Countries / Regions


Viewer's Corner

Publish your story on - Personal experiences, opinions, articles, or any information related to Asia.  More Info...


Asianinfo Photo Gallery
Photos of Asia now available for purchase 

FREE Photos available!

IMG_0122 copy.JPG (69431 bytes)




Hong Kong







Back to North Korea
Travel to DPRK


Koryo Hotel

The Koryo Hotel is the second largest operating hotel in North Korea. The twin-towered building is 143 metres (469 ft) tall and contains 43 stories. Erected in 1985 under the close scrutiny of Kim Il-sung, it was intended to "showcase the glory and strength of the DPRK." The hotel's extravagance is exemplified by its entryway, which consists of a 9-metre (30 ft) wide jade dragon's mouth that leads into an expansive lobby dominated by a mosaic of North Korean cultural symbols. The mosaic tiles make use of a wide variety of precious metals and gemstones underneath low-dispersion glass panes, which are replaced biannually to preserve the mosaic's luster.

The hotel is rated three stars by western standards. North Korea rates it as five stars. The Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs describes it as "Deluxe" and the "best international hotel in Pyongyang".



The hotel offers 500 rooms although only about 50 rooms are occupied at any one time, usually by business people from China, Africa, and the Middle East and UN staff. The Washington Times claims most of the hotel's foreign guests are international arms dealers. The hotel does achieve full or near capacity every April 15 with delegations invited to celebrate Kim Il Sung's birthday.

It would appear the US State Department has been using a guest room in the hotel since 2007 as a de facto office by a single employee to handle administrative affairs.



The hotel is situated along the Taedong river in Chung-kuyok, central Pyongyang 

Rooms and Rates

According to the World Health Organization the rates are as follows:

single, upper story room: $112
double, upper story room: $121
single, lower story room: $102
double, lower story room: $112

Rooms, services, food, and other goods within the hotel appear to be priced in dollars.

In room TVs carry three channels. Guests report power outages and recommend packing your own flashlight. Rooms are equipped with a mini-bar and are checked each day by a team of three people, of which one person inventories, the second recounts and a third supervises the pair.


Amenities include a hard currency gift shop, gym, a swimming pool, a revolving restaurant on the 45th floor, a circular bar on the 44th floor and two movie theaters (one 200 seat cinema and one 70 seat cinema). The hotel also features a billiards room on the second floor and a casino in the basement. The casino offers blackjack, roulette, and slot machines. The casino is staffed by Chinese workers.


Each tower is actually topped by a revolving restaurant, however only one is open. One can order steak ("the best steak in town") at the restaurant. The revolving restaurant apparently had a 9 pm closing time but in recent years the closing time has been extended or relaxed based on the quality of the guests' tipping. Aside from the single open revolving restaurant, the hotel has four other restaurants including a Japanese restaurant and a Korean BBQ restaurant.

The restaurants are run by Japanese expatriates and are run as private businesses but must pay a fee to the state.

Guest liberty

By some reports guests are prevented by guards from leaving the hotel. However, others report the ability to wander off the hotel grounds. If one can wander off the grounds, the hotel is a few blocks from the city's restaurant district and the Pyongyang Railroad Station.

Older Koryo Hotel

The Koryo Hotel replaced an older hotel of the same name, but in a different location. For a time after 1946 the leader of North Korea's Democratic Party Cho Man-sik was kept under house arrest in the older Koryo Hotel. When United Nations forces threatened to overrun Pyongyang in October 1950, it is thought he was executed.

Yanggakdo Hotel


The Yanggakdo International Hotel is one of the largest working hotels and the second tallest building in North Korea, after the unfinished Ryugyong Hotel. The hotel is located on Yanggakdo (Yanggak Island), two kilometers to the south-east of the center of Pyongyang, the nation's capital. It rises to an overall height of 170 meters and sports a slowly revolving restaurant on the 47th floor. The hotel is said to contain 1,000 rooms and a total floor space of 87,870 square meters. The structure was built between 1986 and 1992 by France’s Campenon Bernard Construction Company and opened in 1995.

The North Korean currency can be purchased at official rates at reception, and postcards and letters can be mailed from the desk next to it. Behind the latter, there is a small shop which sells basic commodities at western prices. The ground floor also contains a small bar to the right of the main entrance, and to the left, a small bookshop which stocks a wide range of North Korean reading material including back-issues of the local English-language newspaper, the Pyongyang Times, treatises by the Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, various children's books, and a wide range of material which describes the North Korean understanding of the history of the region.

Yanggakdo Hotel

In addition to the revolving restaurant, the hotel guide issued to all guests indicates that the hotel contains four further restaurants on the second floor -- these include the numbers one and two dining-room, the main banquet hall and the Japanese, Chinese and Korean food dining-rooms.

The hotel's basement contains a bowling alley, a pool room, a swimming pool, a barber shop, a casino and a massage club run by a Chinese company with an exclusively female staff.

The hotel's grounds include a 9,000 square meter nine-hole golf course. Also on Yanggak Island, right next to the hotel's grounds the Pyongyang International Cinema Hall can be found, which hosts the opening and closing ceremonies of the Pyongyang International Film Festival.

The hotel is a standard stop on most tours of North Korea and was featured in the graphic novel Pyongyang.


