10 October 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK). Despite all the excitement going around and leading up to the big day, still much of its information and details were shrouded in mystery. This includes the schedule of the parade and the location of where tourists could stand to view the event. On the day itself, we spent almost half a day standing around waiting for instructions. As buses and buses of tourists make their way to our location, it gave us the impression that we were standing in the right spot. In fact, after a while we noticed that everyone were in the wrong spot and not even our guides knew which path and where the parade was going to flow through. After hours of standing around and talking to strangers, everyone suddenly made a move over the Juche Tower Street to the crossroad overlooking the new apartments. That’s when we had the first glance of the parade’s ‘leftovers’ that tourists were allowed to see. There were also a large group of locals that gathered with us to wait for the parade.

We were told that tourists were not allowed to see the parade at Kim Il-Sung Square but we would be able to see other celebrations that would be held around the city. Despite all the notion, that didn’t stop me and my wife Fann from getting our trip planned out and heading there without a second thought. The actual day was celebrated with a massive military parade overseen by Marshall Kim Jong Un. Since we weren’t able to see the actual parade even though we were just a Taedong River away, still it was rather exciting to be in Pyongyang while it happened. The atmosphere was there, all the locals were happy and there was even a traffic jam in Pyongyang which delayed our dinner quite a bit.

Hints of the WPK anniversary were hard to avoid. Posters, decorations, flags of the event and party were seen almost everywhere you turn. It was indeed a special time to visit the DPRK. Performances were themed to fit the celebrations, Mass dances were everywhere, everyone wore beautiful traditional clothes, tons of foreign media toured the city, and best of all everyone was in a good mood. We even met quite some interesting people during this time around. We met with professors of famous universities from all around the world, we met some international VIPs that were invited to the parade, we talked to a couple of people from the media and Fann was even interviewed by Channel News Asia Singapore one morning (cick here to view). Apparently, the crew stayed in the same hotel as us. They overheard us talking and wanted to do an interview about us because we were from Malaysia.

Since there are lots of photos of the awesome parade all around the internet, I’ll show you the celebration from a humble tourist’s perspective. Here are a selection of photos before, after and during the anniversary celebration. Enjoy!

Workers' Party Flag across Pyongyang

Rows of the party’s flags erected across the city

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Decoration in Yanggakdo Hotel

Floral display of the WPK logo at the entrance of the Yanggakdo Hotel

Workers' Party Flag across Pyongyang

WPK flags can been seen almost everywhere around Pyongyang

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Decoration

An adorable display located in the center amongst the apartment blocks

Locals getting ready for the 70th Anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Students walk pass the Monument to Party Founding holding their placards for the parade

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Decoration

70th Anniversary symbol

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Decoration

Children cleaning up the sidewalk below a sign of the Worker’s Party

Workers' Party Flag across Pyongyang

Worker’s Party flags seen along the sidewalk of this building

Fann looks at North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade and Flag

Fann looks at North Korean flag

Schoolchildren practising for the 70th Anniversary Workers' Party Parade

Schoolchildren practising for the anniversary parade

Flower Exhibition for the 70th Anniversary of Workers' Party

Gigantic centerpiece with the symbol of the Worker’s Party of Korea made up of Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia flowers

Flower Exhibition for the 70th Anniversary of Workers' Party

Exhibition piece by the construction and development company for the DPRK

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Decoration at Gold Lane Bowling

Even the bowling alley reminds you of the 70th anniversary

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Performance

Beautiful anniversary themed performance by the Pyongyang Circus

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

University students leaving after the mass dance performance

North Korean Flags across Pyongyang

Flags are everywhere

Locals getting ready for the 70th Anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Locals all dressed up in traditional clothes walking pass the Monument to Party Founding

Policeman in Pyongyang during 70th Anniversary Workers' Party

A policeman stands guard in the middle of the Juche Tower street

Tourists eagerly waiting for the parade

Lots of tourists gather to try and grab a glimpse of the massive parade

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Fighter jets makes a WPK logo formation which marks the start of the parade

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

World war 2 planes forms a “70” while airborne, marking the anniversary

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Awesome display of the jets with coloured smoke

Locals waiting eagerly for the parade

Locals stand all around the street waiting patiently for the parade to pass by

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Locals gather by the roadside awaiting the parade

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

A group of parade participants passes by as a guard watches over

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Military trucks passes by behind the participants

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Retro motorcycles with sidecar (Reminds me of the classic Batcycle)

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Tanks, tanks and more tanks

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Humvees with WPK flags

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Soldiers in a truck like peas in a pod

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Locals standing in a row welcoming the parade

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

More tanks passing by in front of Pyongyang City skyline

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Soldiers holding flowers on top of the tank

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

Looks like something that flies? Maybe a winged missle?

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Parade

The guard that stood the whole night to protect us from being crushed by tanks

Unleashing Balloons during the Workers' Party Parade

Balloons flies into the sky into the setting sun

Watching the parade at Hotel Restaurant with Marshall Kim Jong Un

Enjoying the parade in the restaurant. Look! It’s Kim Jong Un!

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Fireworks

Fireworks display during the WPK celebration

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Fireworks

Fireworks display during the WPK celebration

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Fireworks

Fireworks display during the WPK celebration

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Fireworks

Fireworks display during the WPK celebration

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Fireworks

Fireworks display during the WPK celebration

North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party Fireworks

Fireworks display during the WPK celebration

Policemen at North Korea's 70th anniversary of Workers' Party

A guard stands in front of a group of flags by the crossroad

This was my 2nd time back to the hermit kingdom. People are curious as to why I would return to this country. It’s fair to say that I went back again because I wanted to capture more beautiful photos of their city. Pyongyang is a unique city. The streets are well organised, the architecture is unique and surreal, the people are beautiful and friendly, there are no advertising billboards, the feeling of going back in time is extremely exhilarating, and best of all the city is just too freaking gorgeous.

Unfortunately, not all were good during the celebration as a tourist at least. Many important sights were closed to the public, especially my favourite Juche Tower and the Grand People’s Study House. It affected our itinerary and was rather difficult to tour around the city. Despite the massive and last minute changes made to my custom itinerary, there were many beautiful memories to keep. I sure did miss out a lot of photo opportunities due to miscommunication and the mishandling of my trip, but still I try to stay positive. For those who are interested with my North Korea experiences and photos, just drop me a comment below or email. I will be posting up more photos from my trip. You can also check out my Flickr, Facebook and Instagram. I’ll be glad to fill you in with my experiences and stories I learnt while traveling in the mysterious lands of North Korea.

For more WPK’s 70th Anniversary photos click here

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