The Pyongyang Metro

North Koreans are proud of their metro. And so they should be. It’s one of the deepest, it’s breathtakingly gorgeous, and we were only allowed to ride one stop. (Although I’ve heard tourists can now ride the entire length.)

Here are some pages from a great 2004 picture-book I bought in the metro, bluntly titled The Pyongyang Metro.

A heart-warming story about the opening of the Pyongyang metro:

The famous escalators, with North Korean children gazing at their mothers in adoration.

The saucy metro controllers:

Mmmmm. Love those retro low-tech consoles! And, to end on a high note, here’s a classic North Korean knee-slapper…

The children in these images reminded me of the North Korean movie A Traffic Controller at the Crossroads, which I’ve written of before. Watch the passerby during this scene…

What is with North Korea and the 7-year-old children and twins? It’s really endearing, though…

4 thoughts on “The Pyongyang Metro”

  1. I love your blog, I have lived in Asia for so long and the stuff you come up with is still thrilling. Keep it up. I wish I had people to go to North Korea with, it’s a right old hoot.

  2. How did you get into North Korea? I thought they isolated themselves from everyone but China, and only a few foreigners were allowed to visit the country. Also, did you get any weird reactions from North Koreans due to your ethnicity…

    1. It’s actually pretty easy to get in these days, contrary to the media’s claims. will get you in for a hefty fee, and a bunch of other tour groups are now starting to join them… the DPRK is desperate for foreign dollars, and tourism is one of the ways they get them. People on the street, or at Kim Il Song’s preserved body, would often do double-takes when they saw a small group of tall white people, but at other times the reaction was nonchalant enough (for example, on the subway) that it seemed as if they’d been prepped for our appearance. (Other tourists insist that they’re actors, posing as passerby.) The only *real* people we met and engaged with were in the hotels, south Korean businessmen who seemed up to really shady transactions (who we met either en-route to the hotel’s basement whorehouse or in the hotel basement’s gambling den.) A remarkable trip, though!

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