North Korea is certainly one of the most unique countries I’ve ever visited. With some of the strictest laws on earth being forced upon its citizens this country has been effectively isolated from the modern world for decades. As a result this is probably the one place in the world that has remained independent of western influences and stuck to their own traditions and history. This is a country where most of the natives truly have no idea what the rest of the world is like. In these days there is no other country on earth like it. With the recent death of Kim Jong Il there has certainly a lot of tension in the country and the immediate and long term future is anyone’s guess.
One of the most unique capitals in the world, Pyongyang is a country that has been closed off to the rest of the world for over half a century. Since North Korea has intentionally isolated itself from most nations, a visit to the capital leaves it free of all western influences and has preserved its culture. Pyongyang is probably the only capital city in the world where you’ll not find a McDonalds, or any western movies or music on the streets.
One of North Korea’s most sacred places, Myohyang is a small mountain located in the north western parts of the country. Mt. Myohyang is home to the nationally famous Pohyon Temple which was built in the 11th century. Inside the temple is an ancient Buddhist pagoda, the 7th national treasure of North Korea. The mountain itself has several hiking trails that pass some incredibly beautiful scenery and powerful waterfalls on their way to the top.
An ancient capital of North Korea, Kaesong is a unique place in the country in modern times and is located right across the border of South Korea. Kaesong is about the only place where South Koreans and North Koreans actually meet each other for political and business reasons, but it is not freely open to traffic. The old town section of Kaesong is said to be the best preserved ancient city in both the Koreans.
Nampo is North Korea’s largest seaport and is located on its western shores in the Yellow Sea. Nampo’s biggest icon is the West Sea Barrage, considered one of North Korea’s greatest architectural accomplishments. The West Sea Barrage took half a decade and nearly all of the country’s financial resources. Other interests while stopping in Nampo is visiting the local salt pans or a stay in one of the hot spring resorts.