When Young Pioneer Tours are not managing budget tours to North Korea, and other destinations that your mother would you stayed away from, we also run our own little bar down in Yangshuo, Guangxi province, China. Back in 2013 we purchased and opened The DMZ Bar which as far as we know, (at least as far as we tell people) is the worlds only North Korean themed bar.
To give some background to Yangshuo; firstly, it is arguably the most beautiful city in China. Its famous Karst Peaks are honoured on the back of a RMB 20 note, but more importantly for us party people when China first started opening up to tourism in the mid 80’s this was the original hippy, backpacker place, and whilst it might have suffered a little from Disneyfication, it still retains a lot of that original charm.
For YPT making it a North Korean themed bar was the obvious choice, but to achieve this feat of excellence in Chollima speed has taken us a few years, with us redesigning and decorating the place with an original socialist realist mural painted by a local artist as well as books, posters, and photographs from the DPRK.
But obviously if you theme a bar after a country decorations are but a mere part of the plan, you need products! We also keep a regular stock of North Korean Soju, a great idea as it also inspired our now famous “reunification cocktail”, which is Cass beer, mixed with soju. Also where possible we keep North Korean beer in stock, usually the famous Taedonggang Beer, but this usually depends on how many we can bring out with us on our regular trips to North Korea.
Three months ago into our third year in Yangshuo and looking for a new staff house that was comfortable, had a great location and was generally kick ass we stumbled upon an old hostel for lease and pretty much thought why not?
The now imaginatively named DMZ Hostel located just over the river from the bar offers 7 rooms, over 4 floors, a reception area, as well as a great rooftop area with a BBQ. YPT customers that swing by get their first night at the hostel free, as well as happy hours prices all day long at The DMZ Bar.
Having two regular sales staff that double up as bartenders in Yangshuo we also run The DMZ Bar and hostel as a mini YPT office, with the added incentive of a 5% discount for all tours booked with a deposit paid at the bar.
Yangshuo might not exactly be a “destination that your mother would rather you stayed away from”, but it is cracking place to kick back in, and we warmly welcome all past, present and future pioneers to come down there and hang out with us.