Yanggakdo Hotel

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Pyongyang, North Korea

Yanggakdo Hotel Pyongyang Reviews

wabat wabat
160 reviews
Pyongyang’s Alcatraz Feb 12, 2017
The are only a small number of hotels in Pyongyang at which tourists are permitted to stay. One of those, and the one at which the vast majority of tourists stay, is the Yanggakdo International Hotel situated on an island in the Teodong River. Our group stayed here while in Pyongyang.

The hotel is graded as a four star but, while pleasant enough, it is tired and jaded.

The hotel has 47 floors. Tourists stay on the upper floors which have access to the BBC World television. Lower floors are used by guides and other locals without the requisite clearance to watch foreign television, as these floors do not have access to the BBC.

A question everyone asks is “Are the rooms bugged?”. In answer, I don’t know, and certainly didn’t go searching for devices. I suspect they are not – what has the common tourist got to say that would interest the authorities? If you were in North Korea with ulterior motives authorities could reasonably assume you would not reveal these in your room anyway so why bother bugging the rooms?

The Yanggakdo has its own power generators so continuity of electricity supply is not a problem here. Hot water was available 24/7.

While hot water, for drinking, is available, tea and coffee is not provided in the room and there is no minibar.

The hotel has a number of restaurants. We ate breakfast here daily while in the city. Food choice was basic and identical every day – ample but certainly not a highlight of our trip. While we were there (over Kim Il-sungs birthday celebrations) the hotel was quite busy and they constantly ran out of things on the breakfast buffet. We had lunch in the hotel on two days – once in a downstairs restaurant and once in the revolving restaurant on the 47th floor. Food was good and naturally the views from the revolving restaurant were also good – though our room also had excellent views towards the centre of the city and the Juche Tower.

Other facilities in the hotel include:

• A three lane ten pin bowling alley (we went to the Pyongyang Gold Lane bowling alley in the city for our bowling fix)

• A Chinese casino in the basement (locals not admitted)

• A couple of bars – Karaoke in the downstairs one

• Swimming pool and table tennis room

• A few well stocked and reasonably priced shops (good for water/snacks and North Korean reading material)

• Gift shops

• A tailors where you can order your Kim Jong-il suit, etc and it will be ready in a few days.

Beware of the vicious lift doors – they bite!

Back to the title of this review.

In North Korea you are not permitted to leave your accommodation unless accompanied by your guide. People suggest that the Yanggakdo was deliberately placed on an island to ensure that you cannot escape unnoticed and wander into the city on your own (hence its nickname the Pyongyang Alcatraz). If you had time, and unless you are a very early riser you won’t, you are permitted to walk around on the island without a guide. You are not permitted to bring you camera while walking around outside.

While not of a four star standard the hotel is certainly one of the best in North Korea and is a very pleasant place to stay. Would I stay here again? Yes.
Yanggakdo International Hotel
Yanggakdo International Hotel - Ou…
View from Hotel Room
View from Hotel Room (With Zoom)
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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korpun korpun
8 reviews
Nice view Oct 03, 2013
If you are travelling to North Korea (DPRK), most probably you will end up to this 5 star hotel. Well, those are local stars and I would say it's more like 3 western world stars. But no worries, it's a nice place to stay. Rooms are nice and clean, good beds, warm tapped water, free drinking water (2 bottles), shops (books, souveniers, water, beer, postcards, stamps...), nice view to the city (43 floors), restaurants serve local food, lobby bar sells cheap local beer (2€ big bottle), a revolving restaurant on the rooftop. 2 days the breakfast was nice buffet, 2 days less amazing for some unknown reason. No internet (this is DPRK!), only local TV channels and one Chinese news channel (in English), no mobile phone connection. The hotel is in an island. You are not allowed to go out from the hotel area without local guides - but that's another story. Most foreign tourist live in this place. There is at least one other hotel and in the future (nobody knows when), a huge pyramid shaped hotel will probably be finished.
Lobby bar
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
xander_van_hoof xander_v…
73 reviews
Best place in town, when you can't leave the hotel Sep 07, 2013
The largest working hotel and the second tallest building in North Korea, after the Ryugyong Hotel (that's still not open). 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 metres (560 ft) and has 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 metres (945,800 sq ft).

Great views over the river and city. 48 floors with the fith floor missing (see youtube to find out why...).

On the top a revolving restaurant with good view over the city. But better is to walk one floor down and exit on the roof where you have the best place to take pictures. Note only at daytime the view is nice, at night Pyongyang is mostly dark and the windows glare. You get better views at night from your hotelroom.

In the basement are more restaurants, a karaoke bar, pooltables, massageroom, swimming pool, bowling, casino. Note there are two basement parts that are not connected.

