“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious” is what Albert Einstein has taught us. This is all so true. What is more exciting than traveling into the mysterious lands of North Korea? Well, that would be my big fat hard earned chance to capture the beautiful landscapes of the ‘hermit kingdom’ and bringing them back to share with everyone. The DPRK has always been the central playground for the media to brand them as insane and evil. It is indeed difficult to find information about this proud and unique nation. In 2014, I took a big step forward and wade deep into the mist of North Korea with my wife. To my amazement, North Korea welcomed me with spectacular views of their nature and landscapes. It was astonishing.
Gorgeous farms spread across the flatlands like a blanket of yellow daisies, amazing views of the sunset high up in the mountain peaks and more, so is great for people wanting to hike for exercise, while they can also train with gym balls at home. One of the best places to relax and take my time to photograph landscapes would definitely be this unique nation. Due to the lack of tourists during the time I went, it was the best choice to photograph landscapes peacefully without having someone walk right in front of my camera and turning me into hulk-like creature, cursing their asses off. North Korea is definitely a heaven for landscape photography for me.
Our guides were extremely helpful and cooperative. They waited for us while we took our sweet time to photography and even offered us to take the ski lift up to the Taehwa Peak to get a better view of the mountains and the sunset. It never occured to me how gorgeous this country could be. The media just doesn’t do their enough in bringing out the best of the DPRK and its people. I hope you enjoy these 20 panoramic landscape photos that I’ve put in so much effort to bring home. Let me know in the comments below, Enjoy.
1. Aerial View of North Korea
This shot was taken on our way back to Beijing. The beautiful green farms across the country is one of the most scenic things to see while airborne. With mountains surrounding the city and a lake in the middle. It shows how gorgeous this country can be. (Read more)
2. Aerial View of Pyongyang Farm
Taken on our way back to Beijing on our last day. We flew pass this beautiful stretch of farm with farmhouses in the distance and it was a beautiful sight. The crops were well organised just like their cities. There weren”t any dead crops from this distance. It looked pretty abundant from here. (Read more)
3. Early Morning Sun
We traveled to many places out of Pyongyang during our 12 day trip. We passed by many farms but this one caught my attention the most due to it”s stunning composition of the morning sun, clouds, distant mountains, mist and the slanted telephone pole. (Read more)
4. Pyongyang Farm
Another farm outside of Pyongyang. The beautiful mountains and clouds go along so well in this scenery I couldn”t resist to snap. What makes this picture even more lovely are the two cyclist riding pass the crops in the distance. Can”t see the two cyclists? Just click on the image to enlarge.
5. A Farmer and his child at Chonsam Cooperative Farm
Not to be mistaken for Chongsan Cooperative Farm near Pyongyang. This farm is in fact situated in Anbyon county, near to Wonsan City. We were enroute to Masikyrong when we pass by and visited this farm to have a look. We visited their farms, kindergartens, nursery and a farmer’s residence. The view was magnificent and the crops were all growing healthily. (Read more)
6. Overhead Bridge Across the Pyongyang Farm
Taken while on our mini bus en route to Wonsan. A concrete bridge is constructed across this farm. Locals ride their bicycles along the bridge overlooking big mountains. It looks like a scene from an old movie. A peaceful and quiet shot of the beautiful landscape.
7. Koryo Museum Entrance
The beautiful pathway that leads to the entrance of the Koryo Museum. Housed in the city’s old Confucian academy, it contains many priceless Koryo arts and cultural relics. Once known as Songgyungwan, it consisted of over 20 buildings within a walled compound. Today 12 main buildings and 6 auxiliary buildings show the typical features of a Confucian educational institution of that period. In addition to being the highest educational institution in Koryo, teaching Confucian doctrine to the children of nobility to become officials in the Koryo government, it also was the center of Confucian rites for noted Confucians. (Read more)
8. Mount Mohyang
Myohyangsan or Mysterious Fragrant Mountain, is a famous vacation spot for the people. It is named after the mystic shapes and fragrances found in the area. It is a sacred site as, according to legend, it was the home of King Tangun, forefather of the Korean people. Besides the beautiful view of the Myohyang mountain, there are other interesting places to visit such as the Pohyon Temple, International Friendship Exhibition and the luxury Hyangsan Hotel. Much of the mountain is covered by mixed broadleaf and coniferous forest and protected in a 16,000 hectares national park. (Read more)
9. View from Mount Mohyang
I climbed up the Mohyangsan with my tour guide. I was carrying my photography gear up the mountain, it was rather difficult for me to get to the peak. I managed to climb up to the little suspension bridge (as you can see from the photo above). This snapshot was the view I saw when I reached the bridge. It was absolutely stunning with all the trees untouched by man. I hope to climb up again some day. (Read more)
10. Sinpyeong Lake
Not to be mistaken with Sinpyeong-dong in South Korea. Sinpyeong Lake in the DPRK has a rest house for travelers on the long road. It”s a pitstop with this beautiful view of the lake and mountain. It was quiet that morning and the scenery was stunning. The rest house also sells snake wine which travelers can try for a couple of Euros.
