Top 10 Things to do in Pyongyang



Pyongyang may not be your typical 'weekend away' destination, but should you find yourself in the North Korean capital there are plenty of attractions and experiences to keep you busy. Since you are not free to travel around independently you will need to plan a schedule in advance for yourself, your guides and driver.

The DMZ. Looking into the South from North Korea


Maybe not surprisingly, the road south from Pyongyang to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea is one of the best in the country. It is well maintained and smooth, ideal for moving large numbers of troops and tanks quickly, if ever there was a need.

Pyongyang. Shopping, Communists and Beer.


Pyongyang is small city, easy to get around, and has very little traffic or pollution. An ideal place to wander the streets, look at local students marching in uniform and very much in step while having a look into the small shops dotted around. Except that you are not allowed to. Each group of tourists had a set of guides/minders and a driver and a set program which is hard to deviate from.

Welcome to North Korea


North Korea. AKA 'The Hermit Kingdom', or more recently 'The land of ICBMs'. An unusual travel destination, and also one becoming increasingly difficult to visit, particularly if you are an American.  I had planned this trip months in advance, but as my departure day got closer the rhetoric between Trump and Kim reached new levels of abuse, with threats thrown from both sides, and there were murmurings of preemptive strikes on the country. I guessed international diplomacy might cool the hot heads, and if not it could be an even more interesting experience.

The abandoned city of Pripyat


When a nuclear accident destroyed much of Power plant number four at Chernobyl, the resulting radioactive cloud spread across much of western Europe, leading to restrictions on milk and farm animal consumption from affected areas, many of which have only been lifted in the last 5 years. Meanwhile, 5 km's from the reactor was a modern city called Pripyat, housing many of the plants workers and families. It remains uninhabitable for 20,000 years.

The Duga. A Secret Soviet Radar Array in the exclusion zone


On the maps of Ukraine in the 1980's it was marked implausibly as a Young Pioneer camp. In reality the Duga, a mass of interwoven pipes, pylons,and wires, was a top secret experimental Soviet radar installation hidden away in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Top 10 Things to do in Kiev


Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, is a mix of Soviet modernist architecture and beautiful medieval buildings. Throw in a city centre dominated by parks, great museums, the Dneiper river flowing through the middle, affordable hotels and cheap and tasty local beer, it has the makings of a great weekend away.