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“Super high tech- for 1980. Perfectly satisfactory” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Yanggakdo Hotel

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Yanggakdo Hotel
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| Yanggakdo Island, Pyongyang, North Korea   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Pyongyang
Baltimore, Maryland
Top Contributor
105 reviews 105 reviews
100 hotel reviews
Reviews in 81 cities Reviews in 81 cities
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
“Super high tech- for 1980. Perfectly satisfactory”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

You don't any choice where you stay, but in case you insist on planning ahead:

Pros:
Lots of facilities- pool tables, bowling, casino, ping pong
Two mini shops for emergency snacks
The weirdness of the hotel is extremely entertaining (dark floors, elevators you can see the shaft of), revolving restaurant that doesn't always revolve.
Room is extremely basic.

Cons:
Food not spectacular. All taste the same, no matter what restaurant.
You feel gluttonous when you sit there, knowing that the average NK is starving.
You're contantly being watched.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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275 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (61)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
119 reviews 119 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 66 cities Reviews in 66 cities
160 helpful votes 160 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

Well, if you are booked on a tour to the DPRK then you will probably have little choice over where to stay in this city. I stayed here with a group of 21 North Americans in Sept / Oct of this year. We were in the DPRK for 10 nights, and stayed at this hotel for 7 of those nights. I have nothing bad to say about this place. It is a good 3-star hotel.

Location is perfect / restaurants are fine / rooms are ok / views are great. There really is no point being too picky.. because you can't really 'shop around' for better places to stay. During our time there we ate in all of the hotels restaurants (4 or 5 in total). All had food of a similar quality. The revolving restaurant at the top does provide stunning views... so hopefully you eat up there at least once. Breakfast was the only poor meal .. but not terrible. At all meals you may not always like everything that you are served, but you will not go hungry as you will be provided with a lot of food and beer. You will never be given a menu to select from as meals are prearranged.

Each time we returned to the hotel after an overnight somewhere else... we were always assigned the room we had been in before!! Interesting! There are some standard shops on the lobby level where you can buy stamps / postcards / books / Mass Games posters / etc. There is a very expensive Swatch shop also in the lobby. There is also a food shop where you can buy basic snacks / water / beer / soft drinks / etc. In the basement level... which you may want to explore... you will find a grotty old casino / an empty disco / a massage center / a karaoke bar / a bowling alley / another simple shop / and more.

Most tourists in the city will either be staying here or at the Koryo Hotel. This island location is nice... and the location really makes no difference as you are not free to go wandering on your own anyway.

Rooms are nice and clean. A/C worked fine. Always had hot water and power. Great views from all rooms. TV's worked... but there is no point turning it on as there is nothing to watch. Some rooms received BBC and others did not. Some had sound and others did not. Anyway, you will be kept so busy with sightseeing that you will hardly have any energy for anything else when back at the hotel... other than maybe a cold beer before bed.

The lobby 'tea room' was a really nice place to have a drink at the end of each day. Coffee / tea / great draft beer / snacks... perfect! Always busy with travellers sharing their stories of each day.

The hotel offers excellent and fast daily laundry service.
You can send emails from the hotel.. but you will not have internet access and cannot receive emails.

Enjoy your stay here

Room Tip: Upper floors are best ... of course... but, you don't really get any choice. Changing your room...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing, China
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

I booked a short 3 day trip in North Korea during the October holiday 2012. The hotel sits on a small island in the main river in central Pyongyang. With it's over the top chandelier and paintings it has a typical Chinese / Korean feel. I didn't personally deal with the hotel staff so cannot comment on the service but everything went like clockwork so they must deal with plenty of tour groups and travellers.

The room was a fair size and the bathroom contained a great deal of amenities. Pretty dated finish. The wooden control unit between beds had a great retro feel. The radio didn’t work but didn’t plan on waking up to Korean. The TV was the biggest shock, you can easily watch BBC news or other English speaking channels. The view (I had a room facing the Juche tower) was amazing during the crisp blue sky days. Luckily I prefer a hard bed.

The buffet was ok, I opted for a few custom omelettes to keep me going. Lifts in the hotel are extremely slow make sure you leave your room with plenty of time to spare.

During the tour I had time to relax in the hotel. The two lane bowling alley (if you can find it) worked relatively well. The staff were friendly and ensured the lane worked was swiftly repaired after a fault.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, ON
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012

As the headline says you don't really have a choice if you are going to stay at the Yanggakdo or not, as you'll stay wherever the tour makes you, but this place really isn't all that bad.

The beds are comfortable, the bathroom is big with a western style toilet, and the t.v. has bbc world if that's what you're after. My room was on the 25th floor so there is a great view from the room and the windows open so you'll be able to take a clear picture if you'd like.

The hotel itself has many amenities, a post office, casino, karaoke club, 3 or 4 restaurants, gift shops, and a place to buy toiletries.

