Koryo Museum and the Road to Dandong

Koryo Museum Entrance

Before returning to Pyongyang we visited the Koryo Museum in Kaesong. This museum houses many relics from the Koryo period. At that time Kaesong was the capital of Korea (the whole peninsula).

A local guide showed us around, with our main tour guides translating for us. A highlight for me was the ginseng. She told us how this plant could cure everything from cancer to radiation poisoning. Apparently, after Chernobyl, some of the victims came to North Korea and ate ginseng. After this their radiation sickness went away.

Another interesting titbit is that women slaves were worth more than male slaves in ancient Korea. The obvious reason is that female slaves can give birth to more slaves, making them more useful in the long-term.

Near the end of the museum tour there is a reconstruction of an ancient Korean tomb you can wander around. For authenticity you have to use a torch to see any detail.

On the way out is another gift shop. Here I ended up buying a bunch of postcards with anti-American slogans on them. I’m not one for shopping so while the rest of our group browsed the wares I sat watching a Korean film that was playing. It was an old black-and-white North Korean kung-fu film with English subtitles. It was surprising to see how good some of the fight choreography was.

We all left and made our way through the North Korean countryside back to Pyongyang. On the road we local kids who wanted to wave as we went past chased after us.

When we got back to Pyongyang we stopped at the Arch of Reunification. This monument consists of two Korean ladies leaning across the road and joining hands in the middle. They built it to celebrate the future reunification of Korea.

Reunification Monument
Reunification Monument

We spent our last night in North Korea at the UN Club celebrating Germany’s victory in the world cup. We managed to get excessively drunk. This resulted in us being rather hung over on the train back to Dandong the next morning.

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