I absolutely fell in love with the inspiring skyline of Pyongyang, North Korea’s proud and patriotic capital city. From the sleeping river, to the forests throughout the city, to the famous Ryugyong Hotel, to the obvious lack of banks and advertising. Here are my personal top 5 places for a view of Pyongyang. For an added bonus, check one of them out at night if you can and you’ll get a good tip on saving energy and electricity. The reason?Pyongyang is one of the world’s darkest cities by night.
The purely epic Pyongyang Skyline viewed from the Revolving Restaurant on the 47th Floor of the Yanggakdo Hotel.
1. The Revolving Restaurant, Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang
“Wow!” is what you will say when you arrive at the Revolving Restaurant on the 47th Floor of the Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang. The views are 360 degrees and offer an exceptionally high vantage point of this city.
The view from the revolving restaurant at the top of the Yanggakdo hotel over Pyongyang’s impressive skyline.
Despite rumours that the restaurant doesn’t really revolve, these rumours are fake. It does revolve. But to save electricity they probably only turn on the revolving bit when there are people in the restaurant. Makes sense and any restaurant wasting electricity might learn a trick or two from this logic.
Pyongyang City from the top of the Yanggakdo’s Revolving Restaurant
There is a bar and we ate at an all you can eat buffet there (the food is average but you’re here for the view right?). You can relax here and gaze down at the skyline. There are windows in the way of course, but if you head down to the 46th floor on the stairs and head out to the balcony for a view without windows.
Enjoying the view of Pyongyang from the Revolving Restaurant at the top of the Yanggakdo Hotel.
2. Juche Tower, Tongdaewon District, Pyongyang
The Juche Tower sits proudly and prominently overlooking the Taedong River. The views beside the river are tremendous and you can go for a walk and stare across at Kim Il Song square.
View of the Taedong River from below the Juche Tower in Pyongyang
Locals play badminton and go cycling here. For 5 Euros you can go to the top of the Juche Tower and get yet another high vantage point over the entire city.
The riverside Juche Tower in Pyongyang offers good views from the top and from the bottom
3. Grand People’s Study House, Central District, Pyongyang
It came as a surprise that the Grand People’s Study House offers a decent vantage point. After your tour of the study house, which is the most elaborate and unusual library you will likely ever visit, you get rewarded with an awesome view down over Kim Il Song Square. Even better when we went, we basked in the North Korean sunshine.
4. Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery, Taesong District, Pyongyang
It’s also great to get out of the city and see what the skyline looks from afar. Smoke, smog and cloud can be a problem in Pyongyang (as it is in China), but the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery allows you to check out the skyline, led by the famous Ryugyong Hotel’s pyramidical feel.
Checking out the view of the distant city of Pyongyang from the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery on the north east of the city.
5. Kim Il Sung Square, Central District, Pyongyang
A top 5 places for a view of Pyongyang can’t ignore the obvious central square, known as Kim Il Sung Square. Pay respect to the Great Leader, admire the architecture and watch the traffic go by.
A panoramic view of Kim Il Song Square in Pyongyang, just before sunset.
It’s not just the 360 degree views all round at the typically communist grand buildings.
You can walk down by the riverside and see Pyongyang on the other side of the Taedong River as well which includes the Juche Tower. The square itself is a scene of many an army parade. If you can ask your guides if you can walk there and have a walk around. Pyongyang is a truly relaxing place; kids fly by on rollerblades, daytime city workers cycle home and locals enjoy the peaceful air.
The view looking down to the Juche Tower and Taedong River from Kim Il Song Square, Pyongyang, North Korea.
I’m sure there are those of you reading who will say “but you left out the view from…” and “you left out this place for a great view” and maybe I did. But travel in North Korea is with a guide and is slightly more limited and so these were thew top 5 places for a view of Pyongyang that we saw.
The Juche Tower and Taedong River from the Yanggakdo Hotel
I left out the Hotel Room View, so here is the view from our bedroom on the 24th Floor of the Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang.
Pyongyang at night from our hotel room.
View from the top of the People’s Grand Study Centre:
View from Kim Il Sung Square:
View from The Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery:
Jonny Blair is a self confessed traveling nomad who founded and blogs at Don’t Stop Living. He sees every day as an adventure. Since leaving behind his home town of Bangor in Northern Ireland ten years ago he has traveled to all seven continents, working his way through various jobs and funding it all with hard work and an appetite for travel. Don’t Stop Living, a lifestyle of travel’ contains over 1,000 stories and tips from his journeys round the globe. He wants to show others how easy it is to travel the world, give them some ideas and encourage them to do the same but most of all he aims to constantly live a lifestyle of travel. He is currently based in Hong Kong and on Twitter @jonnyblair.