Rooms are decent. Best bed I had in the DPRK. No mini bar.

You get free soap and shampoo, fresh towels every day.

The TV has some international stations, as the two English spoken BBCWorld and NHK. But sometimes the sound is too bad to really understand the items (scrambled?).
The highest operational building i…
The certral hall and the two panor…
The certral hall
Rojomal Rojomal
2 reviews
Kitsch luxury amidst the poverty Jun 26, 2011
What a strange place, as with all of DPRK.

This is a flash, mostly-glazed multi-storey tower on an island in the middle of Pyongyang - for tourists only.

The lobby welcomes you with garish, gold-plated ceilings.

The quality of the rooms is pretty much equal to most 3/4 star hotels the world over.

Facility-wise, there is a good mix - mainly as tourists are forbidden from leaving the hotel and wondering off into town. You have a bowling alley, bars (inc. a rotating rooftop bar), a couple of restaurants (where the food is of a decent enough quality, albeit not in abundance), at least one disco, arcades, gambling halls and some sort of bizarre basement area populated by local soldiers and local girls. Make of that what you will.
Airportman Airportm…
230 reviews
Good hotel, but you have no other choice Apr 29, 2010
When you visit Pyonggang, you don't have a choice as to where you stay. We didn't either and we spent several nights in this "5-star" hotel, according to North Korean standards.

The hotel is located on an island with only 1 road to get on and off it. We weren't allowed to leave the island, an armed guard building was at the end of the entry/exit road to make sure we wouldn't.

The interior looks modern and makes it look like a 5-star hotel. There are several restaurants, 2 on the ground floor, one revolving restaurant on the 47th floor. There are also several shops, a souvenir shop, a book shop and a sort of supermarket. There is also a casino and a bar.

There is also a post office, where you can call abroad, at 4 euros a minute. You can only send an email, which will be sent for you (probably read as well). The stamps for your postcards (they do arrive everywhere), need glue, as they won't stick on the postcard likie proper stamps.

The staff was friendly, but when I wanted to exchange money, euros into North Korean wons, they wanted to know why.

We had the 37th floor for ourselves, and the room I stayed in was a 3rd class room. Quite spacious with 2 good beds. The tv had several channels, mostly chinese and one North Korean channel. BBC World was the only western channel.

The bathroom was clean, the bath tub and toilet had been disinfected for my health according to the label on them. But only cleaned the other days. Apparently disinfection happens only when new guests come.

The restaurants are good, serving korean and chinese dishes. The breakfast is korean and/or western style, sometimes a buffet style.

I had no problems with power failures or hot water problems, as I was warned about before I had booked my trip to North Korea.

With no other choice available, this is a good and safe hotel to stay in if you ever decice to visit Pyongyang.
Hotel in a distance
Front of the hotel by day
Front of the hotel by night
Entrance/exit road
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
nevart says:
What are the prices like for the hotel? For the restaurants? I think that info is fairly important if you don't get a choice!
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012
Airportman says:
Thanks! :)
Posted on: Aug 22, 2010
Glynnes says:
A great review. Thanks!
Posted on: Aug 22, 2010
Nero257 Nero257
4 reviews
Pyongyang, North Korea Hotel Sep 08, 2008
Not your average hotel experience. But, then again, North Korea is not your average travel destination. It is a large hotel boasting approximately 50 floors (I think) but I can't imagine more than two or three floors are occupied with guests at any one time. (It is easier to keep an eye out for all when everyone is more or less near to one another.) The room will not be featured in any Better Homes and Gardens Magazine but is more than adequate with the bed, dresser, bathroom, good wattage in the lamps for a Communist country and television. Believe it or not, CNN in English was even available. Well, to the guests, at least. I was hoping for some speeches from the Dear Leader so was disappointed when actual world news was on. Who wanted to hear about the stock market collapse while in North Korea. Oh well!!! The hotel is very clean and well cared for. The lobby is large and featured a huge fish tank with a 'too big for the tank turtle' in it who could barely move. Many of us felt bad for the turtle but a complaint to the ASPCA would probably go unheeded. The breakfast buffet was non-descriptive with eggs, Korean fare and bread. Being that I can barely remember the food it must have been nothing to write home about. Breafast was served in one of the many large dining rooms on the lobby level. You know those dining rooms. They are the typical politburo-type rooms that house hundreds. There is a revolving restaurant on the very top floor where we ate dinner one night. Until one figures out which elevator to take to actually get to the restaurant, don't be surprised when it does not revolve.
spurner says:
I saw that turtle in the tank too, I was so sure it was dead, it looked like it was jammed in there and couldn't get out! I was assured that it is definitely alive and well though! :)
Posted on: Dec 07, 2010

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