North Korea

North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) shares borders with China, the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the demilitarised zone (separating it from the Republic of Korea).

North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, was completely rebuilt after the Korean War as a city of wide avenues, neatly designed parks and enormous marble public buildings. The Palace of Culture, the Grand Theatre, the Juche Tower and the Ongrui Restaurant epitomise the Korean variant of Communist architecture. The Gates of Pyongyang and the Arch of Triumph (built in honour of Kim Il-Sung's 70th birthday) are particularly impressive. Many ancient buildings in Kaesong (six hours from the capital by train) bear witness to Korea's 500-year-old imperial history. The town is surrounded by beautiful pine-clad hills.

Kumgangsan is the country's largest national park, consisting of a range of mountains (known as 'the Diamond Mountains') along the east coast of the country.Note that only travel companies officially recognised by the North Korean Authorities are permitted to bring groups of tourists to Korea (Dem Rep). Independent tourism is not permitted, and foreigners must be accompanied by a guide at all times.

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