Myohyangsan information

North Korea
Extras Central North Korea
Getting there
bus from Pyongyang
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Lonely Planet review

Mount Myohyang and the pristine surrounding area of hills, mountain trails and waterfalls (completely untouched by mass tourism) make for a charming trip. If you begin to miss the relentless pomp and propaganda of Pyongyang, the International Friendship Exhibition (IFE) will remind you that you are still very much in North Korea.

Myohyangsan means 'mountain of mysterious fragrance' and it's certainly no misnomer. The scenery is quite wonderful, and in summer awash with flowers. The focus of all trips are, however, the two vast shrines that make up the IFE. The first one contains all the gifts presented to the eternal president Kim Il Sung. Among the highlights of the 100,000 item collection is a beautiful armoured train carriage presented to him by Mao Zedong and a limousine sent to Kim by that great man of the people, Josef Stalin. The second shrine houses the gift warehouse of Kim Jong Il, which is full of booty donated by industrialists, like countless TV's, rather than tributes from fellow despots.

Having completed a tour of both exhibits, the perfect way to unwind from the seriousness is with some walking on the beautiful mountain trails. Sangwon Valley is the most common place for a hike and is directly northeast of the IFE.