11. Ullim Waterfalls
Ullim Waterfalls is a popular destination for tourists both local and international alike. A natural wonder and a gorgeous piece of work located in Wonsan. It was discovered by soldiers in 2001 doing some blasting work, it is now a fantastic spot for a picnic.
12. Taehwa Peak at Masikryong
About 20km off of Wonsan City, we come to Masikryong Ski Resort. Here, we were checked into a gorgeous and luxury room. We took the ski lift up to Taehwa Peak which took about 45 minutes to get there. Since it wasn’t winter, we weren’t able to ski there. However, we enjoyed the beautiful sceneries that was offered while we were on the peak. The beautiful sunset welcomed us to this beautiful resort and I never felt like leaving this place ever again. (Read more)
13. Taehwa Peak at Masikryong
Another view of the beautiful sunset at Masikryong. Here you can see the famous Masikryong Ski Resort which was built in only 10 months. The Masikryong (literally, horse-resting pass) project was initiated by the North Korean government as part of a drive to “make people not only possess strong physiques and sound mentality, but also enjoy their sports and cultural lives in a world’s advanced condition.” Average annual temperatures are 10.4 °C (Read more)
14. Sun is setting at Taehwa Peak
Shot taken halfway down the ski lift. The view was so spectacular I couldn”t resist snapping away despite my fingers already frozen from the cold weather. The sun was setting and we had to get down to the hotel to take a bath and get ready for dinner. (Read more)
15. Samji Lake
Samjiyŏn is a district in Ryanggang Province. It takes its name from three lakes in the county, which are known as the Samjiyŏn. The picture above is one of the lakes of Samjiyŏn which is situated near Mount Paektu. (Read more)
16. Climb up to Mount Paektu
The fabled mountain full of legends and stories is a must when visiting the DPRK. After fighting through the cold and strong wind whilst climbing, Mount Paektu rewards you with a spectacular view at it’s peak. Don’t be discouraged by the cold, just take a deep breath and you will not regret what you can see up there.(Read more)
17. Heaven Lake at Mount Paektu
Heaven Lake is a crater lake atop Mount Paektu that borders China and North Korea. It lies within a caldera atop the volcano, a part of the Baekdudaegan mountain range and the Changbai mountain range. In North Korean legend, Kim Jong-il is claimed to have been born near the lake on the mountain. Upon his death, the Korean Central News Agency claimed that the ice on the lake cracked “so loud, it seemed to shake the Heavens and the Earth.” (Read more)
18. Mount Paektu
The sacred mountain of Mounth Paektu. It was a dream come true to see the entire volcanic mountain from far. It was one of the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen in my life. At 2,744 m, it is the highest mountain of the Changbai and Baekdudaegan ranges. It is located in Samjiyon where the weather was extremely cold. There was a small airpot here, so we took a small Air Koryo jet up there and spent a night to see this legendary mountain and the Heaven Lake at it’s peak. (Read more)
19. Pegae Hill at Samjiyon
A camp site of the Korean People’s Army during the Japanese occupation allegedly led by Kim Il-sung. It is believed that Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il was born at this secret camp site. It is situated just below the sacred Mount Paektu, giving it a significant position in Korean history. (Read more)
A morning walk through Samjiyon County. A fantastic exercise after a heavy breakfast. The beauty around the area is just spectacular. You could see some of the locals taking a stroll with their families, some sitting by the side painting the sceneries with their canvas, and also the museum up ahead this road. (Read more)
21. Rimyongsu Falls
Rimyongsu Falls in the county of Samjiyon. About 800 meters from Rimyongsu are the beautiful Rimyongsu Falls. The water comes from underground streams and breaks through the basalt rocks. The falls are 4 meters wide and 6 meters high. In wintertime the falls change into ice pillars, a spectacular view. (Read more)
22. A woman walks through a forest of Autumn Trees
This shot was taken at the Taesongsan Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery. Autumn was near and the trees were beginning to change colour. The woman walks through the passageway by herself through the beautiful greens. (Read more)
23. Aerial view of North Korea city and farm
Unknown city seen from above the plane. The photo captures the contrast between the booming development of the city and the colourful agricultural farm. A photo that shows the true landscapes of the hermit kingdom. (Read more)
24. Aerial view of North Korea mountains and rivers
Taken from the plane on my way back to Beijing. We passed by gorgeous views of the North Korean landscapes. There is a bridge connecting the two mountain regions that is divided by a huge river.(Read more)
25. Aerial view of North Korea mountains early in the morning
What do you do when your flight is very early in the morning? Take photos of the gorgeous landscapes that we pass by en route to Beijing from Pyongyang. The mysterious colour blue and smoke just adds more beauty to this photo. One of my favourites.(Read more)
For more panoramic photos of North Korea, check out my Flickr by clicking here.