North Korea’s recently-completed Yangdok Hot springs and ski resort opened its doors to local visitors on Friday, the country’s state media reported.
Reservations can be made through the Pyongyang Koryo International Travel Company, the country’s state-run Korean Central Television (KCTV) said Thursday, with a manager telling the broadcaster that “many guests are signing up” to the stay at the resort.
“Tomorrow on January 10, the stays at the Yangdok Hot Springs and Culture Resort will commence,” Kim Jong Nam, a section head at the Pyongyang Koryo International Travel Company, said.
“For the convenience of the guests who will spend joyful days… at the resort, our travel company is operating reservations and general guide service. We have started the reservations yesterday.”
Thursday’s news bulletin highlighted some of the diverse features at the resort, including indoor and outdoor spas, ski slopes, and a horse-riding course.
Also featured were other leisure facilities such as billiard hall, a screen golf studio, a gym, and machines for mini basketball games.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited the site for a grand opening ceremony in December, hailing it as a victory over difficulties brought by the country’s “enemies” and a significant achievement in speedy construction completed in “less than a year.”
The resort seems to be primarily aiming at domestic guests, although the reservations and general operation appear to be led by an international travel company.
KCTV last night reported on Friday’s weather forecast around the resort area, dedicating a separate section to local “road conditions,” suggesting that the North Korean citizens may be driving to the area.
“The weather will be relatively warm,” it said, while warning that some parts of the road are slippery with some snow on the ground.
Yangdok Ski Resort is located in South Phyongan Province, some 120 kilometers from Pyongyang.
Pyongyang Koryo International Travel Company, which appears to be in charge of the resort’s general operation on the ground, was established in May 2015, according to a website run by North Korea’s state organ, National Tourism Administration.
The company is known to offer tour products to other well-known tourist sites in the country, including the famous Masikryong Ski Resort.
North Korean radio also on Friday said that site began its seasonal operations on Wednesday — Kim Jong Un’s birthday — according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
Although there are no signs yet about the possibility of Yangdok Hot Springs Resort opening up for foreign tourists as well in coming days, North Korea’s externally-focused outlet Meari reported Friday morning about the opening of the resort that day, in an article titled “Welcome, to Yangdok Hot Springs and Culture Resort, the different world of socialist civilization!”
The report referred to Yangdok resort as a “world-class” spa resort, adding that the “people’s attention” on Yangdok resort is “increasing day by day.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham and James Fretwell