Koryo Tours Newsletter (June 2009)

Koryo Tours has been in the North Korea tour business for many years.  They have helped expand tourism in the DPRK and made three great documentaries in the country: The Game of Their Lives, A State of Mind, and Crossing the Line

They offer some interesting new information in their June newsletter:

1. Despite the recent nuclear test and missile launches it is still business as usual–and this is for tourist companies as well as for the various European Embassies in Pyongyang. Koryo has tourists going in almost every week and fully expect the Arirang Mass Games (info) to be going ahead from 10th August to the end of September and maybe into October, as previously confirmed. American tourists are welcomed during this time and tours are showing a high level of interest.

2. New tourism attractions:Koryo Tours has just made trips up and down the Taedong river in central Pyongyang available to tourists for the first time.  Several sizes and speeds of vessels are available for short jaunts in the city centre as well as longer cruises to the suburban scenic spot of Mangyongdae. They plan to add these trips to many of their tours.

3. Charity Projects: In addition to Koryo Tour’s long running relationships with the Rotarian Society and Love North Korean Children they have just launched an appeal to raise money for a couple of charitable projects in the DPRK, one to purchase the first ever shipment of Braille dictionaries for blind children, and one to buy playground equipment for orphanages. More details on these projects can be found on their website if you can help then please let them know.

4. Mt. Myohyang named UNESCO site: UNESCO recently awarded the Mt Myohyang area in the DPRK the status of Biosphere Reserve. The area is a sacred site as, according to legend, it was the home of King Tangun, forefather of the Korean people. The scenic mountainous area rises nearly 2,000 metres above sea level. Its spectacular rocks and cliffs provide a habitat for 30 endemic plant species; 16 plant species that are globally threatened and 12 animal species that are also endangered. A wide variety of medicinal herbs also grows in the site.  For tourists, it is well known for the International Friendship Exhibition which is a series of subterranean halls housing the gifts which were given to the 2 leaders by people from all over the world.

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