Baekdu Mountain

north-koreaBaekdu Mountain, also known locally as Changbai Mountain in China, is a volcanic mountain on the border between North Korea and China, located at 42°00′24″N 128°03′18″E / 42.00667°N 128.055°E / 42.00667; 128.055. At 2,744 m, it is the highest mountain of the Changbai mountain range to the north and Baekdudaegan mountain range to the south. It is also the highest mountain on the Korean peninsula and Manchuria.

The Korean name, Baekdu-san means “white-headed mountain”. The Chinese name, Changbai Shan and the Manchu name, Golmin Šanggiyan Alin mean “perpetually white mountain”. English-language volcanology resources often refer to the mountain as Baitoushan from the Chinese pinyin rendering of the Korean Hanja . Other alternative names include Paektu-san and Bai Yun Feng.

A large crater lake, called Heaven Lake (천지, 天池), is located within the caldera atop of the mountain.


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Koryo Tours

Koryo Tours is an independent travel company based in Beijing, People’s Republic of China. They specialise in visits to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (also known as North Korea).

Their tours run during the spring, summer and autumn months as winter is bitterly cold. Staying in the capital Pyongyang with visits to the DMZ at the border with the Republic of Korea at the 38th parallel. At different times of year there are other events such as the Mass Games and the Pyongyang International Film Festival which are available as special tours when they are running.

Koryo Tours was set up by Nick Bonner and Joshua Green and they have been organising trips into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since 1993. Simon Cockerell and Hannah Barraclough joined the company and promote tourism and cultural exchanges from sports to the arts.

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North Korea shares the Korean language with South Korea. There are dialect differences within both Koreas, but the border between North and South does not represent a major linguistic boundary. While prevalent in the South, the adoption of modern terms from foreign languages has been limited in North Korea. Hanja (Chinese characters) are no longer used in North Korea, although still occasionally used in South Korea. Both Koreas share the phonetic writing system called Chosongul in North Korea and Hangul South of the DMZ. The official Romanization differs in the two countries, with North Korea using a slightly modified McCune-Reischauer system, and the South using the Revised Romanization of Korean.

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On Päktu after the North Korean history, Kim Jong Il was born and it was an important place in the guerrilla struggle by Kim Il Sung. That is why the sacred mountain of the revolution on many propaganda posters depicted. Unfortunately, the area only reachable by plane and the charter costs from 3000 to 4000 euros, so that the visit only with a correspondingly large group possible, to the flight costs to distribute. To see except the birth house numerous monuments, like the impressive Lake Samji large monument, a museum about the area in Hyesan, and the stunning Crater Lake Chon. Especially recommended is the visit also because of the impressions of the hard lives of people in small villages in this harsh nature of the trip to the official sights. Because the climate is a visit at the time of Kim Il Sung’s birthday is not yet or only partially possible, so that his trip around at a later date, should, when on a visit here worth one.

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North Korea is on the northern portion of the Korean Peninsula, covering an area of 120,540 square kilometres (46,541 sq mi). North Korea shares land borders with China and Russia to the north, and borders South Korea along the Korean Demilitarized Zone. To its west are the Yellow Sea and Korea Bay, and to its east lies Japan across the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea). The highest point in North Korea is Paektu-san Mountain at 2,744 metres (9,003 ft). The longest river is the Amnok River which flows for 790 kilometres (491 mi).

North Korea’s climate is relatively temperate, with precipitation heavier in summer during a short rainy season called changma, and winters that can be bitterly cold. For a week from 7 August 2007 the most devastating floods in 40 years caused the North Korean Government to ask for international help. NGOs, such as the Red Cross, asked people to raise funds because they feared a humanitarian catastrophe.

The capital and largest city is Pyongyang; other major cities include Kaesong in the south, Sinuiju in the northwest, Wonsan and Hamhung in the east and Chongjin in the northeast.

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In the aftermath of the Japanese occupation of Korea, which ended with Japan’s defeat in World War II in 1945, the Soviet Union accepted the surrender of Japanese forces and controlled the area north of the 38th parallel, with the United States controlling the area south of this parallel. Virtually all Koreans welcomed liberation from Japanese imperial rule, yet objected to the re-imposition of foreign rule upon their country. The Soviets and Americans disagreed on the implementation of Joint Trusteeship over Korea, with each establishing its socio-economic system upon its jurisdiction, leading, in 1948, to the establishment of ideologically opposed governments.The United States and the Soviet Union then withdrew their forces from Korea. Growing tensions and border skirmishes between north and south led to the Korean War.

On June 25, 1950, the (North) Korean People’s Army crossed the 38th parallel, with the war aim of peninsular reunification under their political system. The war continued until July 27, 1953, when the United Nations Command, the Korean People’s Army, and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army signed the Korean War Armistice Agreement. Since that time the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) has separated the North and South.

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When to Go

The best months to visit North Korea are May, June, September and October. In May and June, the worst of winter will be gone and the days will be warming up. In September and October you’ll get blue skies and a brilliant display of autumn colours. However, if you have a penchant for snow, ice-skating and the touch of Siberian talons on your face then North Korea can certainly oblige – try December to March.

Try to avoid peak summer – late June to late August – which starts off with the monsoon season, when the country receives some 60% of its annual rainfall, and is followed by unpleasantly hot and humid weather. At this time many locals flee the muggy cities for the mountains, beaches and islands, which become crowded and accommodation prices double. There is also the chance of a typhoon or two.

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