Tourists will be given an unprecedented full tour of Pyongyang’s metro system in April 2014, a German travel company announced on Thursday.
Announcing the new tour on their website, Pyongyang-Travel is giving tourists the opportunity to travel the entire network of Pyongyang’s metro, allowing them to get off at each station to take photographs.
The tours will take place in the evening, the website says, meaning “we will have the whole metro system just for ourselves”.
Director of Pyongyang-Travel.com Christoph Stephan told NK News that his company had been asking contacts in North Korea for a tour of the metro for a while: “We always said to them: ‘we want to do this’… and finally they confirmed to us that the tour will be running”.
Tourists will be allowed “about 10 to 15 minutes” at each station Stephan said, “they will be able to go out and take pictures, and that’s it, look at the station and the platform. They won’t be able to go outside on each platform, that’s not possible, but at least pictures and having a look.”
Stephan says the tour will be particularly interesting for public transport enthusiasts, as well as for Germans who remember seeing the metro trains in their own country: “It’s actually very nice to see them still running and in operation, because they’re really antique. There are actually two types of trains in Pyongyang – one from East Germany and one from West Germany, imported by North Korea in the late 1990s”.
The tour will take place from April 3 to April 10, and as well as covering the full metro, will allow tourists to visit Kaesong and Panmunjon and have the opportunity to fly in one of “Air Koryo’s antique Soviet aircrafts (like IL-18, AN-24, Tu-154B or IL62M)”.
The Pyongyang metro has a reputation for secrecy – for a long time tourists were only permitted to ride between two stops, leading some to speculate that the metro was much smaller than maps portrayed.
Since 2012 tourists have been able to visit an extended number of stations, normally between two and six depending on the tour.
The metro operates two lines: the Chŏllima, which runs north to south, and the Hyŏksin line, which runs east to west. It can also serve as a bomb shelter in event of war.
East Germans nostalgic of their former communist system often travel to North Korea to experience a contemporary socialist system.
Photo: Eric Lafforgue
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