the North Korean guides, enjoy draft beers at the bar of the Yanggakdo Hotel Microbrewery. (Photo by Joseph A Ferris III)

Titles of articles found in this issue include:

  • The Travails of a Beer Joint Venture
  • North Korea’s Surprising Microbrewery Culture Explored
  • NK Ups Chinese Fertilizer Imports
  • North Korea Accepts ShelterBox Disaster Relief Equipment
  • Medical Aid from ROK Enters North
  • Pyongyang Gets First Artisan Coffee Shop
  • 3G Now Covers Two Million in NK
  • Science Reporter Probes NK Fight against Multidrug-resistant TB
  • Tanchon to Become New Industry-Export Center
  • Kaesong Sets Up Light Industry College
  • Koryo Tours guide to mobile & Internet services in the DPRK

…plus a number of other items, including a selection of North Korean tours by various tour operators.

Comment by the Business Monthly Editor:

It’s been a bad month for business in the DPRK, but the ROK might be the biggest sufferer from all the saber-rattling on and around the peninsula. Read the rest of this entry »

DPRK Business Monthly Volume IV, No.2

The DPRK Business Monthly, an international business report edited in Beijing, has been made available to CanKor readers by its editor, Paul White. Please check the  current March 2013 edition here: DPRK Business Monthly Volume IV, No.2

Rural DPRK community with Red Cross kits (Photo by IFRC)

Rural DPRK community with Red Cross kits (Photo by IFRC)

Titles of articles found in this issue include:

  • P’yang Sues Taiwan Over Nuclear Waste Disposal Deal
  • NK Seafood Exports Thriving
  • China’s First Offshore Processing Pact Inked with NK
  • NGO Initiatives: International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • Handicap International is looking for a consultant to work with deaf people in the DPRK
  • ROK Green Light for TB Work Aid to North
  • New Reunification Group Formed in ROK
  • New Tax Rules for Mount Kumgang Tourism Zone
  • High-Tech Way Forward for NK Agriculture
  • North Korean scientists publish record number of research papers in international journals
  • China to Upgrade Rail Links to Rason
  • Koryo tours guide to mobile & Internet services in the DPRK

…plus a number of other items, including a selection of North Korean tours by various tour operators. Read the rest of this entry »

First Foreigners to visit the top of Ryugyong Hotel – Pictures

[CanKor Brain Trust member Hannah Barraclough sent us this Special Report about her visit to the spectacular pyramid-shaped Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, which has now been covered in glass, with the insides being gradually worked on, starting at the bottom floors. The photos are quite spectacular. –CanKor]

Ryugyong Hotel Special Report

Koryo Tours Special Report – We’ve been up the Ryugyong!

On Sept 23rd Koryo Tours’ staff were taken to the top of the enigmatic and oddly iconic 105 storey Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang – we were the first foreigners allowed to take pictures there and are able to print a handful of shots of the ground floor and the open air viewing platform more than 300 metres up.

The view was incredible and breathtaking indeed! The inside of the building still has substantial work to be done but the structure of the lobby and dining area and conference room (all on the ground floor) were visible, sources at the site suggest 2 or 3 more years until projected completion at which time hotel rooms, office space, and long term rentals will be available.

Until then the memories of a view over Pyongyang that many have imagined but few have experienced remain with us. As soon as the building can be occupied we will of course offer tours staying there – stay tuned for further info that we’ll beam from the top of the tower! Read the rest of this entry »

Final Arirang mass games performance to be held end of September

[The following post has been made available by Koryo Tours. –CanKor]

Mass Games – the end of Arirang has come

Koryo Tours is sad to announce that the Arirang Mass Games are about to come to an end. The final performance is expected to be on 27th or 29th September 2012. We are informed by our colleagues in Pyongyang that the event is now finished and will not be extended. The Arirang Mass Games started in 2002 and became an annual event in 2007, every year since then it has been extended and has run into October which we, and our partners in the DPRK, expected to happen again this year. However it was not to be. Sorry for anyone who didn’t make it to the performance.

Arirang Festival mass games display in Pyongyang.

Arirang Festival mass games display in Pyongyang. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is not completely beyond possibility that an extension may be announced still though, this has happened before after all. If, by some miracle, the Arirang Mass Games are extended and new dates added we will of course let you know immediately

Next year, 2013, marks the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. This is seen in North Korea as a historic victory and we would expect it to be marked as such so there is a possibility that a new form of Mass Games will be staged to mark this event. This far we have no more news about this but as always we will keep everyone on our mailing list informed and up to date as soon as there is any information to be told. Koryo Tours as always will get you the best access to whatever special events are going on in North Korea when you make your trip and we look forward to seeing what they can come up with the replace the Arirang event. While this particular event seems to have run its course we do expect the Mass Games form to carry on and await whatever version comes next, watch this space!

Kind regards from all at Koryo Tours

The Day of the Shining Star by Hannah Barraclough

[CanKor Brain Trust member Hannah Barraclough describes her most recent visit to Pyongyang during celebrations of Kim Jong Il’s birthday, 16 February 2012. –CanKor]

Kimjongilia Exhibition (photo: Koryo Tours)

Nick and I visited the DPRK with a group of 30 to be in Pyongyang for the celebrations of the birthday of Kim Jong Il on February 16th which has now been given an official name – The Day of the Shining Star (Kwangmyongsong Chol). Kim Il Sung’s birthday on the 15th April has been known as the Day of the Sun since he passed away. The atmosphere in Pyongyang over the birthday period was not celebratory nor particularly sad, just rather flat. On the 16th itself we visited the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery where we passed thousands and thousands of members of the public carrying the pink and red plastic flowers (both flowers connected by a length of loose wiring no doubt to help them in the display) around Kumsusan Memorial Palace. It turned out this was for a military parade which was broadcast later that day on tv. (See: North Korea holds big parade on anniversary of dead leader’s birth.) Read the rest of this entry »

New Travel Opportunity in North Korea!