Ryugyong Hotel

Ryugyong Hotel (류경호텔)

The Ryugyong Hotel (Korean: 류경호텔) (sometimes anglicized as Ryu-Gyong Hotel or Yu-Kyung Hotel) is a 105-floor skyscraper under construction in Pyongyang, North Korea. Its name comes from one of the historic names for the city of Pyongyang, and means "capital of willows"; the building is also known as the 105 building, a reference to its number of floors. Construction began in 1987, but was halted in 1992 due to the economic disruptions that afflicted the country following the fall of the Soviet Union. The hotel stood topped out but without windows or interior fittings for the next sixteen years. Construction resumed in April 2008, under the supervision of the Orascom Group of Egypt, which has invested heavily in the North Korean mobile telephony and construction industries. The company expects to complete exterior work on the building in 2010, with interior work taking until 2012 or later.The hotel rises to a height of 330 metres (1,080 ft), and it contains 360,000 square metres (3,900,000 sq ft) of floor space, making it the most prominent feature of Pyongyang's skyline and by far the largest structure in North Korea. Construction of the Ryugyong was intended to be completed in time for the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in June 1989; had this been achieved, it would have become the world's tallest hotel. The unfinished structure was not surpassed in height by another hotel until the completion of construction on the Rose Tower in Dubai, UAE in 2009. The Ryugyong is currently the world's 30th tallest building, a title it shares with the China World Trade Center Tower III.



The plan for a large hotel was reportedly a Cold War response to the completion of the world's tallest hotel, the Westin Stamford Hotel in Singapore, in 1986 by a South Korean company, SsangYong Group. North Korean leadership envisioned the project as a channel for Western investors to step into the marketplace. A firm, the Ryugyong Hotel Investment and Management Co., was established to attract a hoped-for US$230 million in foreign investment. A representative for the North Korean government promised relaxed oversight, saying, "The foreign investors can even operate casinos, nightclubs or Japanese lounges if they want to." North Korean construction firm Baikdoosan Architects & Engineers (also known as Baekdu Mountain Architects and Engineers) began construction on a pyramid-shaped hotel in 1987.

Building deadlock

The hotel was scheduled to open in June 1989 for the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students, but problems with building methods and materials delayed completion. Had it opened on schedule, it would have surpassed the Westin Stamford Hotel to become the world's tallest hotel, and been ranked the seventh-tallest building in the world.

In 1992, after the building had reached its full architectural height,work was halted due to a lack of funds amid electricity and food shortages in North Korea.Japanese newspapers estimated the cost of construction was US$750 million, consuming 2 percent of North Korea’s GDP. For over a decade, the unfinished building sat vacant and without windows, fixtures, or fittings, appearing as a massive concrete shell. A rusting construction crane at the top, which the BBC called "a reminder of the totalitarian state's thwarted ambition", became a permanent fixture.

In a 2006 article, ABC News questioned whether North Korea had sufficient raw materials or energy for such a massive project. A North Korean government official told the Los Angeles Times in 2008 that construction was not completed "because [North Korea] ran out of money".

Even though the Ryugyong dominates the Pyongyang skyline, official information regarding the hotel and its status have proven difficult to obtain. Though mocked-up images of the completed hotel had once appeared on North Korean stamps, the government denied the building's existence for many years, manipulated official photographs in order to remove the structure, and excluding it from printed maps of Pyongyang. The alleged problems associated with the hotel led some media sources to dub it "The Worst Building in the World", "Hotel of Doom" and "Phantom Hotel".Former CNN international correspondent Mike Chinoy likened it to the calcium deposit on the neck of Kim Il-sung; both were clearly visible despite official attempts to hide them.

Construction resumes

In April 2008, after 16 years of inactivity, work on the hotel was restarted by Egypt's Orascom Group. Orascom, which has entered into a US$ 400 million deal with the North Korean government to build and run a 3G mobile phone network, has denied that their telecommunications deal was directly related to the hotel work.

Features that Orascom has installed include exterior glass panels and telecommunications antennas. It is unclear to what extent Orascom plans to complete the building. In the late 1990s, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea inspected the building and concluded that the structure was irreparable. Questions have been raised regarding the quality of the building's concrete and the alignment of its elevator shafts, which some sources say are "crooked". In 2008, Orascom's resident project manager stated that, at a minimum, their goal was to make the facade more attractive. In 2009, Orascom's chief operating officer Khaled Bichara noted that, despite the reported structural problems of the building, interior work will be performed, and that a revolving restaurant will be located at the top of the building.

It is also unclear when the construction will be completed. In 2008, North Korean officials stated that the hotel would be completed by 2012, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the birth of "Eternal President" Kim Il-sung. According to Orascom, work on the building's exterior is expected to last until the end of 2010, at which point interior work will begin, which will last until 2012 or beyond. 

The Ryugyong is planned to become a mixed-use development, including "revolving restaurant" facilities along with "a mixture of hotel accommodation, apartments and business facilities" according to BBC quoting Orascom's Mr. Bichra. Other sources have hinted on the future multi-purpose nature of Ryugyong, including one quoting that Ryugyong's "3,000 rooms, offices, restaurants, nightclubs and banquet halls remain hollow shells."

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Click Here... supports I.C.E.Y. - H.O.P.E. (non-profit org)
(International Cooperation of Environmental Youth - Helping Our Polluted Earth) Any advertisement you view helps save the environment!  Thanks!


Cheap Airline Tickets

Discount Hotels

Rental Car Deals




Disclaimer: does not guarantee the complete accuracy of the information provided on this site or links.  Do your own research and get a professional's opinion before adhering to advice or information contained herein.  Use of the information contained herein provided by and any mistakes contained within are at the individual risk of the user. 

(We do not provide links to, or knowingly promote, any violent or pornographic sites.)

Suggestions  |  Organization Info  |  Become a Sponsor Privacy Statement

 Copyright © 2010 - All Rights Reserved.- Copyright Policy