Wednesday, 15 April 2015

2015 Travel Update I–Preview




As I have done for the previous three years’ big trips, I intended to send regular updates of my journeyings around China and North Korea this Spring. However, just a little research on the internet has thrown up a few issues with this. North Korea I’d always known to be pretty much the only internet-less state on the globe and so I had anticipated not sending any updates from there, but what I had not foreseen  was that in the decade or so since my last visit, China has banned most of the internet sites that I use most, including the one that hosts this blog and my old friend Facebook. So, without them on hand, how can I update this blog?

What I have worked out is a partial solution. A friend of mine with an amazing technical knowhow with regards to the world of computers has agreed to update my blog for me with me sending him emails which he shall cut and paste. This will let you all know how I’m getting on in the Red East but the downsize is that, due to size limitations on emails, there’ll be few images. Therefore, I’m sending this first “update” whilst I’m still in the UK which will outline my itinerary and is loaded with images garnered from the web of the places that I hope to get to.

My trips starts on Friday when I fly from Manchester to Amerstdam and thence Beijing. I’ve been to the Chinese capital before on my 2002 trip across Asia with the Lowlander, but for those unsure, here’s a picture of Beijing’s most famous spot, Tiananmen Square.


I saw a lot of the most famous sights on my previous visit but I’ve still got the Summer Palace and Mao’s Mauseleum to check out amongst others.

Then from Beijing it’s a monster train journey east to the small city of Tumen in the far north east on the border with North Korea.


It doesn’t look far on the map above, but it is around 1,500km! By the way, Tumen is located at the spot where China, North Korea and Russia all converge.

The next day we’ll be crossing from Tumen over into North Korea itself. Here’s the bridge:


And then it’s the delights of the world’s most secretive state which will include:

photo-4A statue of Kim Jong-Il’s mum at her birthplace

nampo-kindergarten-dance-1A visit to a kindergarten

7030058047_7960fd86a8_zThe city of Chongjin, North Korea’s third-largest

inner_chilboHiking on the Chilbo Mountain

6326817756_b4ed403c06A Buddhist temple (in a country with no religion!)

9412332606_ec3b52fef6_bA homestay with a local family

MM00225813HUGE statues of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il

tumblr_mu7qnpw2O61skui9mo1_1280A visit to a local middle school

wangjaesan-grand-monumentand finally the famous Wangkaeson Grand Monument!

So, not your average itinerary, and for more details, see this link to Young Pioneer Tours who I’m travelling with.


After returning to China, my route and plans are not fixed but I do hope to visit Mt. Paektu, a holy mountain on the border between North Korea and China. Here’s why:


And so that’s it, please keep checking back and (hopefully) there’ll be lots here to whet your interest!

Keep travelling!

Uncle Travelling Matt

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