The real benefit here is that because it is on an island you will be allowed outside the hotel and on the grounds without being under the watchful eye of guides. A small amount of freedom, but it is greatly appreciated.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ottawa
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
140 helpful votes 140 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012

I stayed here for 5 days with a travelinsider tour group from the USA . As some people have commented before you have to appreciate the fact that if you enter the country as a group you do not get to choose your hotel .I liked this hotel because it was located on an island with land available for you to walk/jog around
on unlike the other hotels here whwere you are stuck inside !
My room was located on one of the upper levels giving me a great view of the city and the river .The early morning mist that hangs over the city at this time of the year makes for great photography especially during Sept . The windows open so you can take pictures and get fresh air .I did not use the A/C at all even at nighttime
The twin bedded room was very small but comfortable .My bathroom was clean and the cleaning staff did a good job keeping it that way.There was lots of hot water . Soap and shampoo,etc were provided but they are not renewed until they are almost all gone .
Try to get on the glass elevator as it offers a good view of the city .
Elevators are slow during peak times .The elevator guys at the lobby do a good job keeping the crowds allocated to available elevators during peak times .Smile at them with a nod and they smile back .The same being said for the doormen .
They are all human beings so treat them as such and they will treat you with respect as well.
There is no room safe ..this is North Korea remember!
There are many stores in the hotel to purchase everything such as watches books , water ,food, beer , batteries, sweets etc, etc .As mentioned before they prefer Euros but take USD and Chinese Yuan even in mixtures .They ladies are very efficient money exchangers .
Breakfast is a mixed buffet bag .Most importantly.....Get there early and BRING YOUR OWN WATER unless you want to wait in line for tea and instant coffee with the terrible tasting creamer . The juices are terrible !! There is milk available at the buffet area so use it in your coffee and tea .The orange juice appears to be made from orange flavor crystals( remember TANG? ).Sliced Apple pieces were the only fruit .There are watered down soups for those who want Asian style soups for breakfast .I filled up on jam and pasteries .
There are egg servers at the back wall for those that can eat eggs .Salads are available from last night's dinner if you arrive early .Bacon will be found if you arrive really early .You will always find something to eat just keep an open mind and remember where you are . This is not North America or Europe .I did not leave the breakfast area hungry, I left satisfied . Remember, a good Lunch is only a few hours away .
You will find knives and forks are quickly used up and are not readily replaced so again another reason to eat early .
Every one that I dealt with in the hotel was very pleasant and I had no problems .
Leave your room tidy before you leave in the morning for the cleaning staff to
cope with . Do NOT put any NK newspapers into the garbage anywhere in NK that have the picture of the leader within it (and they all do ) as this is very disrespectful and you will get in trouble for doing so especially if it is done in your hotel room .Take the newspapers to the reception desk to be on the safe side or leave them in the lobby for others to read .Do not dispose of them disrespectfully !!!!!
There is a casino downstairs .There is a bar as well which I did not use as the drinks were too expensive . There is a post office to mail that once in a life time chance of unique NK stamped post cards . Forget about using the internet as it is too expensive and is" monitored". The revolving dining area at the top has great views and good food . If you are a currency collector the hotel stores do not sell the old currency notes so ask the guide to alert you when this opportunity becomes available ..a complete set in the envelope presentation notes cost 7 Euros without the fancy cover ..I suggest that you do not buy the 20 Euro set in the book presented form as you get all the notes for 7 Euros without the book .Remember it is illegal to have the new currency in your possession .

I have rated this hotel as a 4 star Korean hotel and a 3 star non Korean Rated hotel .
I was satisfied with my stay here !

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2012

Stayed in the hotel for two nights before going to three locations in the northern part of North Korea and gave it a three star rating . When we returned for three more nights it looked so good and welcoming that we kiddingly gave it a four star rating. The pictures I could add are just the same as those that others have posted. Bleak and baron are the best words to describe the decor of the rooms. Fortunately the hot water was on when we were there, but there were warnings that it might be avilable for limited times. (We weren't so lucky at the three hotels we visited in the northern area.)
However, we didn't have much choice. The government orchestrated the whole trip and we have littel chance to comment on or select other properties. This is "the" foreign visitor hotel so accept it if you go to North Korea.
There is a telephone, fax and internet cubical off the lobby. For fun I called home - it was as simple as dialing from any foreign hotel to a number in the US. However, the cost was $8-10 for a minute. Warning, don't make calls from your room - it may be easy but it still costs dearly.
We are in two of the restaurants. We were assigned to "Restaurant #1" (loved the creative name.) Surprisingly breakfast was quite good. Once you scoped out all that was available you could do very well. There is an egg station where you can eggs any way you wish - fried, poached, and a wide choice of omelets.
The bar was just fine for me. I love beer and they make a great beer in North Korea so I was happy.
In the subterranean basement was a karoke bar, bowling alley, spa with lap pool and a casino. Many in our group enjoyed them, tho there seemed to be an additional cost for each.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

Stayed here for 5 nights recently on recent trip to north Korea and had room on the 41st floor overlooking the river and the whole of Pyongyang
Hotel was ok but in fairness very tired..in its heyday it probably was quite a hotel
Food in restaurant was actually pretty good and although I didn't actually have breakfast myself my travelling buddy said it was better than average
Evenings consisted of ten pin bowling( about £2 a game per person) but they have a habit of turning the ac off in there and the heat can be quite unbearable
There's also ping pong ( about £3 an hr) or pool for the same price
There's a bar/restaurant on the very top floor supposedly revolving( it didnt!) it was sparsely occupied up there and tourists really only used it for views of Pyongyang
On the plus side beer was pretty cheap..it was local stuff and cost less than a euro for a 650ml bottle and to be honest was pretty good
They advertise a golf course on the island but that now seems to have gone??
Overall my stay was ok and it doesn't really matter if the hotel is recommended or not because you won't have any say where you stay anyway!
There's a coffee shop in the lobby area that sells a local home brew draught at a near western price but believe me give it a miss

Room Tip: Get a room at the back overlooking the river ..you can get some great shots of Pyongyang first thing...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Yanggakdo Hotel

Address: | Yanggakdo Island, Pyongyang, North Korea
Location: North Korea > Pyongyang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Casino and Gambling
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Pyongyang
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 168
Also Known As:
Yanggakdo Hotel Pyongyang

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