All visitors to the hermit kingdom are put up at Yanggakdo Hotel. Its highlights include running hot water and two bowling alleys. The carpet is probably unchanged since the hotel opened. There are several mystery floors in which lift doors open to complete darkness.

The 47 floored Yanggakdo is located on Yanggak island in the middle of the Taedong River. It is isolated from the centre of Pyongyang which provides a natural boundary for those attempting to see the city. Tourists are prohibited from wandering in public areas without a guide.

The unobstructed view of the city from my hotel room was actually quite spectacular. Skyscrapers like in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and a sports stadium filled the backdrop. 

The hotel reminded me of communist Belarus mixed with Chinese hotels in the early 90s. The radio didn’t work and the telephone was inoperable.

The carpet was so filthy I had to focus my sight on the pillow the whole time. I would expect to see a room like this in a 2.5 star establishment. The logo inscribed on the shampoo bottles had faded, indicating that it had been used and recycled.