[DISCLAIMER: CanKor is not responsible for the content of this advertisement. Weingartner Consulting is not a commercial partner of Koryo Tours, nor do we receive any financial benefit from posting this announcement. We do so only to alert our readers of interesting opportunities, since one of the most frequently asked questions concerns the possibility of travel to the DPRK. –CanKor]

New Travel Opportunity in North Korea!

Unique and exciting chance in travel to the most unique areas in the country – Let the adventure begin!

Koryo Tours is proud to once again be the first and only company to offer an all-new tourism opportunity for anyone wanting to go and see some of the more remote parts of North Korea. – allow us to explain;

We have been running tours to the Rason Special Economic Area for several years now; this part of the DPRK is located in the far North on the Chinese and Russian border and offers a look at the least visited part of the world’s most unique country – and the only place in North Korea where tourists can visit a local market, local bank, and many other unique spots. Lying to the south of Rason the major industrial centre of Chongjin and the stunning mountains of the Chilbosan range have long been among the most difficult parts of the DPRK to get to due to the need to charter a plane from Pyongyang to reach this area – here you can overnight in the only homestay in the country as well as seeing the highlights of the second largest city in the DPRK and some of the most stunning scenery in Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

Nick Bonner: The Englishman welcomed in North Korea

[CanKor Brain Trust member Nick Bonner was featured in a Yonhap News Agency article written by Andrew Salmon and published on 23 November 2011. Congratulations, Nick! –CanKor]

Bonner with Hong Yong-hui, the star of the film "Flower Girl," at the Pyongyang International Film Festival 2008. (Courtesy of Nick Bonner)

When it comes to jobs that raise eyebrows, Nick Bonner’s line of work is up there with crocodile wrestler and organ procurer. As the founder and director of Koryo Tours, the 50-year-old Englishman makes a living guiding tourists into the world’s most isolated state — North Korea.

“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it and if I didn’t love the people,” he said. “If I wanted the easy option, I would be doing tours to Hawaii.”

Bonner’s life path was not paved in advance. Having studied landscape architecture in the U.K., he planned to be a countryside ranger. But a visit to Beijing in 1993 at the invitation of his friend Josh Green, leading to a friendship with a North Korean, changed his future.

“We played (football) with him and became mates, and he was going back to North Korea to work for the tourism board,” Bonner recalls. “He said, ‘We need Western tourists. Do you want to come?'”

Green and Bonner gathered a group of eight pals and entered the Hermit Kingdom.  “It was an eye-opener,” said Bonner, who was drawn to both Pyongyang’s cityscape and its inhabitants. (The latter is something visitors to the North often remark upon — the unsophisticated, old-fashioned charm of the populace.)

Sensing opportunity, Green and Bonner founded Beijing-based Koryo Tours that year. Although their Pyongyang contact greased bureaucratic skids, business was slow, so Green and Bonner decided to open “Poachers,” Beijing’s first live music nightclub. Green then departed, leaving Bonner as the sole operator of Koryo. Read the rest of this entry »

Heavy Metal Tour of North Korea

For the past two decades, Koryo Tours has been opening North Korea to tourism, and in 2012 they are once again breaking new ground. After working closely with their Korean partners, they are proud to offer both group and independent tourists the chance to go where no visitor has ever been, namely factories and similar sites around Nampo, the west coast port city not far from Pyongyang.  Here’s a brief introduction to what is offered:

Tae'an Glass Factory

Chollima Steelworks – A major heavy industry site for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), this place was built by the Japanese and is known to Koreans as the birthplace of the Chollima movement, which even today drives the country. If you’ve always wanted to witness the making of ‘Juche Steel’ in a giant facility, come to Nampo with Koryo Tours. This is the DPRK’s most famous factory, and as always, Koryo Tours are the first company to be allowed to take tourists inside.

But Koryo has its own Chollima connection; they can tell you about the art project they arranged at the steelworks as well as the scenes they shot there for their new feature film!

Tae’an Heavy Machine Tool Complex– This enormous complex boasts a number of hangar-sized buildings; you will see the vast range of machine tools, lathes and so on that the workers use to make shaped steel, turbine components, and other products. Read the rest of this entry »

Last Chance to join Political Tour to DPRK

Political Tours joined forces with DPRK tourism specialists Koryo Tours (which includes Brain Trust member Nick Bonner) to provide unprecedented access to one of the world’s most isolated regions. Offering participants a wide-ranging look at life inside the DPRK, this 10-day visit is led by Dr James Hoare, formerly UK Charge D’affaires in Pyongyang. Brain Trust member Hazel Smith has been involved in briefing UK-based participants the current tour.

Beginning in Beijing with briefings and analysis from the region’s leading experts on the DPRK, the tour aims to provide both the latest analysis on the region and an inside view of life in the country, including visits to areas that are rarely seen by foreigners. The itinerary includes not merely the capital Pyongyang, but also Wonsan, an important port on the east coast, Hamhung, the DPRK’s second largest city which was closed to foreign tourism until 2010, and a close look from within the northern side of the DMZ. Travelers will gain rare access to factories, a university, a farm, and several schools. Not to be missed is the train ride from Pyongyang back to Beijing!

The dates are 15-26 October 2011, so any readers wishing to join must begin to obtain visas immediately. The cost is £2350.00, which includes accommodation in 4 star hotels in Beijing and 3 star hotels in the DPRK, as well as all meals during the visit. 

For more information, please contact Political Tours.

The following is a detailed description of the in-country itinerary: Read the rest of this entry »

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