Visit Nampo City
Too often, ‘North Korea’ gets reduced to its capital and #1 tourist destination, Pyongyang – and it’s not hard to see why. The DPRK’s most iconic landmarks and tourist attractions, from Mansudae Grand Monument to Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, can all be found in the country’s capital.
Tours to North Korea quite often don’t even leave its biggest city.
This is not to say that there’s nothing to see outside of Pyongyang. North Korea is, for such a relatively small country, a diverse one full of various sights and visually and culturally distinct cities. Here is why you should visit Nampo.
Nampo is not far from Pyongyang, and is thus easy to incorporate into any tour visiting the capital. Around 50 kilometres away from Pyongyang, it’s easily reached via car or bus within an hour.
5. Chongsan Cooperative Farm
This is a frequent stop for tourists visiting from nearby Pyongyang. Visitors here have the chance to see how the DPRK’s collective farming policies are implemented, and even talk with local farmers about their methods and experiences!
4. Hit the beaches
In Nampo foreigners can relax at the beach and mingle freely with the locals. This is only possible in Nampo and Wonsan on the East coast. We prefer Nampo simply because there is no segregation of Koreans and foreigners. You can have a BBQ, sing karaoke and play games all day on the beach!
3. The Kangso Mausoleums
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these 7 th -century Koryo-era mausoleums boast spectacular painted murals and striking interior architecture. Visit these mausoleums at Sammyo-ri and see the four sacred animals immortalized in the murals – the turtle, the blue dragon, the phoenix, and the white tiger.
2. The Chollima Steelworks
‘Chollima’ is a Korean legend – a sort of Pegasus renowned for its speed that has become particularly popular in the North as a socialist rallying cry for improving production quotas in the name of the people.
It’s not uncommon, in fact, to hear North Koreans talking about doing something at ‘Chollima speed’. The Chollima Steelworks, named with this in mind, is an example of this rhetoric in practice. This imposing complex features rail access, sweeping boulevards and fascinating examples of socialist industrial architecture. Visitors can even see an electric arc furnace in use when touring the Steelworks!
1. The West Sea Barrage
Nampho’s most iconic sight and a testament to the ingenuity and diligence of the North Korean construction worker, the West Sea Barrage is a marvel of engineering that protects the North’s chief waterway, the Taedonggang River, from flooding. North Koreans are hugely proud of the dominating barrage that holds the West Sea back from its maritime arteries.
A visit to Nampo is synonymous with a visit to the West Sea Barrage, so get your cameras ready!
It wasn’t particularly easy to narrow this list down to five, and there are, of course, a number of other things to do in this important coastal city – the Ryonggang Hot Spa, the Nampo Orphanage, North Korea’s only golf course and the Kangso Bottling Factory all failed to make the cut – but whatever you end up doing when visiting Nampo, there’s no doubt that you’ll be spoilt for choice!